What is a Miscarriage?

Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is an event that results in the loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. It typically happens during the first trimester, or the first three months, of the pregnancy. It can happen for a variety of medical reasons, many of which aren’t within a person’s control. But knowing the risk factors, signs, and causes can help you to better understand the event and get any support or treatment you may need.

Signs of Miscarriage

  • Heavy spotting
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Discharge of tissue or fluid from your vagina
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Mild to severe back pain

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy.

Miscarriage Risks

Most miscarriages are due to natural and unpreventable causes. However, certain risk factors can increase your chances of having a miscarriage. These include:

  • Body trauma
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Smoking
  • Two or more consecutive miscarriages
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Chronic, uncontrolled conditions, like diabetes
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix


Types of Miscarriages

  1. Complete Miscarriages: All pregnancy tissues have been expelled from your body.
  2. Incomplete Miscarriages: You’ve passed some tissue or placental material, but some remain in your body.
  3. Missed Miscarriages: The embryo dies without your knowledge, and you don’t deliver it.
  4. Threatened Miscarriages: Bleeding and cramps point to a possible upcoming miscarriage.
  5. Inevitable Miscarriages: The presence of bleeding, cramping, and cervical dilation indicates that a miscarriage is inevitable.
  6. Septic Miscarriage: An infection has occurred within your uterus.

Prevention of Miscarriages

Not all miscarriages can be prevented. But you can take steps to help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Get regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
  2. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking while pregnant.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.
  4. Limit the amount of caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams per day.
  5. Take prenatal vitamins to help ensure that you and your developing fetus get enough nutrients.
  6. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

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