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Miscarriage

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  • Molar Pregnancy - A molar pregnancy is the result of a genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to abnormal tissue growth in the uterus. In the case of a molar pregnancy, a woman misses her period and experiences the normal physical signs of pregnancy, but there is rarely a baby developing. At some point during the first few weeks of a molar pregnancy, part of the placenta starts to produce fluid filled cysts that multiply rapidly. A routine ultrasound between 18 and 20 weeks should be able to detect this problem if it exists. Molar pregnancies only occur in 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies.

Miscarriage Symptoms

It is not always easy to tell if you are having a miscarriage because it can occur in a chain or events over several days. One woman's experience can be very different from another's experience. If you are pregnant and notice any or all of the following symptoms, call your doctor or get to a medical facility as soon as possible.

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Passing tissue or blood clots from the vagina
  • Pain and cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Persistent lower back pain
  • Loss of pregnancy symptoms (nausea, breast tenderness, etc.)

Recurrent Miscarriage

Recurrent miscarriage is defined as three or more pregnancy losses before 20 weeks of gestation. While miscarriage is usually a one-time occurrence, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology states about 1 to 2 percent of couples experience two or more miscarriages in a row, and the risk increases significantly with each subsequent loss.

If you have had two or more miscarriages, you and your partner should have complete medical evaluations to learn the cause and how you can prevent another one. Testing can determine the cause of recurrent miscarriages in at least 75 percent of couples.

Below are some of the conditions that are known to cause recurrent miscarriages and the percentage of cases in which they occur.

  • Chromosomal abnormality in one member of the couple - 5 to 10%
  • Uterine abnormalities - 10 to 15%
  • Hormone problems - 5 to 40%
  • Immune system problems - 5 to 10%
  • Unknown causes - 25%

Treatment and Recovery

In most cases of miscarriage in early pregnancy, treatment includes the removal of the fetus and other tissues from the uterus if the body has not passed them naturally. This procedure is called a dilatation and curettage (D&C) and is performed under general anesthesia. Sometimes the tissue is sent to the laboratory and tested for genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Unless an infection forms, miscarriage does not generally cause serious medical problems.

It can take several weeks to a month or more for a woman to physically recover from a miscarriage, depending on how long she was pregnant. It usually takes much longer to recover emotionally. Grief, anger, numbness and depression are natural emotions a couple may experience after losing a baby.

If you have had a miscarriage and need someone to talk to, don't hesitate to seek counseling or a support group for someone who is experienced with pregnancy loss and understands what you're going through.

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Making decisions about future pregnancies after a miscarriage can be difficult. After the heartbreak of losing a baby, you and your partner may want to try again as soon as possible, but you might also worry about the possibility of another miscarriage. Fortunately, at least 85 percent of women who have had one miscarriage will go on to have a successful pregnancy, as will about 75 percent of women who have had two or three miscarriages.

There is no perfect time to get pregnant again after a miscarriage, but be sure you're ready both physically and emotionally. Some doctors recommend you wait between three and six months before trying again; most recommend you have at least one normal period. Research suggests that the risk of miscarriage in your next pregnancy is about one and a half times higher if you don't allow yourself one normal menstrual cycle before you try again. However, it could take longer before you feel emotionally ready. Deciding when to attempt another pregnancy is a decision only you and your partner can make.

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