What happens during a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of the baby during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy and is one of the most common pregnancy related issues. There are several types of miscarriage:
You may experience vaginal bleeding and mild cramps but your cervix remains closed, the bleeding stops and your pregnancy continues as usual. Half of threatened miscarriages result in inevitable miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
This is where you have increased bleeding and your cervix opens. In the event of an inevitable miscarriage, there is no chance for your pregnancy to continue.
Some pregnancy tissue exits your uterus and some remains. You would need a follow up appointment with Dr Sharon Li to remove the remaining pregnancy tissue.
This is where all the pregnancy tissue exits your uterus. You usually need a follow up appointment with Dr Sharon Li.
In the event of a missed miscarriage, you will not experience bleeding or cramps. However, an ultrasound will show an embryo without a heartbeat or an empty pregnancy sac that does not contain an embryo. The tissue will usually pass on its own though you may need a follow up appointment with Dr Sharon Li.
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is a complication of pregnancy in which the pregnancy implants outside the uterine cavity, usually in the fallopian tube. With very rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable. Furthermore, they are dangerous for the mother, internal bleeding being a common complication. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube (so-called tubal pregnancies), but implantation can also occur in the cervix, ovaries, and abdomen.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms – one sided abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, shoulder tip pain, diarrhoea or vomiting. An ectopic pregnancy is a potential medical emergency, and, if not treated properly, can lead to death.
How does an ectopic pregnancy happen?
In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg enters the uterus and settles into the uterine lining where it has plenty of room to divide and grow. About 1% of pregnancies are in an ectopic location with implantation not occurring inside of the womb, and of these 98% occur in the Fallopian tubes.
Detection of ectopic pregnancy in early gestation has been achieved mainly due to enhanced diagnostic capability. Despite all these notable successes in diagnostics and detection techniques ectopic pregnancy remains a source of serious maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in countries with poor prenatal care.
In a typical ectopic pregnancy, the embryo adheres to the lining of the fallopian tube and burrows into the tubal lining. Most commonly this invades vessels and will cause bleeding. Sometimes the bleeding might be heavy enough to threaten the health or life of the woman. Usually this degree of bleeding is due to delay in diagnosis, but sometimes, especially if the implantation is in the proximal tube (just before it enters the uterus).
The advent of methotrexate treatment for ectopic pregnancy has reduced the need for surgery; however, surgical intervention is still required in cases where the Fallopian tube has ruptured or is in danger of doing so. This intervention may be laparoscopic or through a larger incision, known as a laparotomy.
It is very rare that you did something to have caused your miscarriage. There is a common myth that moderate exercise can cause miscarriage, however, there is simply no evidence to prove this, in fact, exercise is said to be healthy and beneficial for pregnancy. There is also no evidence to prove that lifting heavy objects can cause a miscarriage.
Another common myth is that if you have had an abortion in the past, your chances of miscarriage are higher, however, having had one or two procedures in the past should not affect your ability to carry a baby to term.
There is also myth that exists which states that if you were previously taking birth control pills prior to trying for a baby, your chances of not carrying full term increase. This is false, having taken a daily birth control pill has shown to have no effect on a developing embryo.
An old wives tale suggests that stress can be the cause of miscarriage, however recent studies have shown that there is no increased risk of pregnancy loss in women who experience stress in the early stages of pregnancy.
What to do after a miscarriage
The truth is that miscarriages are sometimes caused by medical factors such as abnormal uterine structure or congenital anomalies. Though often, miscarriages have no clear cause.
Use a sanitary towel or a tampon to deal with any bleeding and be sure to shower twice a day to regulate your temperature. Many women experience headaches after a miscarriage and using a hot and cold compress can help ease this pain along with any cramps you may be experiencing.
Although visiting Dr Sharon Li after experiencing a miscarriage is not always necessary, it can be beneficial as she will be able to confirm that a miscarriage has in fact occurred (not all signs of a miscarriage mean that one has actually occurred) and also to make sure you can get all the support you need for recovery. She can also help you with trying to fall pregnant again.
Miscarriage Support Brisbane
Dr Sharon Li understands that this can be an upsetting time and supports and comforts her patients in the best way possible. To book a consultation with Dr Sharon Li, click here.