A miscarriage is when a developing fetus is lost, usually before week 20 of a pregnancy. Many miscarriages in the early stages are due to the improper development of the fetus and other causes. If you are wondering about late miscarriage – causes, symptoms and recovery, here is a closer look. Miscarriages are difficult and especially emotionally and physically devastating if it is close to the due date.
What are some of the causes for a late miscarriage?
Many factors play a role. The most common is fetal abnormality caused due to genetics or structural problems like a heart defect or the presence of an abnormal chromosome. Physical factors which can cause late miscarriages include a weak cervix which is unable to hold the fetus, the expectant mother suffering chronic health conditions, high blood pressure, thyroid-related issues, immune system disorders like lupus, preeclampsia, infections and diabetes to name a few.
What symptoms indicate a late miscarriage?
Some women may not experience any symptoms before miscarrying. Some of the common symptoms to look for include:
- A still fetus
- Pain or cramps in the abdomen and/or the back
- Passing of unusual fluid and tissue via the vagina
Spotting is not always a symptom of a miscarriage and there is no need to panic. Some women may experience spotting in the first trimester, and it is nothing to worry about. In case of doubt, do contact your doctor to figure out what is going on.
Risk factors that contribute to a miscarriage
Not all miscarriages have a cause, but these can be foreseen. And some women are more likely to miscarry than others. Some of the risk factors are:
- Two or more consecutive miscarriages
- Persistent medical problems
- Pregnancy after age 35
- Weight problems – heavy or underweight
- An abnormal shape of the uterus
- Cervix which is weak
- Undergoing prenatal tests which are very invasive
- Exposure to cigarette smoke, cocaine, too much caffeine and alcohol
- Low levels of folate in the body
- Intestinal problems
Even though these are factors which indicate a high risk of miscarrying, it is possible to stay healthy during pregnancy. Seeing a doctor regularly and following their advice can help in having a health and full-term baby.
Physical recovery from a miscarriage:
Miscarriage is a physically and emotionally traumatic event. The body recovers fast after the miscarriage – this will depend on the stage of pregnancy too. For those who deliver after long labor, it takes a long time to heal. Cramps and bleeding akin to the period are quite common. Tiredness is another common symptom.
Consult your OB/GYN if the bleeding, pain and tiredness get worse over time. Some women experience lactation after the miscarriage, and it can be physically uncomfortable. Get some pain relievers and coping tips for this condition. Let your doctor advise you on when you can get back to work, with a reasonable and safe break.
Recovering emotionally from a miscarriage
This aspect of the recovery is just as important. Having a miscarriage at any point in the pregnancy is tough and it is more so in the case of a late miscarriage. Each woman experiences different emotions and copes differently. Some may talk about their experience while others may not. It is up to the individual to find therapy and support during this difficult time. Ask your doctor about support groups which specialize in this area.
It is quite common to feel angry, guilty, sad and even envy towards other women who are expecting or have had a baby. Not everyone will know how to deal with such an event and be prepared for some unintended but unkind remarks. Talking to someone who has been through a miscarriage can help you cope as they can guide you through the different steps.
To get or not to get pregnant after a miscarriage
Considering getting pregnant after a miscarriage can be stressful. Let your doctor guide you on the time you should wait before trying to have another baby. It is essential to be emotionally ready for both you and your partner. You will know when you are done grieving and ready to have another child.
Most women may have just one miscarriage in their life. It is rare for a woman to have 2 miscarriages. If you have doubts, talk to your doctor and undergo tests to find out if there are any underlying health problems. Your doctor is the best person, other than your family, who can help and support you every step of the way.