- 1 Early Signs of Miscarriage – Causes & Risk Factors
- 1.1 A Day Shy From Week 7
- 1.2 Types of A Miscarriage
- 1.3 What is a Miscarriage?
- 1.4 Types of Miscarriage
- 1.5 Symptoms of Miscarriage
- 1.6 Causes of Miscarriage
- 1.7 Risk Factors
- 1.8 Symptoms After A Miscarriage
- 1.9 Be Vigilant But Not Over Consumed
Early Signs of Miscarriage – Causes & Risk Factors
A Day Shy From Week 7
So it is now only 5 days that I found out I am pregnant. Or should I say 5 days that I discovered I was blessed with a miracle! Each time I tell a family member that I am pregnant, I can not help myself to say “I do not know how this happened, but I am pregnant”. This seems to evoke quite a laugh for the recieving person because they say “Do you not know how babies are made Cynthia?”. Fair enough! But I do not have a menstrual cycle! I have PCOS! It only makes sense biologically that I can not get pregnant if I have no signs of ovulation. So in my humble opinion, this is a miracle. I do not think I have to explain myself further then why each morning, I wake up slightly worried that something will go wrong. The worst part is I have no real symptoms. I actually wake up praying I have nausea or something really obvious! LOL It doesn’t help that the doctor who confirmed my pregnancy through ultrasound was very frank and repeatedly emphasized how I was ONLY 6 weeks and 2 days, and that we should not celebrate until at least the 12 week mark. So of course, what do I do? I start googling “early signs of a miscarriage”.
Types of A Miscarriage
I do not even enjoy discussing this topic because I am a little hyper-senstive right now. If any of my readers missed my previous article called Very Early Pregnancy Signs – The Common and Not So Common Ones, this may add a little context to my personal story. But to summarize, finding out I am pregnant was a shock (a happy one though) and I have no common pregnancy symptoms. First of all, I have amenorrhea, and therefore no missed periods. They only two things that I noticed that made me “feel off” were a major increase in hair loss and a heaviness on the chest like I am sometimes missing “air”. When I googled “very early pregnancy signs”, my symptoms did not come up. Luckily, my body told me to test myself even though the idea of being fertile was absurd to me. And this goes to show how us women have such a strong intuition.
So each morning, I am hoping to feel nauseas and extremely tired, because these are both the 2 hallmark symptoms of the 1st trimester of pregnancy but I feel nothing. It almost makes me doubt this is real or that maybe I miscarried without knowing. Is that possible?
Well my research confirmed that it is possible unfortunately.
What is a Miscarriage?
Is when the pregnant mother loses her baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Types of Miscarriage
Before Pregnancy Even Detected
Unfortunately, approximately 3/4 of all fertilized eggs are lost in the very early days of pregnancy, before the female even realized she was pregnant.
Missed Miscarriage or Silent Miscarriage
This just means you had a miscarrige without you noticing, because the miscarriage did not cause the typical obvious signs such as bleeding and/or abdnominal pain.
In this case, your hormone levels are still high but start to slowly decrease and then you may notice that your pregnancy symptoms such as tender breasts or nausea may start to decline.
So the KEY is the change in pregnancy symptoms. But if from the start, you barely had pregnancy symptoms, this change may be very subtle or even non-existant.
Can you see how this kind of freaked me out?
So although it sucks to lose my hair, I am happy and grateful to see my hair falling from my head each day. It gives me a sense of reassurance that should still be pregnant. But again, the hormone levels take time to drop so a change in pregnancy symptoms after a missed or silent miscarriage will not be immediate.
So what happens next?
Typically the missed miscarriage will be detected in your next ultrasound and the doctor will either notice:
- The embryo sac is empty; or
- There is no more heart beat.
Most of the time, the doctor will suggest a follow-up ultrasound a few days later or a blood test to confirm his findings.
In order to get rid of the pregancy sack or the dead fetus, you can chose to take medications and/or have a small procedure to remove the tissues.
In the 1st trimester (first 12 weeks).
The statistics show that appoximately 20-25% of women will have an early miscarriage.
After the 1st trimester (beween weeks 12 and 24).
Statistics show that this is much rarer, and the changes are 1 out of 100 women.
Symptoms of Miscarriage
Really there are 3 major ones:
1.Abdominal cramps similar to when you have your period.
One of the reasons that someone may not feel these cramps, is if they have a weaker cervix, and this in itself MAY be a cause of a miscarriage.
2. Heavy bleeding.
Should you worry about “spotting”?
This is very common in early pregnancy and is usally no cause for concern. Always advise your doctor so that they are aware and they may want to see you to access.
3. Fluid or tissue passing through the vagina.
According to Mayoclinic, if you pass tissue from your vagina, place it in a clean container and bring it to your health care provider’s office or the hospital for analysis.
Absence of Symptoms
As mentioned before, if these symptoms do not exist, you may experience a missed miscarriage or silent pregnancy.
And for women who have a late miscarriage and do not have these miscarriage symptoms this will be often undetected, because after week 12-13 of pregnancy, all the pregnancy symptoms have already subsided.
Unfortunately, the miscarriage will be discovered at the ultrasound, which will be devasting.
Causes of Miscarriage
Know that you are not alone and approximately 1 of 4 pregnancy result in a miscarriage. There are some health factors in women, that may increase the chances of a miscarriage but in most cases, the actual CAUSE of the miscarriage is unknown.
The cause is definitely the result of the embryo not developing properly but there are many factors that can prevent the proper development of the embryo.
For instance it may be due to:
- Chromosome deficiency in the genetic material – too much change in the structure of the chromosomes;
- Lacking the correct number of chromosomes – need to have 23 from the mother and 23 from the father.
Late pregnancy is believed to more the result of the health of the pregnant mother, but again this is not always the case and it is very difficult to confirm this, even if you have more than 1 miscarriage.
Because the root cause of a miscarriage is unknown, you have to realize that nature will take its course and as hard as it is, you need to believe that the pregnancy will go to term when the body is ready. And just because you have had 1 or even 3 miscarriages, many women who have been in your situation, have succeeded and delivered happy and healthy babies.
So the following are risk factors that MAY increase your chances of a miscarriage so obviously, make changes in your lifestyle where and if you can, but do not go thinking that if one of these apply to you, you WILL have a miscarriage.
I think AGE is the perfect example and PROOF that it is only a risk factor and not a determinant.
Today, the average age of women having their first child is 28 years old and that is because more and more women are having children in their 30s, rather than in their 20s. (1)
And as age increases, the chances of a miscarriage are higher and in many cases, once the women is older than 37 years old, they are considered a HIGH-RISK pregnancy.
I can say that just in my surroundings, I know MANY women who had children after 37 and I have one sister-in-law that had one at 43. My grandmother had my uncle at 48!
Now I am hoping I will be giving birth to my first child at age 38:)
There is evidence to show that these health issues, may increase the chance of a miscarriage:
- Thyroid issues
- APS or Hughs Syndrome – which is a sticky blood syndrome that causes blood clots in blood vessels. APS is treatable.
- Lupus – is an autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy tissues in the body.
- Abnormalities of the uterus
- Infections such as listeriosis and toxoplasmisis
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Hormone conditions or irregularities such as PCOS
- Uterine abnormalities
- Incompetent cervix
- Severe kidney disease
- Congenitial heart disease
- Certain medicines, such as the acne drug isotretinoin (Accutane®)
**Make sure you discuss all the medications you are taking when you see your doctor for the first time.**
I made that mistake. I was so surprised and overwhelmed when I had my first ultrasound that I neglected to discuss medications. I have to admit though, that because I am not taking a typical oral medication, it didn’t even occur to me to ask. I didn’t mention that I use Rogaine on my scalp for hair loss. This has an active medicine called minoxidil.
I did my own research yesterday and the effects for this are unknown on humans, but on animals, it can cause fetus abnormalities!! I was so shocked and happy that I even thought of checking.
So ASK ASK ASK!!!
Each day, my list of questions is getting longer and I am writing them all down so I do not forget!
There is NO EVIDENCE that stress causes a miscarriage.
1.Heavy drinking or smoking
A study linked paternal factors with the health of a pregnancy and it was found that even smoking in fathers has been linked to genetic changes in the baby, though it’s not so clear whether this has long-term consequences for the child. (2)
2. Taking drugs such as cocaine
3.Drinking TOO MUCH caffiene.
Many studies have shown the link between high levels of caffiene and pregnancy.
But a new study found that caffeine consumption not just in the mother, but in a father as well, affects a woman’s odds of miscarriage and may affect the viability of the pregnancy. (3)
4.Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents.
5. Severe malnutrition
There is NO EVIDENCE that SEX or PHYSICAL EXERCISE causes a miscarriage.
Symptoms After A Miscarriage
Spotting and mild discomfort are common symptoms after a miscarriage.
If you have heavy bleeding, chills, a fever or pain you may have an infection and it is important you go to a doctor immediately.
Be Vigilant But Not Over Consumed
So did I look up all this information to get me even more stressed? You would think so right? I mean, I have age and hormonal irregularities (PCOS) playing against me. But these SAME factors were supposed to prevent me from getting pregnant naturally.
How many times have you heard about a couple who DID EVERYTHING to get pregnant? Counted their ovulation cycle, measured their basal body temperature and went through fertility testing (I fall in this latter category) and no pregnancy. Then they give up…and VOILA a pregnancy happens.
I have also heard of women who continue to drink alcohol or smoke, and have no pregnancy issues and deliver a healthy baby. While the mom who follows everything BY THE BOOK, has a miscarriage.
I guess I am also giving myself a pep talk here as I end this article. We can not interfere with nature and what is meant to happen. I am not encouraging you to not make the proper life style adjustments that can be risk factors!! I am only having 1 cup of coffee a day instead of my usual 3, and I am not drinking red wine, when I typically have 1 glass an evening.
You need to do what your comfortable with. For example, there is NO EVIDENCE that physical excercise, including running can cause a miscarriage. But I have family and friends giving me their own piece of advice that I should NOT run. At the end of the day, it is my decision and I need to understand what the consequences may be. I have decided to still do physical exercise because in fact, it is encouraged to do so and it makes me happy. It has been a part of me since my teens. I have decided that for the 1st trimester, I will not run and only do no impact cardio such as cycling. For me, this felt like a fair compromise and safe for the baby and myself.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to my next appointment, in 1 week, to see how the pregnancy is going and to feel reassured. In the meantime, I won’t be pressing the emergency button if there is nothing out of the ordinary!
Thanks for tuning in ladies and I hope this was informative.
Send me comments and messages below please:)