What is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is also called an unexpected abortion. When the abortion occurs during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is called a miscarriage. Miscarriage occurs when the foetus stops growing after some period, and the body tries to eliminate the foetus.
Miscarriages are common and can occur even before you know that you are pregnant. The causes of miscarriage can differ from one woman to another. The common causes are listed below.
- Alcohol overuse
- Clotting disorders
- Hormone problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Thyroid diseases
- Congenital heart diseases
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- Incompetent cervix
The cause of miscarriage can differ from one woman to another. The pain caused due to miscarriage can depend on the type. If a woman had a complete miscarriage at home, the pain could be severe when compared to a woman who had a surgical procedure.
When a miscarriage occurs, the symptoms can differ, and the woman can experience severe cramping. Most women have reported having some degree of cramping and bleeding.
Types of Infections cause miscarriage
There are certain infections that can cause miscarriage.
Rubella (German measles)
Rubella is also called as German measles. It is contagious and a viral disease. The symptoms of the disease include a rash, mild fever and sore throat. The rash starts on the face and can spread to other parts of the body.
If a pregnant woman is affected with rubella, it can lead to miscarriage or severe birth defects in the developing baby.
According to CDC, the best protection against rubella is vaccines. The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is effective against the virus and can protect pregnant women from getting infected.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that infects people of all ages. If a person is affected by the virus, they become carriers, and they will carry it for life.
The virus has the ability to re-activate and infect again with another strain of the virus. In most cases, people affected with CMV will be asymptomatic. They will not know that they are infected with the virus.
If a person is healthy and has a strong immune system, the cytomegalovirus will not cause any major infection, and the body will be able to fight the infection. But it can cause severe infection, passed from the mother to the baby.
It is one of the common infections that is passed from pregnant women to their babies. If a pregnant woman is affected with CMV, the virus can pass through the placenta and infect the baby.
In severe infection, the virus can lead to miscarriage of the baby. Currently, there is no cure for cytomegalovirus, but it can be treated. Symptoms of cytomegalovirus include
Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection that occurs in the vagina. The infection occurs when the bacteria outgrow the normal population. This can upset the natural balance of the bacteria.
Bacterial vaginosis can occur during the reproductive years of a woman. However, it can affect women of any age. The cause of bacterial vaginosis is not completely known. However, unprotected sex can be a major reason.
According to NCBI, bacterial vaginosis infection increases the risk of miscarriage, postpartum endometritis and pre-term labour.
The bacteria can affect the baby and also leads to low birth weight of the baby. This can bring about health problems for the baby in future.
HIV is a human immunodeficiency virus that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus remains dormant in the human body for years and weakens the immune system of the affected person. This leads to AIDS.
According to NCBI, less than 3% of pregnant women are infected with HIV. And about 60% of HIV detected women had a miscarriage
The infection can pass through the placenta and infect the foetus, which leads to miscarriage.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that affects both women. The infection is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. When the bacteria affect women, it can permanently damage their reproductive system. It can also lead to ectopic pregnancy.
Some of the common symptoms of Chlamydia are
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Pain in the pelvis and stomach
- Pain while urinating
Antibiotics are used to treat the infection and are usually prescribed in a large single dose. The other strong antibiotics will also be prescribed by your healthcare professional, depending on their health condition.
Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted disease. Infection with the virus can lead to termination of pregnancy, premature birth and low birth weight. However, these can occur if the infection is not treated, resulting in miscarriage.
The infection can also infect infants during labour. It passes through the placenta and affects the baby.
Syphilis is caused by bacteria that usually spreads through sexual contact. The infection occurs when a person comes in contact with sores or mucous membranes.
Pregnant women affected with syphilis can lead to stillbirth and miscarriage, and the infant can die within a few months after birth. If the mother is affected with syphilis, the infection can pass on to the baby.
Babies born with a congenital infection will have the following health conditions like
- Bone damage
- Enlarged liver and spleen
- Nerve problem
- Skin infection
- Problems related to deafness and blindness
Syphilis can be treated with an antibiotic course. The treatment usually starts 30 days before the delivery. In some cases, the treatment will start earlier. Pregnant women should be treated immediately to avoid passing the infection to the child. Additionally, their partners should also be treated to avoid women getting reinfected.
Malaria is a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. The parasites are usually transmitted through mosquito bites. If pregnant women get affected with malaria, it can affect both the mother and baby.
According to CDC, it can lead to maternal anaemia, stillbirth, miscarriage and low birth weight.
Effective treatment will be required to protect both mother and foetus from getting infected.
Parvovirus B19 (Fifth Disease)
Fifth disease is an illness caused by the virus called parvovirus B19. According to CDC, children are more prone to the infection when compared to adults. The incubation period for the virus is 14 days. It is also called as erythema infectiosum. The common symptoms of the infection include
The transmission of the infection usually occurs through respiratory secretions like sputum, saliva and nasal mucus.
Miscarriage can occur in pregnant women infected with the fifth disease. According to CDC, a miscarriage that occurs for women affected with the fifth disease is less than 5%. Miscarriage usually occurs during the first half of the pregnancy.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The infection occurs when people eat undercooked meat. The infection can transfer from an infected mother to the baby. The symptoms usually resemble the flu symptoms.
Some of the common symptoms include
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Skin rash.
Other Common Causes of Miscarriage
The common causes of miscarriage include
- Age (women aged above 35)
- Previous miscarriage
- Chronic condition
- Cervical problems
- Invasive prenatal test
Symptoms of Miscarriage
Most women experience miscarriage symptoms such as vaginal bleeding. The vaginal bleeding can vary from brownish discharge to heavy bleeding. During the heavy bleeding stage, bright red blood discharge can be seen.
However, in some cases, during the first trimester of pregnancy, there will be light vaginal bleeding. This does not mean that a woman has a miscarriage. It is always advised to contact your healthcare professional if you have vaginal bleeding.
Some of the common symptoms of miscarriage include
- Cramping and pain in the lower tummy
- Fluid discharge from the vagina
- Discharge of tissue from the vagina
- No longer symptoms of pregnancy like breast tenderness and a feeling of sickness.
Treatment of Miscarriage
If a woman experiences a miscarriage, the foetus should be removed first. If any parts of the baby are left in the womb, it can lead to infection, bleeding and other complications.
The healthcare professional will perform an ultrasound to ensure that all the parts are removed from the woman’s uterus. Additionally, there will be certain medications given to the woman.
Prevention of Infections During Pregnancy
Miscarriage can be prevented by safeguarding women from various infections. Malnutrition can also lead to malnutrition. So special care will be required for pregnant women. Additionally, if you are planning for pregnancy, make sure you are healthy, and if you have three consecutive miscarriages, consult your healthcare professional about pregnancy.
Miscarriage is a physical and emotional pain that women can undergo. When a woman loses a child, it can be devastating, and a woman can become emotionally weak.
More than physical healing, emotional healing will be difficult. However, many women have surpassed the physical damage and successfully become pregnant during the second attempt.
Try to heal emotionally and physically. There are many support groups available to cope with the condition. Also, consult your healthcare professional for more help.
Does a high TSH level affect pregnancy?
According to NCBI, higher levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) are associated with miscarriage during the early stages of pregnancy.
How can my rubella be treated?
Rubella can be treated with medication like acetaminophen. In mild cases of infection, adequate rest and medications will be required to treat the infection.
What kinds of infections lead to miscarriage?
Some of the common infections that can lead to miscarriage are
5. Bacterial vaginosis
7. Rubella (German measles).
How infection during pregnancy affects a baby’s health?
Infection during pregnancy can cause problems for an unborn child, like hearing loss, visual impairment and also developmental problems.
Can a bacterial infection cause miscarriage?
Yes, bacterial vaginosis can cause miscarriage.
What is the common reason for miscarriage?
Most miscarriages occur when the foetus does not develop as expected. About 50% of miscarriages can occur due to missing or extra chromosomes.
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