Women’s Health A-Z

Miscarriage

Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but, unfortunately, it may also come with complications and loss. While most women will have healthy babies, some women experience a miscarriage. This term refers to the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. For some women, miscarriage occurs before they know they are pregnant. For those who do know, miscarriage occurs in about 10-15% of pregnancies.

There are several causes of miscarriage, and, sometimes, it’s impossible to know exactly what happened. Some of the causes may include chromosomal problems, injury, infection, abnormalities of the uterus or cervix, and other health conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, thyroid problems, diabetes, and others. Some risk factors for miscarriage include being 35 or older, smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

Symptoms

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe cramps
  • Abdominal pain and/or back pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Passing solid material

If you think you may be having a miscarriage, call your physician right away so you can be evaluated.

Treatment

In most cases, you will be able to heal on your own. It is important to rest and take care of yourself during this time. In some cases, women who experience a miscarriage may need to take medication or have a surgical procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C) or medicine to help remove any remaining tissue from your uterus.

Physical & Emotional Recovery

Physical recovery generally takes a few weeks to a month. The emotional toll of miscarriage may last longer, and there is no shame in grief. Speak to your physician if you are struggling to cope, and they can help you get the resources you need for healing.

Most women who experience a miscarriage go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies. If you have several miscarriages, you and your physician may wish to discuss tests to help determine the cause.