What Is Miscarriage? Its Causes & How To Avoid It!

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Often referred to as spontaneous abortion, miscarriage refers to the loss of the baby before the 20th  week of pregnancy. Due to miscarriage, the fetus might be lost even before the 20th of pregnancy that could generally fall in the first trimester or the first three months of pregnancy. A miscarriage may take a huge toll on your life. It does not only cause physical damage but also emotional damage and could come as a surprise.

According to different statistics, approximately 50% of pregnancies might result in a miscarriage. This could even happen before you even get your period, or know about your pregnancy. However, only 15 to 25% of the known pregnancies could result in miscarriage. Not only this, but the statistics even show that 80% of the miscarriages might occur during the initial three months of pregnancy. However, the chances of miscarriages might truncate after 20 weeks. But even if they do happen after 20 weeks, they might be referred to as late miscarriage.

Though the real cause of miscarriage might sometimes be unavoidable, you must know how you may prevent it. Besides this, you may also know the different types of miscarriages, their symptoms, causes, and diagnosis. In this article, I will try to delineate in detail all about miscarriages and how you could evade them.

  1. Threatened Miscarriage

    Under this type of miscarriage, your body may provide you with different signs of miscarriage. The threatened miscarriage lasts for a few days or even for weeks. Under this type of miscarriage, you might face pain in the lower abdomen or even vaginal bleeding.

    However, there are no methods as to how you could prevent the threatened miscarriage.  All a doctor or midwife could recommend you is bed rest in such a circumstance. However, there is even no scientific proof that bed rest might even help you in this stage.

    Generally, when you face the threatened miscarriage, your pain and bleeding might fade eventually. So, you could continue to have a healthy baby after a miscarriage. However,  sometimes things might even get worse and you could face continuous miscarriages after threatened miscarriage.

    More on it here.

  2. Complete Miscarriage

    As the name suggests, under the complete miscarriage, all your pregnancy tissue might leave your uterus. Due to this, you could face vaginal bleeding for a number of days. When the uterus contracts to get the pregnancy tissue out from your body, you might face cramping, pain or robust period pain.

    Under the complete miscarriage, you might always connect with your doctor or midwife to verify that the miscarriage is complete or not.

  3. Incomplete Miscarriage

    Under this type of miscarriage,  some of the pregnancy tissue might not leave your uterus. Due to this, your uterus might try again and again to go empty itself. However,  when the uterus tries to empty itself, you might face cramps in your lower abdomen and even vaginal bleeding.

    Under the incomplete miscarriage, you need to connect with your doctor or midwife. The healthcare provider could help to analyze whether you need to undergo the DNC procedure or not. This procedure could help to remove any remnants of pregnancy tissue from your uterus.

    Treatment is discussed here in detail.

  4. Missed Miscarriage

    This type of miscarriage may occur when the embryo dies or was never formed in your uterus. However, the tissue of the pregnancy stays in your uterus. The missed miscarriage has symptoms of brownish discharge, nausea and tiredness.

    More info here.

  5. Inevitable Miscarriage

    As the name suggests, inevitable miscarriage might not be avoided and causes symptoms of pain in your lower stomach along with vaginal bleeding. Generally, you might get an inevitable miscarriage after a threatened miscarriage or sometimes even without any warning. Under the inevitable miscarriage, the developing embryo might leave your body through vagina bleeding.

  6. Recurrent Miscarriage

    Sometimes, you might even face the repeated miscarriages that are known as recurrent miscarriages. So if you are having your third or more miscarriages, then it could be better to always consult your doctor to know the causes behind the recurrent miscarriage.

    More info here.

Causes Of Miscarriages In Different Trimesters

Knowing the exact cause behind miscarriages might be difficult. However, in certain cases, your doctor may be able to find out the root cause behind miscarriage. In such circumstances, you might always aim at treating the issue of the miscarriage to evade any future miscarriages. Here are the various causes of miscarriages in the different row masters of pregnancy.
  1. First Trimester

    The first trimester includes your pregnancy time between the 1st and the 13th week. Some of the common causes of miscarriage during the first trimester might include-
    • Placental issues- Sometimes the developing fetus and the placenta might not be in the right position to facilitate pregnancy. Due to this, you could face a miscarriage. Not only this, but you might even face miscarriage due to certain uterine defects like the normal shape of the uterus.
    • Chromosomal issues- In certain circumstances, your fetus might have some issues or is damaged. Generally, more than half of the miscarriages in the first trimester could result due to issues related to the chromosomal structure of the fetus. Once your body identifies that there is a problem with the chromosomal structure of the fetus, it could end the pregnancy.
    • Ectopic pregnancy- This type of situation is a rare case of pregnancy and could occur when the fetus develops outside the womb. However, these types of situations might be saved through immediate treatment.
    • Blood clotting. Sometimes, your pregnancy might end due to blood clots. The situation is known as antiphospholipid syndrome. However, you may evade miscarriage in such a circumstance by treating with certain medications.
    More on management of first trimester loss here.
  2. Second Trimester

    The second trimester refers to the 13th to 24th week of pregnancy. When miscarriages occur in the second trimester, then they might be related to some issues of the mother’s health or external health conditions. Some of the causes that might lead to miscarriage in the second trimester are as follows.
    • Thyroid disease. If you have thyroid, then it might amplify the risk of miscarriage in the second trimester.
    • External factors. Sometimes you might be exposed to environmental or external factors like certain chemicals or hazards that could augment the risk of your miscarriage. These hazards could include pesticides, heavy metals, mercury, paint thinners and so on.
    • Abnormal shape of the womb. The abnormal shape of the womb or fibroids might cause a miscarriage.
    • Certain chronic conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, might even augment your risk of miscarriage.
    • If you have infections in your cervix or uterus then it may lead to miscarriage. Some of the major causes of miscarriage include foodborne illnesses.
    • Certain habits related to your lifestyle, like drug usage, smoking, consumption of alcohol, and so on may enhance your risk of miscarriage. Sometimes high caffeine consumption might also become a problem during pregnancy.
    Details are discussed here.
  3. Third Trimester

    Generally, a miscarriage between 29th to 40th week might be referred to as stillbirth. Some of the causes of the 1st and the second trimester might even lead to miscarriage in the third trimester. However, certain other causes are as follows.
    • High blood pressure, or preeclampsia. During preeclampsia, the oxygen and nutrients supply to the fetus might be stopped.
    • Sometimes there could be issues with the umbilical cord, like a squeezed cord. In these situations, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus is stopped.
    Pregnancy complications like preterm labor or birth defects might even result in miscarriage.

How To Prevent Miscarriage?

Giving birth is one of the blessings which every woman would like to have. Hence miscarriages could be a disastrous situation for the couple. However, there are certain tips that you might follow to evade miscarriages in the early weeks of pregnancy. But these tips could work only when your miscarriage can be prevented. In cases of inevitable pregnancy, there are no tips that could help you to prevent miscarriage.

  1. Do Not Lift Heavyweight In The First Trimester

    You may evade lifting heavyweight in the first trimester. It could have an adverse impact on the health of your developing fetus.

    CDC also accepts the same.

  2. Focus On Your Diet During The First Semester

    During the early weeks of pregnancy, you might avoid eating certain food items like pineapple, papaya, cold meat, raw salads, and undercooked items like eggs. At the same time, you might even not eat high-level mercury fish.

    On the other hand, you could also take a look at these guidelines from the Indian government.

    More on pregnancy diet and foods here.

  3. Do Not Undergo Strenuous Or Excessive Exercises

    You might only focus on light exercises like brisk walking in the first trimester. This is because early pregnancy might not be the right time to undergo excessive or strenuous exercises, and could instead lead to miscarriage. So you need to rest more and more in the first trimester.

  4. Avoid Intercourse

    During the early weeks of pregnancy, there might be a lot of complications going inside your body. Due to this, it may be beneficial if you avoid intercourse during the first trimester to truncate any risks of miscarriage.

  5. Say No To Liquor, Smoking And Drugs

    Consuming alcohol, smoking or drug usage during the early weeks of pregnancy could prove to be fatal for your health as well as the health of the fetus. Besides this, you should also avoid second hand smoking. Second-hand smoking refers to situations when you inhale smoke if someone else is smoking near you.

  6. Truncate The Consumption Of Caffeine

    You might minimize the consumption of caffeine during the early days of pregnancy. At the same time, you should also truncate the consumption of tea.

    You might want to know more about coffee and pregnancy here.

  7. Do Not Delay Any Tests

    You should have all the tests as recommended by your healthcare provider at the right time. Having the required tests at the right time will help you to know whether there are any risks associated with your pregnancy or not.

Some of the risks could include diabetes, blood pressure, blood clotting, week cervix or even thyroid. Once you know the different risks associated with pregnancy, then you might take the necessary medications to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Final Words On Miscarriage

Hence, if you take the right precautions and adopt all the necessary tips then you may evade a miscarriage. You should be extremely cautious during the first trimester of pregnancy when there are augmented risks of miscarriage. So, you should always consult your doctor during this phase and evade self medications.

Other references

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