A miscarriage occurs when you lose your baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Most miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy and cannot be prevented. Miscarriages that occur after the 20th week are called premature delivery. Although the causes of miscarriage are not fully understood, there are several factors that can contribute to miscarriage, including:
Most women who suffer miscarriages go on to have other normal pregnancies and births. Miscarriages do not necessarily signal fertility problems.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a miscarriage, you should call your physician immediately. Symptoms of miscarriage include:
Your physician will assess your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam and ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage. If there are no remaining fetal or placental tissue in your uterus, the miscarriage is complete and no further treatment is required.
If the uterus does not empty completely on its own, you may need to have a procedure called dilation and evacuation (D&E) to remove any remaining fetal or placental tissue. Your physician may also prescribe medication to help your body completely expel the contents of your uterus.
If your physician is unable to confirm the miscarriage, he or she may recommend treatment such as:
If you suffer from repeated miscarriages (more than two miscarriages in a row), your physician may recommend diagnostic procedures to determine the cause, including:
It is important that you take time to heal physically and emotionally after suffering a miscarriage. Your physician will tell you how long you should wait before trying to get pregnant again. He or she can also provide information on support groups and counselors in your area who can help you cope with the loss of your pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about pregnancy complications.
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