Being told that you are undergoing a miscarriage (abortion) is a very distressing event. Even more disturbing is the lingering feeling that you may have in some way caused it. To compound this needless guilt, misinformed relatives and friends give you a list of things you may have done that places the blame of the miscarriage squarely on your shoulders.
It is important to realize that miscarriage is a natural process and cannot be caused by something you did or didn’t do. About 20 percent of women who conceive will lose their pregnancy in a miscarriage. There is no reason why you will not be able to have a baby the next time you try.
What is a miscarriage (abortion)?
A miscarriage is the spontaneous ending of a pregnancy before the 5th month (20th week) of pregnancy. The medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion.
Most miscarriages occur during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Many occur within the first 10 weeks. Some women miscarry even before they know they are pregnant.
What are the symptoms of a miscarriage?
Possible symptoms include:
- Bleeding which can range from a few drops of blood to a heavy flow. The bleeding may start with no warning or there may be a brownish discharge first.
- Cramping pain in the lower abdomen
- A gush of fluid from the vagina without bleeding or pain. This may mean that the membranes have ruptured.
- Some clot like tissue may pass out of the vagina. Try to keep this material so the doctor can examine it.
It is possible that you may have minimal or no bleeding and pain, but the foetus has died and symptoms of early pregnancy disappear. The diagnosis is made with an ultrasound examination. This condition is called a missed abortion.