Information for Patients
A miscarriage is an unexpected loss of pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages happen very early in the pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Factors that may contribute to miscarriage include
- A genetic problem with the fetus
- Problems with the uterus or cervix
- Chronic diseases, such as polycystic ovary syndrome
Signs of a miscarriage include vaginal spotting, abdominal pain or cramping, and fluid or tissue passing from the vagina. Bleeding can be a symptom of miscarriage, but many women also have it in early pregnancy and don't miscarry. To be sure, contact your health care provider right away if you have bleeding.
Women who miscarry early in their pregnancy usually do not need any treatment. In some cases, there is tissue left in the uterus. Doctors use a procedure called a dilatation and curettage (D&C) or medicines to remove the tissue.
Counseling may help you cope with your grief. Later, if you do decide to try again, work closely with your health care provider to lower the risks. Many women who have a miscarriage go on to have healthy babies.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Twins, Triplets, Multiple Births
If you are pregnant with more than one baby, you are far from alone. Multiple births are up in the United States. More women are having babies after age 30 and more are taking fertility drugs. Both boost the chance of carrying more than one baby. A family history of twins also makes multiples more likely.
Years ago, most twins came as a surprise. Now, most women know about a multiple pregnancy early. Women with multiple pregnancies should see their health care providers more often than women who are expecting one baby. Multiple pregnancy babies have a much higher risk of being born prematurely and having a low birth weight. There is also more of a risk of disabilities. Some women have to go on bed rest to delay labor. Finally, they may deliver by C-section, especially if there are three babies or more.
Parenting multiples can be a challenge. Volunteer help and support groups for parents of multiples can help.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health