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Pregnancy and Miscarriage

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How Is a Miscarriage Diagnosed and Treated?

Your health care provider will perform a pelvic exam, an ultrasound test and bloodwork to confirm a miscarriage. If the miscarriage is complete and the uterus is empty, then no further treatment is usually required. Occasionally, the uterus is not completely emptied, so a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure is performed. During this procedure, the cervix is dilated and any remaining fetal or placental tissue is gently removed from the uterus. As an alternative to a D&C, certain medications can be given to cause your body to expel the contents in the uterus. This option may be more ideal in someone who wants to avoid surgery and whose condition is otherwise stable.

Blood work to determine the amount of a pregnancy hormone (hCG) is checked to monitor the progress of the miscarriage.

When the bleeding stops, usually you will be able to continue with your normal activities. If the cervix is dilated, you may be diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and a procedure to close the cervix (called cerclage) may be performed if the pregnancy is still viable. If your blood type is Rh negative, your doctor may give you a blood product called Rh immune globulin (Rhogam). This prevents you from developing antibodies that could harm your baby as well as any of your future pregnancies.

Blood tests, genetic tests, or medication may be necessary if a woman has more than two miscarriages in a row (called recurrent miscarriage). Some diagnostic procedures used to evaluate the cause of repeated miscarriage include pelvic ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram (an X-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes), and hysteroscopy (a test in which the doctor views the inside of the uterus with a thin, telescope-like device inserted through the vagina and cervix).

 

How Do I Know if I Had a Miscarriage?

Bleeding and mild discomfort are common symptoms after a miscarriage. If you have heavy bleeding with fever, chills, or pain, contact your health care provider right away. These may be signs of an infection.

Can I Get Pregnant Following a Miscarriage?

Yes. At least 85% of women who have miscarriages have subsequent normal pregnancies and births. Having a miscarriage does not necessarily mean you have a fertility problem. On the other hand, about 1%-2% of women may have repeated miscarriages (three or more). Some researchers believe this is related to an autoimmune response.

If you've had two miscarriages in a row, you should stop trying to conceive, use a form of birth control, and ask your health care provider to perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the miscarriages.

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