Miscarriage

(Spontaneous Abortion)

Definition

Miscarriage refers to the premature end of a pregnancy before the developing baby is able to survive outside the uterus. Miscarriage can occur during the first or second trimester, before 20 weeks. Most occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. They often are unexpected and isolated events. About 15%-20% of recognized pregnancies end this way.
Fetus in First Trimester
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Causes

Miscarriages often occur for the following reasons:
  • Chromosomal abnormalities (common cause)
  • Abnormalities in the uterine tract, such as fibroids
  • Hormonal problems, such as not having enough progesterone, a female hormone needed to support pregnancy
  • Factors related to the immune system, such as blood-clotting problems or rejection of the fetus
  • Trauma
In some cases, the cause of miscarriage is unknown.

Risk Factors

Miscarriages are more common in women 35 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of having a miscarriage include:A miscarriage during your first pregnancy may place you at a higher risk for complications during your next pregnancy. These complications may include:

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June 2015

A meta-analysis found that mothers participating in a prenatal exercise group were less likely to have a large newborn, less likely to need a cesarean section, and no more likely to have a low birthweight baby than those who did not exercise. The study supports proper prenatal care advice which advocates for mothers to exercise during pregnancy if allowed by the physician.

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