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Pregnancy and Miscarriage

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How Is a Miscarriage Diagnosed and Treated? continued...

If a miscarriage was not confirmed, but you had symptoms of a miscarriage, bed rest may be prescribed for several days, and you may be admitted to the hospital overnight for observation. 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 repeated miscarriage). Some diagnostic procedures used to evaluate the cause of repeated miscarriage include endometrial biopsy (a procedure involving the removal of a small amount of tissue from the lining of the uterus for study under a microscope), hysterosalpingogram (an X-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes), 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), and laparoscopy (a surgical procedure in which the doctor views the pelvic organs with a lighted device).

How Do I Know if I Had a Miscarriage?

Bleeding and mild discomfort are common symptoms after a miscarriage. If you have heavy bleeding, 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.

How Long Will I Have to Wait Before I Can Try Again?

Discuss the timing of your next pregnancy with your health care provider. Some health care providers recommend waiting a certain amount of time (from one menstrual cycle to 3 months) before trying to conceive again. To prevent another miscarriage, your health care provider may recommend treatment with progesterone, a hormone needed for implantation in the uterus.

Taking time to heal both physically and emotionally after a miscarriage is important. Above all, don't blame yourself for the miscarriage. Counseling is available to help you cope with your loss. Pregnancy loss support groups may also be a valuable resource to you and your partner. Ask your health care provider for more information about these resources.

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