What is a Miscarriage?

A loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation is called miscarriage. Usually, most miscarriages occur in the first trimester of pregnancy and are caused by chromosomal issues.

What is a Miscarriage?

However, a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion occurs as an unexpected ending of the pregnancy. It means that is not a planned abortion. It occurs due to some problems and it does not mean you did something wrong in carrying the pregnancy. In most cases, a pregnancy stops due to stopping the growth of the fetus and it is beyond your control.

Miscarriage Types

Check below the types of miscarriage that the doctor may diagnose you:

  • Inevitable Miscarriage (occurs when you are bleeding, cramping and the cervix starts to open)
  • Threatened Miscarriage (a person experiences pelvic cramps and bleeding while the cervix stays closed)
  • Recurrent Miscarriage (when occurring three consecutive miscarriages)
  • Complete Miscarriage (loss of pregnancy and your uterus is empty)
  • Missed Miscarriage (it occurs when you have lost the pregnancy but you are not aware of it)

How Do I know if I’m having a Miscarriage?

People are not always aware that they have a miscarriage. However, the most common symptoms of a miscarriage are:

  • Bleeding progression from light to heavy
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Low back aches (from mild to severe)
  • Decrease in pregnancy symptoms

In case you notice any of the previous symptoms, immediately contact your healthcare professional.


Approximately 50% of all miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities. They occur commonly in the first trimester of pregnancy (up to 13 weeks). Chromosomes are small structures that carry genes. These genes will determine an individual’s physical attributes, eye color, blood type, assigned sex, and others. However, most chromosomal issues appear spontaneous and it is not known the exact cause why it happens. Check below some factors that may provoke miscarriage:

  • Infections
  • TORCH diseases
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Your age
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Lifestyle habits (such as alcohol, smoking, using recreational drugs)
  • Lupus
  • Severe kidney condition
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Radiation
  • Thyroid disease
  • Some medications (including Isotretinoin)
  • Severe malnutrition

Furthermore, scientific proof that prolonged use of birth control pills, exercise, stress, and sexual intercourse can provoke miscarriage does not exist.

Risk Factors

Check below some risk factors that may increase the risk of a miscarriage:

  • Your Age – As per studies, approximately 12-15% risk of miscarriage is persons in their 20s and it increases to 25% for people in their 40s.
  • Previous Miscarriages – In case you have a miscarriage, your risk that you will have another miscarriage increases slightly to 25%
  • Health Diseases – There are some conditions that left untreated may cause miscarriages. For example diabetes, infections, uterine or cervix problems, and others.

It is advised to talk with your physician for more details.

How Common are miscarriages?

About 10-20% of people end in miscarriage from all known pregnancies. In addition, in some cases, a chemical pregnancy may occur. It means that some people do not realize that they are pregnant because the bleeding occurs nearly the time of their menstrual period.

Additionally, the risk of miscarriage decreases each week you are pregnant. Therefore, in the second trimester (13 to 19 weeks) the risk of miscarriage is roughly 1-5%. However, the risk of miscarriage declines if you do not have any existing health conditions.


Commonly, doctors will perform an ultrasound test to determine if a miscarriage occurs. This test also helps to verify fetal heartbeat or yolk sac presence.

Another test that can confirm a miscarriage is human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). In case you have decreased hCG levels you are likely to have a miscarriage. Moreover, your healthcare provider may perform a pelvic examination to check whether your cervix is opened or not.


When a miscarriage happens, you must remove the fetus from your uterus. Otherwise, it may lead to infections, bleeding, and other complications. Additionally, the uterus should expel all the fetal tissue and if it naturally occurs, no treatment is needed. However, your pregnancy care provider will perform an ultrasound test to make sure that nothing is left in the uterus. In any case, if your body does not remove all tissues, a treatment (medicines or surgery) is required that will remove any remaining tissues.

Non-surgical Treatment

Usually, physicians may wait until you pass the pregnancy on your own. However, if you want to remove all the tissues as soon as possible, you may need certain medications. This treatment option is often used if you have miscarried before 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Surgical Treatment

Dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and evacuation (D&E) are some surgical procedures used if your uterus has not passed the pregnancy or you experience heavy bleeding. This surgery may also be used in case your pregnancy is beyond 10 weeks gestation. Thus, your cervix is dilated and the pregnancy tissues are scraped or suctioned out of the uterus. Moreover, the surgeon will perform this procedure under anesthesia and in a hospital.

What Are The Possible Symptoms after a Miscarriage?

Usually, the symptoms after a miscarriage are mild (such as spotting and mild discomfort). However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, immediately contact your healthcare professional. Examples include:

  • Heavy or worsening bleeding
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Intense pain

Additionally, you should not insert anything in your vagina for at least 14 days after a miscarriage. For example sexual intercourse, tampons, fingers, sex toys, and others. After two weeks you should see your doctor to talk about recovery and complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is miscarriage painful?

Miscarriage symptoms vary among people. While others notice cramps similar to their menstrual period others experience painful cramping. The pain you will feel depends on the type of miscarriage you have.

How long does a miscarriage take?

In most cases, it takes from 2 to 14 days for miscarriage to happen. However, some females take more than 2 weeks for a miscarriage. Consult with your doctor for more details.

What are the three symptoms of a miscarriage?

Commonly, people who have a miscarriage experience the following symptoms. Examples include:

  • Cramps and pain in the lower back and pelvic area
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tissue or fluid passes from the vagina
  • Spotting (light bleeding from the vagina with or without pain)

In case you have any questions, ask your pregnancy care provider.

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