Experiencing a miscarriage can leave you feeling sad, overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. Here’s a start to finding out more about the basics.
What is miscarriage?
Sadly, miscarriages are a common occurrence, with one in six pregnancies ending before week 20. This is little consolation when you have lost a baby through miscarriage, and you may want to find out why it occurred to see if you can reduce the risk of it happening again.
Some women will experience more than one consecutive miscarriage. The term recurrent miscarriage is used when women experience three or more consecutive early pregnancy losses (2 in 100 women).
Missed miscarriage (also called ‘delayed’ or ‘silent’ miscarriage)
This is where the baby has died or failed to develop but is still in your uterus. You might have had no idea that anything was wrong until a routine scan. You may still feel pregnant or your pregnancy symptoms may have subsided.
Blighted ovum (also called ‘missed’ or ‘delayed’ miscarriage)
This is where an ultrasound scan shows a pregnancy sac with nothing inside. This is usually because the fertilised egg hasn’t developed normally so the pregnancy sac grows but the baby doesn’t. Sometimes the baby stops developing at such an early stage that it is absorbed back into the surrounding tissue.
This is where some but not all of the pregnancy tissue is miscarried. You may have pain and heavy bleeding that does not subside. In some instances a D&C will be required to remove the remaining pregnancy tissue.
Sometimes you may get some bleeding that settles down within a day or so and the pregnancy then continues as normal. This is known as a threatened miscarriage. Normally it is wise to take it easy and perhaps have a scan to see if there was a cause such as a sub-chorionic hematoma.