Miscarriage Facts: Causes, Symptoms, Risks, Treatment, and Prevention

miscarriage prevention

Miscarriage Facts

When a pregnancy ends before 20 weeks, it’s called a miscarriage. After that point, a pregnancy loss is called a stillbirth. About 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but the chance of miscarriage decreases after the first trimester (around 13 weeks of pregnancy). 

By far the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalizations in the fetus. Other possible causes include:

  • infection
  • uterine or cervix abnormalities
  • thyroid disease
  • autoimmune issues
  • poorly managed diabetes
  • lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs. 

Some symptoms of a possible miscarriage are:

  • cramping or low abdominal pain, might feel like severe menstrual cramps
  • bleeding more than a little spotting
  • decrease in pregnancy symptoms
  • low back pain

If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your primary care provider immediately to see if you need to come in for an ultrasound. However, sadly, some people don’t feel any symptoms and only find out at a prenatal ultrasound that there is no fetal heartbeat.

If no fetal heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound, your provider will likely diagnose a miscarriage.  If you haven’t started already, you will likely start cramping and bleeding in the next few days. In many cases, the fetal tissue can be passed on its own. In other cases, the body might need the help of medication or surgery.

Your prenatal provider will advise you if you need a surgery to expel any remaining fetal tissue completely, called a dilation and curettage (D&C). Whichever path you take, all the fetal tissue must be passed or you may experience an infection.

After a Miscarriage

After a miscarriage, you may still experience some spotting and cramping. If you experience fever, chills, heavy bleeding, or intense pain, please contact your provider immediately, as you might have an infection. Your provider may order a blood test, called a beta hCG, to ensure that your pregnancy hormones are reducing appropriately. It can take a few weeks to more than a month for your body to recover from the miscarriage.

Recovering from the emotional upheaval of a miscarriage or stillbirth may take longer. Take all the time you need to work through the grief and loss. Reach out to trusted friends, an online support group, or a therapist. Don’t minimize your feelings, and do your best to feel them and work through them. It takes time – be gentle with yourself.

Trying to Conceive After a Miscarriage

When you’re ready to start trying to conceive again, check with your primary care provider. Most providers want patients to wait until they have had at least one regular menstrual period. There is a good chance of successful pregnancy following a miscarriage. That said, if you have experienced three miscarriages in a row, talk to your provider about getting further testing.

Acupuncture is a helpful tool to support a person through a miscarriage and recovery. It can reduce stress, regulate hormones, and improve pelvic blood circulation. We at Portland Acupuncture Studio have worked with many people experiencing pregnancy loss. We know how hard it can be to have a miscarriage and we have many tools that can help. Please email us to learn more. 

Contact us at Portland Acupuncture Studio to learn how we can help you get pregnant soon.

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.