A Miscarriage: Understanding the Loss of a Pregnancy

Posted on: 2023-02-03 14:58:02
Miscarriage, Child Help Foundation

A pregnancy loss, commonly referred to as a miscarriage, can be a devastating and emotional experience for expectant parents. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 10-25% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Despite its frequency, many people still struggle to understand what a miscarriage is, what causes it, and how to cope with the loss.

What is a Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is defined as the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. This can result in the termination of the pregnancy, and the loss of the fetus. In some cases, the body naturally expels the pregnancy, while in others, a surgical procedure is required. Miscarriage is a common phenomenon, especially in India, as observed in recent times. Miscarriage is also known as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. In India according to statistics 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriages. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy before you might even know about a pregnancy. According to studies, the chance of miscarriage is 12 percent to 15 percent for women in their twenties and jumps to around 25 percent for women in their forties.

Causes of Miscarriage: Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn't developing as expected. About 50 percent of miscarriages are associated with extra or missing chromosomes. Most often, chromosome problems result from errors that occur by chance as the embryo divides and grows — not problems inherited from the parents. There are several factors that can contribute to pregnancy loss, including:

  1. Genetic issues: Abnormalities in the fetus's genetic material can cause a miscarriage.
  2. Hormonal imbalances: Changes in hormone levels can disrupt pregnancy.
  3. Structural problems with the uterus: Issues with the shape or structure of the uterus can prevent the fetus from growing and developing properly.
  4. Infections: Certain infections can cause a miscarriage.
  5. Advanced maternal age: Women over the age of 35 are at a higher risk of experiencing a miscarriage.
  6. Lifestyle factors: Substance abuse, smoking, and excessive drinking can all increase the risk of a miscarriage.

Preventing a Miscarriage: Often, there's nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage. Simply focus on taking good care of yourself and your baby. While not all miscarriages can be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. These include:

  1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful substances can all help to reduce the risk of a miscarriage.
  2. Managing stress: Stress can disrupt hormone levels and increase the risk of a miscarriage.
  3. Receiving regular prenatal care: Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help to identify and address any potential problems early on.
  4. Avoiding exposure to harmful substances: Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins can increase the risk of a miscarriage.

Miscarriage is not a failure

Coping with a Miscarriage

The loss of a pregnancy can be a difficult and emotional experience. It is important to seek support from loved ones, friends, and a mental health professional if needed. Remember that it is okay to grieve and take the time you need to heal. Sharing and comparing experiences with other women who have been through the same thing is often reassuring. You may be surprised to find out how many women have experienced miscarriages. Joining a support group may help. If your feelings start to interfere with your ability to get along in daily life, or if your sadness doesn’t lessen after a couple of months, talk with your healthcare provider. You might benefit from a referral to a mental health counselor or therapist.

In conclusion, a miscarriage is a common experience for many expectant parents, and it is important to understand what a miscarriage is, what causes it, and how to cope with the loss. By taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, manage stress, and receive regular prenatal care, it is possible to reduce the risk of a miscarriage. If you experience a pregnancy loss, remember to seek support and take the time you need to heal.