Miscarriage

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy at any time in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks.

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How common is it?

It is estimated that one in four to six pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The risk of a miscarriage decreases as the pregnancy advances.

Certain medical conditions increase the risk of miscarriage. Miscarriages are more likely in multiple pregnancies.

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What causes a miscarriage?

In most instances, we are unable to determine the exact cause of the miscarriage.

The pregnancy that miscarries is probably abnormal from the beginning. At the time of conception, the baby receives half the genes form the sperm and half from the egg. For unknown reasons, at this crucial time of the baby's development, some of the genetic information is lost. This results in a baby that has no chance of developing normally, resulting eventually in a miscarriage.

Certain maternal medical conditions may predispose to miscarriage including uncontrolled severe diabetes, thyroid disease or autoimmune disease.

Another possible cause of miscarriage is that the baby did not implant or bury itself in the womb lining properly.

What is certain is that a miscarriage does NOT result from eating specific foods, carrying heavy things, exercise or sexual intercourse. In short, a miscarriage does not occur as a direct result of something you or your partner has done during the pregnancy.

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What symptoms should I look out for?

The common symptoms would be bleeding from the vagina and abdominal pain.

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When should I consult a doctor?

If you have any bleeding from the vagina or abdominal pain in pregnancy, you should consult a doctor.

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What will the doctor do for me?

The doctor will do an abdominal and an internal examination. If you are more than six weeks pregnant, an ultrasound may be used to determine if your baby is alive.

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Will I need to be admitted to the hospital?

This will depend on your symptoms and the ultrasound examination of the fetus.

If the bleeding is light and with no abdominal pain and the ultrasound examination confirms that the fetus is alive, your doctor may ask you to rest at home and return if your symptoms worsen.

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Why is it necessary to evacuate the uterus if I have already had a miscarriage?

An evacuation of the uterus is a procedure where the neck of the womb is opened up and the womb is emptied. This is done to reduce the chances of infection and to reduce the amount of bleeding from the vagina.

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When can we start trying again?

Normally, it is suggested that you wait for your first period and start trying from there. The exact timing will depend on when the couple is ready to start trying. Some couples will want to start trying straight away, while others need some time to get over their loss.

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What can I do to improve my chances of having a baby the next time?

The fact that you have had one miscarriage does not mean that your next pregnancy will end in another miscarriage. Do not be discouraged by the miscarriage. You still have a very good chance of having a baby. If you have had three or more miscarriages, then your doctor may need to do some extra blood tests for you.

Leading a healthy lifestyle does help to improve your chances. This means you need to stop smoking, stop or at least reduce your alcohol intake, do regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, reduce stress and ensure that your weight is within the normal limits.

Taking folic acid when you have decide to start trying to conceive will help to reduce the baby's chances of having a spinal tube defect.

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