Miscarriage - Types of Spontaneous Abortion and Prevention Tips
Abortion is a term that has been voted off as a social taboo. Despite its long existence in our society, the information about abortion has long been held back, disallowing the people to know the exact nature of it. If you are one of those curious cats who always learn from researches and details about the subject matter, then you are on the right platform.
In terms of definition, miscarriage is an event resulting in loss of pregnancy. The medical term used for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. The spontaneous abortion occurs naturally without any medical or surgical intervention.
Hopefully, the exact terminology of abortion is cleared from the definition of miscarriage itself.
But many women get confused about this terminology and whenever they hear the word ‘abortion’ they get quite shocked. It can be frustrating your miscarriage being referred to as ‘abortion’.
Both physically and emotionally, putting an ‘elective’ (induced abortion) end to pregnancy is a completely different situation as compared to ‘wanted’ pregnancy. Many doctors avoid using the term ‘abortion’ for the sake of the patients, but some other use this term that sometimes creates misunderstandings.
There are several other medical terms or say types or classification which we will discuss below to have a clear picture of the topic.
Types of Miscarriage or Abortion
- Missed miscarriage - which means a woman having miscarriage does not experience any symptoms
- Threatened miscarriage - which means woman experience abnormal bleeding and pain while the pregnancy still continues
- Incomplete miscarriage - which is referred to tissue of fetus left in the uterus after abortion
- Infected abortion - which means either lining of the uterus or the tissue leftover in the uterus has become infected
- Inevitable abortion - which means nothing can stop the miscarriage from occurring
- Blighted Ovum - which is referred to a condition where fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus but it doesn’t develop into an embryo or growth never occurs
- Ectopic abortion - which means egg implants somewhere other than uterus (usually in fallopian tubes) which needs to be removed else, the life of the mother will be at stake
- Recurrent miscarriage - which means a woman had 3-4 consecutive miscarriages occurred in the first trimester
Causes of Miscarriage
Using different terminology by the physician might confuse or frustrate you for a while, but it is important to note that in almost all the cases mentioned above, nothing you could have done to prevent the abortion.
However, there are reasons that you should know might have caused the miscarriage. The reasons can be primarily divided into categories with their respective sub-categories:
Genetic and chromosomal issues
It is estimated that about 50 percent of miscarriages occur due to chromosomal problems. It can be due to damaged sperm cell or egg while the problem with placenta can also lead to miscarriage. Some of these genetic and chromosomal factors are mentioned below:
- Intrauterine fetal death - When the embryo develops but the mother does not feel any symptoms such as movement or activity of the baby.
- Complete molar pregnancy - This genetic condition occurs rarely. In a molar pregnancy, the placenta growth is typically abnormal in which both sets of chromosomes come from the father without any genetic information of egg. So fetal development does not occur and looks like an abnormal tissue.
- Partial molar pregnancy - In this condition, the egg is fertilized by two sperm which also means embryo gets two sets of chromosomes from the father and one from the mother. It leads to abnormalities.
Lifestyle, underlying health conditions can also interfere with the development of the fetus, especially in the second trimester. Normally, having sexual intercourse and exercise does not cause miscarriages.
Also working during pregnancy does not affect the fetus until and unless you are exposed to some harmful chemicals or other work conditions. Other external factors that might affect fetus development are:
- Lack of proper diet
- Advanced maternal age (35 or above)
- Trauma or accident
- Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Food poisoning
- Untreated thyroid disease
- Drugs or alcohol use
- Certain medications
Risk factors - What makes you vulnerable?
Most of the miscarriages are natural and unpreventable. However, there are certain risk factors that can elevate the chances of miscarriage. These are:
- Exposure to radiation
- History of miscarriages
- Being overweight or underweight
- Excessive use of caffeine
Signs and Symptoms of miscarriage
The signs and symptoms of miscarriage depend on the stage of pregnancy. It is important to remember that some signs of miscarriage such as cramping or vaginal bleeding might also be symptoms of early pregnancy.
However, these cases should be strictly administered by the doctor. If you notice any of the signs, you must follow-up with your gynaecologist.
- Mild to severe back pain
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Cramping or pain in the abdomen or lower back
- Expulsion of clot-like tissue from vagina
How common are miscarriages?
As per American Pregnancy Association, 10-25 pregnancies which are clinically recognized end up in miscarriage. Miscarriages mostly occur in the first three months or first trimester of pregnancy.
Can we prevent miscarriage?
Not all miscarriages can be prevented. However, having a miscarriage once or twice does not mean you cannot conceive again. In fact, a vast majority of women who miscarry for some reason have healthier pregnancies later in their life. Also having a miscarriage does not mean your partner has infertility problems.
The best person to discuss the topic is your gynaecologist. Try to follow these recommendations:
- Make sure you get 400 mg of folic acid, well before (1 or 2 months) you plan to conceive
- Eat healthy and balanced diet
- Limit caffeine intake (no more than 200 mg per day)
- Engage in light regular exercise to reduce stress and improve fetal health
- Avoid smoking, not even second-hand smoke
- Maintain healthy weight before and during pregnancy
- Talk to the doctor before taking any medication
Most miscarriages are out of your control. However, as mentioned above, the good news is a woman can become pregnant again and can deliver healthy babies in future.
So talk to your doctor you might be suffering from some underlying medical condition. Diagnosis of those underlying conditions early will certainly increase your chances of conception in future.