Miscarriage is defined as any pregnancy loss prior to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is very common, affecting approximately one in six pregnancies.
One in every four women will experience a miscarriage at some point in her reproductive life. The chance of having a miscarriage increases with a woman’s age.
The most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities where the chromosomes simply do not duplicate correctly.
Rarely is a medical problem or any type of activity thought to be the cause for a miscarriage.
People often blame miscarriages on the following factors:
- Heavy lifting
- A blow to the stomach
- Poor eating habits
- Drinking before you knew you were pregnant
- The baby “knowing” it was unwanted
- Car accidents
Though these are sometimes situations that should be avoided because they could affect the health of the mother or a later-term pregnancy, these are NOT common causes for miscarriage.
The risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced, to less than 4%, after a heartbeat is heard or identified on ultrasound. When fetal heart motion is seen a pregnancy is considered viable or more likely to continue to develop.
Typically the earliest an ultrasound can detect the developing fetus and a heartbeat is around 6 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period.
Recurrent miscarriage is considered to be three or more and will affect 1% of women who conceive. About 60-75% of women who have had recurrent miscarriages will have a successful pregnancy.
There is often a sense of loss and disappointment associated with pregnancy loss but it is reassuring to know that the chances of having a successful pregnancy after a miscarriage are very good.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.