If you're like most pregnant women, you may worry about having a miscarriage. A miscarriage is the sudden loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. You may not know when you have a miscarriage because many happen before you even miss a period or know you're pregnant. Most happen before week 13, within the first trimester.
You usually cannot prevent a miscarriage. So if it happens, try not to heap guilt onto yourself -- you've done nothing to cause this.
Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage
Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage include:
- Vaginal bleeding that progresses from light to heavy
- Abdominal or back pain
These may be signs of something other than a miscarriage. To be safe, though, call your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms.
Signs of Infection
A miscarriage can also cause an infection. If you have any of the following signs of infection, contact your doctor right away. You may need to go to the doctor's office or to the emergency room.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
Diagnosing and Treating Miscarriage
Your doctor will confirm a miscarriage by performing a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. If the miscarriage is complete and your uterus is clear, you may not need more treatment.
If the uterus is not clear, you may need one of these treatments:
- Dilation and curettage (D & C). During this procedure, the doctor dilates your cervix to gently remove any remaining fetal or placental tissue from your uterus.
- Medication. As an alternative to a D & C, you may receive a medication, such as misoprostol, to cause your uterus to clear itself. The result will be like a period.
If you need treatment after a miscarriage, discuss with your doctor which option might be better for you. For example, treating a miscarriage with medicine is not an option if you have an infection.