Miscarriage is the most common pregnancy loss. It is the loss of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation, with majority occurring within the first 13 weeks. In cases of miscarriages, there is a spontaneous end to the pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or the fetus is not yet capable of surviving outside the womb. Pregnancy normally terminates at 40 weeks plus or minus two weeks, wherein the fetus has already fully developed the critical organs needed for survival.
Approximately 10% to 15% of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 40% of these miscarriages occurring even before the woman becomes conscious of her pregnancy. Majority of miscarriages occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. It should also be noted that pregnancies of women aged 35 and above are already considered high risk.
Miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion.
Risk Factors of Miscarriage
Although one cannot prevent a miscarriage from occurring, there are several known factors that can increase the likelihood of suffering from a miscarriage. These include:
- Previous miscarriage
- Smoking – affects both the mother’s and baby’s health
- May also increase chances of stillbirth
- Caffeine – may be connected to increased rate but not enough evidence to support
- Use of illegal drugs
- Hypothyroidism and other hormone problems
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Infections during pregnancy, such as rubella
- In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) – which explains the increased need to plant several embryos in the womb
Causes of Miscarriage
In most cases, the case of miscarriage remains unknown. The following are the known causes of miscarriage in a woman:
- Chromosomal abnormality in the fetus (lacking or additional number of chromosomes) – most common cause of miscarriage in the first trimester
- The risk for chromosomal abnormality in a fetus increases as the mother’s age increases
- Problems with the cervix or uterus – most common cause of miscarriage in the second trimester
- Blighted ovum (pregnancy sac with no fetus)
- Poor maternal health condition (severe malnutrition, etc.)
Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage
The signs and symptoms of miscarriage are often noticeable. The most common ones include:
- Vaginal spotting
- Bleeding from the vagina that progresses from light to heavy
- Tissue with clot like material passing from the vagina
- Severe abdominal pain or menstrual like cramps
- Back pain
First Aid Management for Miscarriage
The primary goal of administering first aid on a woman suffering from a miscarriage is to ensure to health to the woman. Recommended steps for miscarriage management include:
- Assist the woman to a resting position that is most comfortable to her.
- Immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
- Observe the woman for any change in condition.
- Watch out for dry lips and moisten it.
- Do not give any food or fluids.
- If anything comes out from the vagina, keep out of sight of the woman. Give it to the medics or doctor for further study.
As previously mentioned, it is important to know that in most cases, a miscarriage cannot be prevented. The most important part of life after a miscarriage is to show continued support for the woman. There are plenty of emotional groups available that can help provide support to the grieving mother and father. Counseling is also another option.
To learn how to manage pregnancy problems, enroll in First Aid Courses and CPR Training. Miscarriage, the loss of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation, is the most common type of pregnancy loss. A miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion.