Miscarriage is typically referred to the termination of pregnancy before 24 weeks of gestation. At this time, the immature embryo is not capable of surviving on its own in the world outside the mother’s womb. As from conception, at 8 weeks the lungs and other organs are not mature enough to cope with the external environment even in the presence of intensive care units and the lung maturing drugs etc.
Miscarriage mostly starts as repeated spotting or bleeding during pregnancy. This is termed as the ‘threatened abortion.’ Sometimes it may happen suddenly due to an early onset of labor and delivery. Miscarriage can also be diagnosed during the ultrasound examination during pregnancy or through the serial monitoring of levels of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in blood. Pregnant women having a previous history of miscarriage are particularly at risk and are carefully monitored during pregnancy to prevent any possible cause to occur again.
Some women develop cervical incontinence during pregnancy whereby, the cervix becomes incontinent to carry the baby, and the products of conception are expelled out of the body quite at an early stage. If a woman bears the risk of cervical incontinence, then she is advised a strict bed rest to avoid any excessive strain. But this is for the mild cases. In cases where there is a heightened risk of cervical incontinence, sometimes surgical stitches are considered which help to retain the embryo inside the mother’s womb and thus prevent miscarriage.
There are different causes of miscarriage for the first two trimesters of pregnancy as after 24 weeks of gestation; there is no miscarriage.
1. If the embryo has any chromosomal abnormality, there are about 95% chances of having a miscarriage during the first trimester. Another reason for losing pregnancy during the first trimester is a lack of progesterone. Women having a decreased level of this hormone during pregnancy are particularly at a higher risk of undergoing miscarriage.
2. Women having uterine anomalies are at greater risk of going to miscarriage. These include the fibroid or benign tumors of the uterus. Problems including the placenta or umbilical cord may also contribute to the miscarriage during the second trimester.
Miscarriage is a shock for both the parents. It can be prevented in only the cases with preventable causes. Otherwise, pregnancies like those having chromosomal abnormalities or other such factors cannot be prevented from going to miscarriage. If it happens, both the parents need support and consolation from the doctors, family, friends and relatives. The medical evaluation is not halted after a miscarriage.
The mother and the expelled embryo or fetus is investigated for the possible causes of this mishap to correctly recognize the cause and treat the mother accordingly. In this way, before the next conception, the possible risk factors are ruled out.
Likewise, miscarriage also disturbs a mother both emotionally and psychologically. She needs a great support especially from her spouse, the doctors and family to take her out of this traumatic experience.