When it comes to miscarriage, symptoms are essential red flags to look for. It's very reasonable for women who just get pregnant to avoid even thinking about such a misfortune...
At most, they 'knock on wood' so that everything turns out well. The problem, though, is that miscarriages are more common than people imagine: 30 percent of pregnant women lose their children-to-be even before realising that they have a baby on the way, while around 15 percent experience it after confirming their future-mum condition.
Professionals describe miscarriage as the loss of a baby or the spontaneous abortion of an embryo or foetus before it can survive out of the womb, generally before 20 to 23 weeks pregnant. After all, getting pregnant is a complex process, full of many details that must fall into place. The fertilisation of the egg by sperm, the cell division, the implantation into the uterus... there's a long list of steps that can't be missed out to achieve a successful pregnancy, and that's why miscarriage can strike at any moment during the first trimester and why you need to be aware of which are the miscarriage symptoms.
Are you worried? Don't be! Our goal isn't for you to get all panicky, but to understand that, unfortunately, miscarriages are a pretty common reality and that there are many ways to detect them. How? Keep reading this post to have all the information about miscarriage symptoms.
What causes miscarriage?
Miscarriages can occur due to many factors, which range from chromosomal anomalies in the growing foetus to certain conditions you may have. Precisely, pregnant women are at a higher risk of losing their babies when they conceive at an advanced age, are underweight or overweight, have diabetes or high blood pressure or have been exposed to toxic agents and radiation. Also, miscarriage is associated with not having a healthy lifestyle, like smoking and drinking too much or doing illegal drugs. Hormonal problems are pointed out as a common miscarriage cause as well.
What are the miscarriage symptoms?
The signs of miscarriage can be confusing, at least in the beginning, since the first trimester of pregnancy comes with many physical changes. Sometimes, it takes too long for women to realise that they are losing their babies, and that's why it's important to know what may be going on. Generally, there are four usual miscarriage symptoms to watch out for:
- Bleeding: typically, bleeding or vaginal discharge is the main of the miscarriage symptoms, but at the same time, it can be tricky. Indeed, roughly 30 percent of expectant mums will experience bleeding or spotting at some point of their pregnancies, especially when implantation takes place (implantation bleeding) and when the hormones in charge of the menstrual cycle trigger what's known as breakthrough bleeding. Then, how can you distinguish such a light bleeding from a miscarriage? Well, if the bleeding is more severe than the one you normally have during your period or if it's coagulated and accompanied by tissue. And we can't forget about bleeding caused by ectopic pregnancies, another spontaneous abortion that happens when the embryo develops outside the uterus. Anyway, whenever you bleed during pregnancy, you should talk to your practitioner about it.
- Cramping and pain: Among miscarriage symptoms, pain is another of the leading ones. It can hit you in the abdomen and pelvic area, but it's more common in the lower back. Just so you know better, the cramping feels period-like, but it's usually more intense and persistent than that. Keep in mind that it's normal to suffer from lower back pain during the first pregnancy weeks, because of your expanding uterus, but such cramps aren't as bad as the ones that announce miscarriage.
- Absence of embryo or foetal activity: the lack or decreased activity of the embryo, during the first weeks, or the foetus, later on, is also one of the miscarriage symptoms and can also mean the end of the pregnancy. Some natural miscarriages are confirmed via ultrasound after the mother has shown symptoms of miscarriage like bleeding or pain, while others are detected during such tests (in this case, because the doctor perceives that the foetal development has stopped or there's no heartbeat). You can also worry if you notice a drastic change in your baby's activity or, directly, the lack of it.
- No pregnancy symptoms: you should smell a rat as well when there's a sudden change in your pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness. That could be a synonym of a decrease in pregnancy hormones, which could imply that pregnancy is over. A blood test can clear up any doubts about it.
Not only is miscarriage sad and painful, but it can also be very dangerous under certain circumstances. For example, if you happen to have an ectopic pregnancy, mentioned earlier. An ectopic pregnancy can cause internal bleeding and put your life at risk, so you need to be aware of its symptoms. These include light vaginal bleeding, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, often located in one side, along with shoulder pain, weakness and light-headed feeling. If you experience any of such symptoms, go to the hospital right away.
As said at the beginning of the text, miscarriage symptoms are sneaky. It's very good to know them, but even if you do, you will always need to seek medical help in order to check whether your worst prediction is true. Hopefully, your miscarriage signs will turn out to be just pregnancy symptoms! And if the worst happens, don't hesitate to ask for help. A miscarriage is none other than a loss, and coping with it is not an easy thing to do.