Unfortunately, miscarriage cannot be prevented. Up to as many as 15-20% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage. The first sign is usually bleeding similar to menstruation. However, in early pregnancy, bleeding is common without indicating a problem. During a miscarriage, bleeding continues until the uterus has expelled the entire pregnancy.
The bleeding is often heavier than a regular period, and blood clots, also known as "clots," may be present. Sometimes tissue remnants can be observed. Many women also experience severe menstrual cramps during the bleeding. Emergency care is not necessary, and you can wait and contact your midwife/maternity care for advice. If a miscarriage is occurring or has already begun in the early part of your pregnancy, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to stop or prevent it. Most of the time, the body manages it on its own without the need for medical attention.
However, if, in addition to bleeding, you have severe abdominal pain in the lower part or on one side of the abdomen, or if you bleed and feel that your general condition is worsening, you should seek emergency care. Bleeding combined with pain on one side of the abdomen may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, where the egg has implanted outside the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). This can quickly become a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly, as the fallopian tube may rupture, causing significant bleeding inside the abdomen.
Missed abortion, also known as retained miscarriage, means that the miscarriage is delayed, and it takes time, sometimes several weeks, before the body expels the foetus. This is noticed by the onset of bleeding, or it may be discovered during an ultrasound examination. Often, pregnancy symptoms persist even though the foetus is no longer alive.
Causes of miscarriage
If bleeding leads to a miscarriage, the most common cause is that there was something wrong with the foetus, prompting the body to expel the pregnancy to start anew. Miscarriage can also result from an infection or an underlying medical condition that increases the risk of miscarriage. In most cases, the body expels the entire pregnancy on its own, but sometimes a procedure called scraping may be necessary to ensure the uterus is completely empty. Bleeding after a miscarriage should gradually decrease and then disappear completely.
If you experience repeated miscarriages, an investigation is usually conducted to try to determine if there is any cause for the miscarriages and if so, whether it can be addressed. If you have had one or more miscarriages before this pregnancy, increased anxiety is not uncommon and may persist until the baby is born and you can see with your own eyes that everything is going well.
Can I reduce the risk of miscarriage?
It's important to remember that you cannot cause a miscarriage by stressing, exercising, or lifting heavy objects. You also cannot induce a miscarriage by flying an airplane.
However, when you are expecting a child, there are things you can do to take care of yourself as best as you can, such as: - Eating a nutritious and varied diet - Exercising regularly - Resting when you are tired - Avoiding smoking, alcohol, or drug use - Being cautious with medications and consulting with your midwife or doctor if you need to take any medication - Taking extra folic acid, as it may have a protective effect and reduces the risk of malformations in the embryo
Source - Ajne, G., Blomberg, M. & Carlsson Y. (2021). Obstetrik. Studentlitteratur. - 1177.se