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Miscarriages unfortunately happen more often than we might think. Here's what you need to know.
Saying the word "miscarriage" can feel somewhat awkward. You are unsure if it’s something you can openly talk about, or a topic you should avoid entirely because it’s so personal.
However, miscarriages happen more often than we might think. It’s estimated that nearly 30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 8-15% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Many women feel the need to hide what they’ve gone through because society makes it seem like miscarriages are uncommon and shameful. So, let’s break through the stigma once and for all.
A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. During a miscarriage, someone might experience bleeding from the vagina, pain or cramping in the pelvic area, and fluid or tissue passing from the vagina.
A miscarriage can be a painful emotional and physical experience. If you’re going through or have gone through a miscarriage, it’s crucial to not blame yourself and make the experience even more challenging. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus is not developing correctly—not because of anything to do with the mother—and it’s possible to conceive after miscarriage.
“When I reflect on my experience with miscarriage, I feel very isolated,” Jo, an Oova community member, says. “There are so many women who go through miscarriages, but they’re hesitant to open up about it. This leaves too many women feeling alone. By coming together, they can support each other. Life is better when we journey together.”
There are two different types of miscarriages, depending on when they happen during the pregnancy.
An early miscarriage is defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 13 completed weeks. Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities often cause early miscarriages. For example, if there are too many or too few chromosomes when the egg and sperm fuse, the embryo will not survive.
A late miscarriage happens after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy but before 24 weeks. Late miscarriages are typically caused by a fetal abnormality or a problem with the baby’s development. Other causes include cervical insufficiency, congenital disabilities, placental problems, infections, and trauma.
If a baby dies at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy, it is no longer considered a miscarriage but a stillbirth.
The most common reason miscarriages happen is because of chromosomal abnormalities; however, maternal health conditions can also have an impact on the risk of miscarriage.
About 50 percent of miscarriages are associated with extra or missing chromosomes. Chromosomal problems often lead to:
A mother’s health condition may lead to a miscarriage in a few rare cases. These often include:
There is no one predictor in miscarriage, but a mother’s health conditions can affect whether miscarriage occurs. Maternal age, for example, can be an important predictor. In women ages 20 to 30, their risk of miscarriage is 8.9%; this risk is 74.7% for women over 40.
Maternal comorbidities and lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of miscarriage, including:
There are many unexplained causes of miscarriages. Here are some things that do not cause miscarriages:
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent most miscarriages. The factors that cause miscarriages are often unavoidable, so there is not much that women can do to avoid them. All you can do is lead a healthy lifestyle before, during, and after conception.
Yes, it’s possible to conceive after having a miscarriage. However, it’s important to note that people who have already gone through miscarriage may be at higher risk to have another.
The risk of miscarriage in future pregnancy is 20% of one miscarriage, 28% after two consecutive miscarriages, and 43% after three or more consecutive miscarriages.
Miscarriages are common. About 8-15% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and it’s assumed the percentage of total miscarriages is much higher, around 30%.
Miscarriages happen most often because of chromosomal abnormalities, but sometimes maternal health conditions can be a factor in your risk of miscarriage. The best thing you can do is lead a healthy lifestyle and not lose hope if you’ve gone through a miscarriage yourself. It does not mean you will have a second miscarriage or have trouble conceiving again.
You’re doing the best you can, so be kind to yourself.
Jill Blakeway, a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist, clinical herbalist, and founder of the Yinova Center shares how taking a holistic health approach to fertility can help you gain control of your reproductive health.
Cramping unfortunately doesn’t end even if your period does. Here’s how to get relief.
Sometimes you may experience cycles where you bleed but don’t ovulate. This can make it tough to know whether or not you’re ovulating regularly. Here’s how to tell if you didn’t ovulate, even when you get a period.