Warning Signs of Miscarriage

Some of the warning signs of miscarriage can also happen in perfectly normal and healthy pregnancies. Light blood spotting, for example, is a common occurrence in pregnancy when implantation takes place. Do take any symptoms seriously and contact your provider as soon as they occur, but keep in mind that the appearance of blood spots or minor cramping doesn't guarantee miscarriage.

Signs and symptoms of miscarriage may include:

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding

  • Abdominal cramping

  • Low back pain

  • High fever

  • Extreme nausea and vomiting that's sudden and unusual

  • Amniotic fluid leakage

  • Severe headache

Some women panic when they experience a sudden improvement in previously troublesome pregnancy symptoms. Remember that this is a common phenomenon toward the end of the first trimester as hormone levels start to balance out. If you're still concerned or something just doesn't feel quite right, call your provider to schedule a quick appointment for a listen to the fetal heartbeat. Most will be happy to comply to ease your mind.

Coping with Loss

It doesn't take long to fall hopelessly in love with your unborn child, to dream about your future together, and to start making a special place within your family for him or her. “Love at first thought” is perhaps the most accurate way to describe how many moms and dads feel about it.

That is what makes pregnancy loss so difficult at any point in the process. You may hear insensitive comments like, “Well, at least you were only a few weeks along” that are meant to be sympathetic but only serve to minimize the very real grief you are experiencing. Give yourself adequate time to mourn and to deal with the feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, and depression. Talk to your doctor about a referral to a pregnancy loss support group or to a one-on-one counselor or therapist. You may also want to visit the Hygeia Foundation for Perinatal Loss, Inc. for online support and information.

It's extremely important to take care of yourself during this difficult time. If you hadn't yet told anyone about the pregnancy at the point miscarriage occurred, it may be tougher to find enough time to reflect and grieve. Allow yourself to take a few sick or personal days off of work to spend healing time with your significant other and family. Don't rush things.

Trying Again

When to try again is a delicate issue. You need to be ready both emotionally and physically. Make sure you have had time to grieve your loss, and consult with your provider about the causes behind your first miscarriage. Your provider might recommend that you wait for a period to allow your body time to recover. If you do want to try again immediately, make sure you express your wishes so you both can prepare properly for the next time around.

Most miscarriages occur due to factors completely beyond anyone's control — a defective egg or sperm, implantation outside the endometrium. Other triggers, such as teratogen exposure, may be avoided with special precautions in pregnancy. Definitely speak with your health care provider about your concerns and any special instructions given your medical history (for example, activity restrictions).

If you've experienced repeated miscarriage, considered clinically to be three consecutive pregnancy losses before week 20, further investigation is in order before attempting another pregnancy. The cause can sometimes be determined by a pathological examination of the miscarried fetus or embryo. A meeting with a genetic counselor, and a full preconception diagnostic workup to examine your fallopian tubes, uterus, and other possible sites of a problem may also be recommended.

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  4. Warning Signs of Miscarriage
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