Nothing frustrates obstetricians more than their ability to prevent pregnancy loss.
Yes, they can do something to decrease the risk, but are totally helpless to entirely prevent it.
All gynecologists and obstetricians understand the devastating trauma women face when they experience a pregnancy loss.
To IVF patients, it is even more upsetting.
But first let us be clear about certain basics.
What is a miscarriage?
It is the loss of a pregnancy during the first trimester. This is quite common and statistics say happens in about 10 per cent of pregnancies.
Are some women at a higher risk for miscarriage?
The chances of early pregnancy loss are higher as the woman gets older. They say miscarriage occurs in around 30 per cent of pregnancies in women older than 40.
How is miscarriage diagnosed?
If a woman shows the symptoms of early pregnancy loss, doctors will recommend a physical exam.
The gynecologist or obstetrician will question her when the bleeding has commenced or whether she is experiencing any pain.
The doctor may perform an ultrasound test to check whether the embryo is still developing in the uterus or may order a test to measure the level of hCG in her blood. A low or decreasing level can mean a miscarriage.
What are a woman’s options for early pregnancy loss?
1. Watch and wait
She can wait for the pregnancy tissue to pass. The woman may experience bleeding or cramps. The episode may last for a few weeks. If it does not, it is better to consult a doctor.
The doctor may prescribe certain pills that would assist the pregnancy tissue to pass. Medication will have to be taken as directed by the doctor. The woman may experience bleeding and cramps.
3. Surgical procedure
The doctor will remove the pregnancy tissue using a simple procedure under local anesthesia or sedation. The procedure lasts for about 10 minutes during which the uterus is emptied.
At this juncture, it must be noted that all the three options are safe.
There is no any doubt that miscarriage is a very unfortunate event. It is not unusual for the woman to feel anxious about the future, especially about the odds of a successful pregnancy going forward.
Here are a few things you must keep in mind.
- Your doctor may advise against having sex after miscarriage until the bleeding has entirely stopped. This suggestion is to prevent infection.
- No one can say for sure that a miscarriage will not happen again. Yet, gynecologists do say women are likelier to have a good pregnancy after one or two episodes of miscarriages.
- You can do a few things to reduce risks of another miscarriage like:
1. Avoiding heavy drinking.
2. Eating a well balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, meat, fish and lentils, milk, cheese (or vegan options) and wholegrain cereals.
3. Being cautious about drugs – This is a general advice when you are trying to conceive again.
4. Coping with stress by talking with your partner, family and friends, and your doctor.
It is natural for women to want a baby after an episode of miscarriage. The thought may fill them with apprehension. But it makes sense to try again and not give up.