How To Reduce The Risk Of A Miscarriage During A Pregnancy: Its Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Types, And Treatments
Having a miscarriage is the greatest fear of pregnant women. Once life is formed in the womb, there is an automatic connection between the mother and the unborn child. When a miscarriage occurs, it is not just the pregnant woman’s physical health which is at risk. The experience of losing a life in the womb will have serious repercussions on the mother’s mental and emotional health.
What is a Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is a situation whereby the pregnancy is terminated; usually during the first 20 weeks of gestation. In fact, most happen within the first 12 weeks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) report that miscarriage accounts for the majority of pregnancy losses.
Pregnancy is a happy time for the couple. However, the chances of miscarriage during pregnancy are always there. If you are planning to start a family or know of someone who is, you should be informed about miscarriages.
In this article, we will explain to you how miscarriages occur, the different types, and most importantly, how to prevent them from happening.
What Causes Miscarriages?
As mentioned earlier, the first 12 weeks carries the highest risk of miscarriage. During this stage, a baby’s chromosomes could develop problems. Doctors refer to this condition as a “Chromosomal Abnormality”.
A chromosomal abnormality can occur if either the egg or the sperm was compromised even before the zygote could complete the cell division process. Your chromosomes are genetically predetermined. It is not your fault if you or your partner has too many or too few chromosomes.
However, there are other factors that can increase the chances of a miscarriage during pregnancy. These factors are as follows:
- Poor lifestyle choices – Smoking, alcohol consumption, eating highly-processed foods, and use of illegal drugs
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Exposure to radiation
- Thyroid disease
- Maternal age
When you get pregnant, you should regularly consult with your doctor. A successful pregnancy requires team effort: You, your spouse, and the doctor. In the team, the doctor is your Coach. He/she will draw up a game plan designed to support a successful and healthy pregnancy.
However, pregnancy is filled with uncertainties. It pays to be aware of signs and symptoms that you may be at risk of having a miscarriage:
- Secretion of mucus with a white-pinkish color
- Painful contractions every 5 to 20 minutes
- Tissue that appears like clots coming out of the vagina
- Severe cramps in the lower back area
- Weight loss
- Brown or red bleeding; may not be accompanied by cramps
If you see or experience any one of these symptoms, please do not hesitate or self-diagnose. You should visit your doctor immediately.
What Are The Types Of Miscarriage?
Generally, a miscarriage is called just that, a miscarriage. However, there are different reasons for miscarriages. The symptoms and signs of early miscarriage plus the resulting conditions can help the doctor identify the possible causes and recommend the appropriate treatment for the pregnant woman.
Here are the 8 types of miscarriages:
- Threatened Miscarriage – During the early stages of the pregnancy, the woman may experience uterine bleeding. This could be accompanied by cramping or tremendous pain on the lower backside.
- Incomplete Miscarriage – The cervix is dilated and has been opened. The woman will feel abdominal or lower back pain. The bleeding and abdominal/lower back pain will persist until the miscarriage has been completed.
- Complete Miscarriage – This is a type of miscarriage that occurs when the contents of the embryo have emptied out from the uterus.
- Missed Miscarriage – Perhaps the most traumatic for pregnant women. A missed miscarriage is the situation where the woman had a miscarriage without knowing it. There are no signs of early miscarriage. It is only identified via ultrasound or the disappearance of the heartbeat.
- Recurrent Miscarriage – This is a case where the pregnant woman experiences a miscarriage for 3 consecutive first trimesters.
- Blighted Ovum – The fertilized egg successfully implants onto the uterine wall. However, fetal development does not take place.
- Ectopic Pregnancy – The fertilized egg gets implanted in another place; usually the fallopian tube, instead of the uterine wall. The development of the fetus has to be stopped. Otherwise, it would pose the health of the mother at serious risk.
- Molar Pregnancy – A genetic error occurs during fertilization which leads to the development of abnormal tissue.
Regardless of the type of miscarriage, the event will always be a traumatic one for the woman. Thus, it is important to take precautions before and during pregnancy in order to protect and safeguard the health of the mother and the unborn baby.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Miscarriage In A Pregnancy
According to statistics, approximately 10% to 15% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. It is a frightful statistic that every pregnant woman has to keep in mind.
You may be reading this article because you want to know how to prevent a miscarriage. As we discussed earlier, most miscarriages occur because of chromosomal abnormalities.
The type of chromosomes you have was genetically determined at birth. As we said, this is not your fault and there is nothing you can do about it.
However, this does not mean you should leave yours and the baby’s health up to fate. Getting pregnant entails a huge responsibility because you are tasked with bringing a human life into the world. You should do whatever you can to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the baby.
While you cannot truly prevent a miscarriage, you can reduce the risk of having a miscarriage during pregnancy. Even if you don’t have a say in your chromosomal makeup, you can take precautionary measures that will increase your baby’s fighting chance to be born into this world.
- See Your Gynecologist
As part of the pre-pregnancy planning process, always include a visit to your Gynecologist. The Gynecologist will run a thorough health check up on you. Usually, the tests include blood, Rh factor, and immunity versus diseases such as measles and chicken pox.
It is important to be vaccinated against these contagious diseases because you can pass it on to your baby and put his/her life at risk. Once the pregnancy has been confirmed, your Gynecologist cannot give you the vaccination shot.
- Eat Healthy
What you eat feeds your baby. Most of the foods available at groceries are highly-processed with chemicals, artificial ingredients, and hormones. Be careful about your choices. These substances can pose a risk to your pregnancy.
Talk to a nutritionist who can design a healthy diet to support your pregnancy. It should include foods that have iron, folate, healthy fats, and anti-oxidants. Preferably, you should opt for organic food sources that were not manufactured with pesticides and growth hormones.
- Exercise Within Limits
If you’re pregnant, it is perfectly fine to exercise. Your doctor will tell you that regular exercise will result in an easier delivery. However, pregnancy is not the time to train for your first Crossfit competition or triathlon.
There are research studies that show exercising more than 7 hours a week can increase the risk of miscarriage. It may be wise to hire a licensed Personal Trainer who has experience training pregnant women.
- Cut Out Caffeine
Yes, it could be hard to get out of the caffeine habit when you are pregnant. And your doctor may even tell you that it is perfectly safe to limit your caffeine intake to no more than two 6-ounce cups of coffee.
Why take the chance?
It is better to be safe and completely cut out caffeine. After all, you are only talking about 9 months of sacrifice. In a year and a half’s time, you could be having your favourite brew while your baby nurses his/her bottle of milk!
- Cut Out Bad Lifestyle Habits
It should go without saying that pregnant mothers should totally cut out bad lifestyle habits such as smoking, using illegal drugs, and consuming alcohol. Yet, bad habits are hard to get rid of. They are a constant temptation.
Even if your doctor says a glass of red wine is fine, don’t take chances. Remember the statistic: 10% to 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. Don’t let your baby become a statistic. Drop the bottle.
- Manage Your Stress Levels
Studies have shown that pregnant mothers who were able to manage their stress levels were less susceptible to the risk of a miscarriage.
Pregnancy can be a stressful time especially for mothers who still have to work. If you are pregnant, take advantage of your company’s maternity leave benefits. Focus on your pregnancy instead of your work.
- Avoid Places That Are Environmental Hazards
Places that present environmental hazards are those where radiation and other harmful substances are present. These places include areas with x-ray machines, toxic chemicals or waste products, and crowded premises which are thick with second-hand smoke.
Conclusion – How To Treat A Miscarriage
When a miscarriage occurs, the doctor’s primary objective is to stop the bleeding. Otherwise, it may lead to infections and life-threatening complications. If the miscarriage occurs during the early part of the pregnancy, the body should naturally expel the remains of the fetal tissue.
If not, the doctor will perform a procedure known as Dilation and Curettage or D & C. After the procedure has been completed, the doctor may prescribe medicines to support healing and recovery.
Recovery can be done at home. If you feel chills or a resumption of bleeding, contact your doctor right away.