You may have heard the term “miscarriage” before, but perhaps not understood exactly what it means. How common is it? How do you know if it’s happening to you?
A miscarriage occurs when a pregnancy ends on its own during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, many times before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Why does this happen? Medical experts aren’t sure why exactly the pregnancy fails, but it is almost never caused by anything the woman did. Most likely, experts believe, miscarriage occurs because the chromosomes (the genetic makeup of the embryo) do not develop correctly.
Miscarriages happen more often than you may think. According to the American Pregnancy Association, miscarriages occur in 10-25% of all pregnancies. These are common symptoms of miscarriage:
- Mild to severe back pain (usually worse than menstrual cramps)
- Weight loss
- White-pink mucus
- True contractions (very painful) every 5-20 minutes
- Brown or bright red bleeding with or without cramps (20-30% of all pregnancies can experience some bleeding in early pregnancy, with about 50% of those continuing in normal pregnancies)
- Tissue with clot-like material passing from the vagina
- Sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy, such as fatigue, nausea, and tender breasts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. It is important to get checked by a doctor to confirm that you are indeed experiencing a miscarriage and learn how you can recover.