A miscarriage is the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is perhaps one of the most devastating experiences a pregnant woman can go through and can be both physically and emotionally painful. One thing about a miscarriage is that it may be caused by one or a variety of medical reasons, most of which are beyond someone’s control. Most miscarriages occur when a fetus isn’t developing normally.
If you experience the following signs, visit your doctor immediately:
- Severe cramps
- Vaginal discharge that comes out as blood clots
- Severe back pain
- Pain in the abdomen
- Heavy bleeding
- Weight loss
Contrary to popular belief, a miscarriage isn’t something that is caused by something you did or did not do – it is mostly caused by underlying medical factors or sometimes genetic abnormalities in the fetus that usually has nothing to do with the mother. The following are some of the causes of miscarriage:
- Underlying medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, thyroid gland problems, untreated Sexually Transmitted Diseases and coeliac disease.
- Weakened cervix. The muscles of the cervix need to be strong in order to sustain a pregnancy. Sometimes these muscles may become weak, causing the cervix to open up too early during pregnancy.
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking, drugs and alcohol use may heighten one’s chances of experiencing a miscarriage.
- Chromosome defects. Normally, a fetus is supposed to develop from a set of chromosomes contributed equally from both the mother and father. Sometimes both sets of chromosomes may come from the father or in some instances, the mother’s chromosomes may be present but the father produces 2 sets of chromosomes. This is a condition that can highly cause a miscarriage.
- Problems with the placenta. The placenta is an organ that develops when a woman becomes pregnant and is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and removing waste products from it. Sometimes the placenta may develop abnormally, cutting off blood supply to the fetus, causing a miscarriage.
- Fibroids are non-cancerous cells that grow in the womb. If fibroids develop in your womb when you are pregnant, you are most likely to experience a miscarriage.
A miscarriage shouldn’t be confused with an abortion. In an abortion, one takes pills or goes through a procedure that terminates the pregnancy while a miscarriage on the other hand is something that the mother-to-be has no control over.