Miscarriage is the loss of your baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy. As many as 1 in 4 confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage and many women will miscarry without having realised they are even pregnant. It usually occurs for reasons outside your control and there is nothing that could have been done to prevent it. Whilst most people never find out the cause of their miscarriage, it is known that miscarriages often occur because the baby fails to develop properly due to spontaneous chromosomal abnormalities (not inherited).
Experiences of miscarriage vary between women and is dependent on the stage of pregnancy. The most common signs of miscarriage are stomach cramping and vaginal bleeding. If you are concerned that you are having a miscarriage you will need to see your doctor or attend your local hospital emergency department.
Types of miscarriage;
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo attaches outside the uterus, most often in the Fallopian tubes. For many women, you will not know you have an ectopic pregnancy until symptoms occur. Common symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include vaginal bleeding, lower abdominal pain, vomiting or pain in the top of one shoulder. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention urgently.
A molar pregnancy is a type of pregnancy where a baby does not develop and can be either complete or partial.
In a complete molar pregnancy, the fetus does not develop at all. It usually occurs when an egg that does not contain any genetic information is fertilised by a sperm.
In a partial molar pregnancy, a fetus can develop but will display abnormalities meaning it cannot survive. A partial molar pregnancy develops when a normal egg is fertilised by 2 sperm.
A molar pregnancy will usually be removed surgically in hospital where a gynaecologist will remove the tissue from the womb vaginally.
A blighted ovum is when a gestational sac develops but there is no baby inside. It usually occurs after an embryo is conceived but fails to develop and is reabsorbed into the uterus early in the pregnancy. A blighted ovum is usually discovered during an ultrasound and you will need to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
For more information and support services;
Pregnancy Birth & Baby – Miscarriage
The Royal Women’s Hospital – Miscarriage
Sands miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support – Miscarriage
Bears of Hope – Pregnancy and infant loss support