Seeing your first positive pregnancy test can be an incredibly exciting moment.

Amidst the exhaustion and nausea, the first weeks of pregnancy can be rewarding and truly beautiful. However, at the back of a lot of soon-to-be-momma’s minds lays the fearful question, “What if I miscarry?”

There’s a ton of anxiety around the topic of miscarriages, especially because of the majority of the time, the cause of miscarriages is unknown.

This leaves a lot of women blaming themselves for the miscarriage, which can be a horrible feeling.

In fact, in a 2015 study, researchers found that 41% of women who miscarried believe they did something wrong, making them feel a variety of different emotions. Many of these women believe it was either due to stress or a prolonged birth control phase or carry heavy objects incorrectly.

However, only 10-20% of pregnancies lead to miscarriages, while more than half the time, the miscarriage is due to various internal issues such as chromosomal abnormalities which are impossible to prevent.

While it’s hard to tell if a miscarriage is due to stress, it’s widely known that stress isn’t good for you or your growing baby.

One of the most effective ways to deal with a stressful situation, based on the unknown, is to become an expert at it — to look at the situation cognitively as opposed to emotionally, while having a backup of facts and knowledge on hand.

That’s why we’re here.

In this article, we’ll outline all the miscarriage symptoms in detail along with first aid guidance so you can go through your pregnancy stress-free like the all-knowing fertile goddess you are.

Causes of a Miscarriage

First, what exactly is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is when you lose your pregnancy before 20 weeks. The majority of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks, which is why many couples choose not to share their big news before the first 3 weeks.

Needless to say, a miscarriage can be emotionally devastating. Either that, or it could be a surprise if you didn't even notice or figure out you were pregnant before the miscarriage.

woman depressed

Either way, be rest assured that it’s not your fault and you’ll likely be able to conceive in the future.

As we mentioned earlier, most miscarriages happen because of things that are out of your control. In fact, half of miscarriages occur due to issues with chromosomes, which contain the genes which define the baby’s eye color, hair color, overall health, and other various features.

Either having too few or too many chromosomes can hinder the baby’s development. But before you jump to any conclusions, these issues happen purely by chance and have nothing to do with something you and your partner did or how your genes mesh.

There are a few health problems that occur within the mother which may also make themselves more susceptible to miscarrying.

As less likely as they are to induce miscarriage, these issues include:

  • Infections
  • Hormone issues
  • Diabetes (uncontrolled)
  • Lupus
  • Thyroid disease
  • Smoking, using illegal drugs or drinking alcohol
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or radiation

Early Miscarriage Symptoms

woman in pain

Now that you know how to prevent a miscarriage, we can look into some possible symptoms so that you can better determine if what you’re experiencing is a common effect of pregnancy or if it’s a miscarriage.

Make sure you read through these symptoms thoroughly as sometimes, pregnant women will experience these same symptoms, but in a different way.

Here are four common miscarriage symptoms in detail:

Bleeding and Vaginal Discharge

As soon as your pregnant, it’s widely known you shouldn’t expect to bleed anytime soon. However, at the same time, every woman’s body is different, meaning bleeding may be completely normal.

For instance, implantation bleeding can be a first sign of pregnancy. Spotting can be a sign that the egg has attached itself to the lining of your uterus. This usually happens 10-14 days after implantation.

A woman can also experience some bleeding behind the placenta that is in the midst of developing.

A bad sign is if the blood is bright red and is a significant amount as if you just got your period. It’s also paired with cramping in your uterus and may contain clots, vaginal discharge or tissue.

Again, every woman is different. While this can be a sign of miscarriage for some women, half of women who miscarry don’t experience any bleeding at all.

Pain and Cramping

Menstrual-like cramps can be completely normal. This is just a sign that your uterus is expanding, which is wonderful, yet usually quite uncomfortable.

However, sometimes, cramping can point towards a potential miscarriage, especially when accompanied by blood. This is your uterus contracting, attempting to expel the pregnancy.

Serious Back Pain

Back pain, again, can be completely normal in a healthy pregnancy. Whether it’s mild or severe, it can either be a sign of a normal pregnancy or a miscarriage.

The best advice for this is to chat with your doctor. Have him or her on speed-dial during this time if you’re especially concerned so that they can ease your worries or talk you through what’s happening.

Not Feeling Pregnant

While this differs from woman to woman, “not feeling pregnant” anymore can be a sign of miscarriage.

Again, sometimes this can be totally normal. Typically, you need to keep track of where you are in your pregnancy. If the typical symptoms of pregnancy begin to shift, this can be a sign of the natural progression.

For instance, during the first trimester, the uterus that has been growing constantly, puts pressure on your bladder, causing you to pee more frequently.

This is one of the common signs of pregnancy. If this eases up a bit later through the first trimester and into the second trimester, this is likely a sign that it has grown out of your pelvis, easing the pressure on your bladder.

Women also tend to feel more energetic during their second trimester which goes against the common feeling of exhaustion during pregnancy.

The difference is, when a baby dies, the mother may notice a difference in how they feel overall.

This is because the placenta has stopped creating hormones that produce these symptoms and feelings. Women then begin to feel their bodies change and almost know that the pregnancy is no more.

Emergency Situations and What to Do

There’s no need to head to the emergency clinic if you have a feeling that you have miscarried. However, if you begin experiencing extreme pain or heavy bleeding, especially both, call your doctor immediately.

doctor consultation

Your doctor will be able to tell you whether or not you need to visit the office or if you should head to the emergency room.

Follow Up

Once at the clinic, your doctor will likely perform an ultrasound to confirm if you have miscarried or not. The follow-up steps then vary after the conclusion, depending on the situation and woman.

  • If some placental tissue is still within the uterus, the doctor may suggest treatment.
  • If the miscarriage is finalized and the uterus is clean, or if it happens early on in the pregnancy there’s no further treatment besides self-care.
  • If the fetus died in the womb, the doctor will induce labor and delivery.
  • If the pregnancy is healthy, but there is still some bleeding, the doctor will monitor the mother closely.
  • Spotting and mild discomfort are usually after a miscarriage, however, if there are signs of infection such as a fever, chills, bleeding or serious pain, you should call your doctor again.

Miscarriage Symptoms and First Aid: Final Thoughts

miscarriage

Typically, a miscarriage is an isolated situation. Couples will usually carry on to experience successful pregnancies, giving birth to perfect babies.

If you have experienced a miscarriage before, however, any type of change in your body such as cramping or bleeding may put you on edge.

Always know that your body is unique and these symptoms could very well be a sign of a normal pregnancy.

The best thing you can do for you and your baby is to get an excellent doctor or OBGYN who is comfortable answering any calls or concerns you may have along the way.

Remember, there’s a small chance you may experience a miscarriage, but a huge chance that it will continue to grow and be nourished by your body, mind, and love.

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