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Understanding the Signs of Miscarriage

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Becoming pregnant with my first child was so effortless that I thought that I would always conceive without any problems. However, years after my first child was born, my husband and I decided to have more children, but it just wasn't happening. After four years of trying, we finally conceived our second child.

Doing what many newly pregnant women do, I immediately told all of our friends and family the good news. Everyone was so excited for us, and we began to make OB/GYN appointments and look for the best prenatal vitamins. But sadly, our little one me was not meant to be.

Shortly after our announcement, I began to notice one of the signs of miscarriage - vaginal spotting. At first it did not worry me because I knew it could occur in early pregnancy. However, a few hours later I began to have cramping and miscarried my second child shortly thereafter. I was heartbroken.

Is Miscarriage Common?
My miscarriage felt devastating, but I soon realized that I was not alone. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, miscarriage occurs more often than many people think and accounts for up to 20 percent of all pregnancies. Although my miscarriage happened at the beginning of my pregnancy, it can happen any time within the first 20 weeks. Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called "preterm deliveries." Luckily, I did not experience any complications with my miscarriage, but knowing the signs of miscarriage might help you avoid problems if it happens to you. Here's what to look for:

Miscarriage Symptoms

  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding: This can appear in any amount and should not be overlooked.
  • Cramping or abdominal pain: A little light cramping can occur in early pregnancy, but it should not become severe.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge: Discharge from a miscarriage will look brown or pink, which indicates blood.
  • Fever: Any level of fever in early pregnancy should be shared with your OB/GYN because it could indicate a miscarriage.
  • Passing of tissue, the placenta and/or fetus: This can feel particularly upsetting, especially in the second trimester. Always visit your OB/GYN immediately if you pass the fetus, the placenta or any of the surrounding tissues or membranes.

The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that an incomplete miscarriage could occur when some of the tissue remains inside of the womb. If not treated, this could lead to a potentially dangerous infection. Symptoms of infection are a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, cramping, vaginal bleeding and fever. Incomplete miscarriages may require a dilation and evacuation, or a D and E, to carefully remove the remaining tissue. This can feel very emotionally painful, but it is necessary to ensure that you will remain healthy and well for future pregnancies.

If you notice any of the miscarriage symptoms listed above, make an appointment to see your OB/GYN immediately. Try to surround yourself with support and allow yourself to grieve the baby you lost. Miscarriage can cause an enormous amount of emotional pain, and working through that pain can help you overcome it.

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