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Miscarriage Management  

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If you think you are having or may have had a miscarriage, it is important to make an appointment as soon as possible. 

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Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The embryo or fetus cannot live on its own outside the uterus that early in pregnancy. The medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion.  

Miscarriages are common. For every ten pregnancies, 1 to 2 end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is most likely to happen early in pregnancy — in fact, 8 out of 10 miscarriages happen in the first three months of pregnancy.  

What Causes Miscarriage?  

If you’ve had a miscarriage, you’ve probably wondered why it happened. Some individuals even blame themselves for miscarriage. But miscarriage is rarely caused by something the pregnant person did. Having sex, exercise, a mild fall, and most medications do not cause miscarriage.  

It may be difficult for health care providers to know what caused a miscarriage. But we do know some things that make miscarriage more likely in general:  

  • The embryo or fetus has a chromosome that causes it to develop abnormally. This is not usually a sign of a condition that could cause problems in future pregnancies. It usually happens by chance when the fertilized egg divides and grows. This problem causes at least half of miscarriages.  

  • A person’s risk of miscarriage increases as they age.  

  • Severe chronic illness — poorly controlled diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus — can cause miscarriage.  

  • Severe trauma and serious infections can also cause miscarriage.  

  • Abnormalities in the uterus, like scar tissue or uterine fibroids, can cause late miscarriages — after three months.  

  • Smoking, the use of alcohol or cocaine, and heavy caffeine have ties to miscarriage.  

  • Individuals who are underweight or overweight have a greater risk of miscarriage than others.  

  • People who have had two or more miscarriages in a row are at a greater risk of future miscarriages.  

Signs of a miscarriage may include:  

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting  

  • Severe abdominal pain  

  • Severe cramping  

  • Dull, lower-back ache, pressure, or pain  

  • A change in vaginal discharge  

What Can I Expect During Miscarriage?  

None

Cramping

Not all miscarriages cause physical pain. But most individuals have some cramping. For some people, the cramping can be quite strong.   

None

Bleeding

Some also have bleeding and may pass large blood clots. Many women are surprised and scared by the heavy bleeding that can occur during a miscarriage.  

Duration

The bleeding and cramping can last for a brief time or several hours. 

What does Miscarriage Management care look like? 

  • Your health care provider can give you medicine and advice about managing the pain and cramps during your miscarriage and guidance about what you can expect.   

  • Your health care provider will perform an ultrasound to ensure all tissue has naturally exited the uterus.   

  • You may need further treatment to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage.   

  • Pelvic exam or other tests