Gabriela Cardenas Palecek, M.D.
Birthing Centers, Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB-GYN), Prenatal Care, Reproductive Endocrinology (Fertility), Women's Health
As an OB-GYN, I see couples who are having difficulty staying pregnant. It is certainly disappointing and saddening when they realize that they have lost their baby.
Women often want to know if having one miscarriage means they'll likely have another. I know that they just want to put their minds at ease, but there is no way to say for sure. Most women who have a miscarriage go on to have healthy pregnancies. Still, women who have had a miscarriage could have other miscarriages. I recently had several patients that had a miscarriage with their first pregnancies that were able to conceive a couple of months later and then carried a full-term pregnancy.
When a miscarriage happens, it cannot be blamed upon anyone, especially yourself. Miscarriages are, unfortunately, a common event. It's estimated that 30 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The most commonly caused miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo, which means it's neither mom nor dad's fault.
You will be able to tell you're going through a miscarriage if you start experiencing heavier vaginal bleeding accompanied by passage of fetal tissue. This looks similar to a white mass covered with blood. It's also common to feel severe cramping afterwards. Not every pain or bleeding during pregnancy is a miscarriage. Heavy, prolonged bleeding can be associated with a normal outcome. If you've experienced these symptoms, it's important to contact your medical provider. If bleeding becomes quite heavy and is soaking a pad per hour or you start feeling dizzy and lightheaded, you should go to the emergency room.
There is no way to ensure that you will not have a miscarriage. But you can reduce your chances of having one by having preconception and prenatal visits. It's possible to decrease the risk of a miscarriage through avoiding alcohol, drugs and tobacco while trying to get pregnant. It's also recommended to take prenatal vitamins, or at least folic acid, three months before conception. Most miscarriages happen during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Miscarriages are difficult to go through, but it's important to not give up. Many women who have miscarriages are able to have a baby in the future. After two consecutive clinical miscarriages, it's recommended to have a medical evaluation. Having a miscarriage can be tough to deal with. If you're having a hard time coping, talk to your health care provider. They will be able to help you find a counselor to speak with.