A miscarriage, also known as pregnancy loss, is the natural death of an embryo or foetus before it is able to survive independently (generally as late as 20-24 weeks of pregnancy).
The most common symptoms are vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal pain. About 80% of miscarriage occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and the underlying cause is usually chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus.
Certain factors raise the risk of miscarriage, including:
- Older parent
- Previous miscarriage
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
- Thyroid problems
- Endocrine disorders
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Drug or alcohol use
- Anatomical defects of the uterus
- Medications, including retinoid, NSAIDS (ibuprofen), misoprostol, and methotrexate
Some women experience recurrent miscarriages, which are multiple consecutive miscarriages.
Miscarriage may be complete or incomplete, which means some tissue remains in the uterus. Treatment will depend on the amount of tissue remaining in the uterus, which may need to be removed surgically or medically.