A miscarriage is the sudden, natural loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages are caused by genetic problems that make it impossible for the baby to develop. 

About 15 to 20 percent of women who know they are pregnant will miscarry. Most miscarriages occur during the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage drops after the baby’s heartbeat is detected. The risk for miscarriage is higher in women between 35 and 40 years old, and highest with women who are older than 40 and have had previous miscarriages.

Couple holding handsThe primary symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding – sometimes accompanied by period-like cramps or more severe abdominal pain. However, many women experience vaginal bleeding (spotting) in early pregnancy and most do not miscarry. Contact your doctor if you experience any bleeding. 

Don’t attempt to become pregnant again until you are physically and emotionally ready. Medically, it appears safe to conceive after a woman has had one normal period (if she is not undergoing tests or treatments for the cause of her miscarriage), but emotionally, it may take much longer.

You and your partner may react differently to the loss of a baby, but you both need the support of each other, your families and friends. You may want to speak to others who have shared the same experience. Talk to your doctor if you think professional counseling may be needed. You can also visit www.nationalshare.org to find a support group in your area. 

Almost all women go on to have a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage. 


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