Being pregnant is one of the best feelings for a couple where you would want to share the news with your near and dear ones. But, our elders always advise us not to announce a pregnancy before the second trimester starts. Have you ever thought about why is it so? It is mostly because, in the first trimester, there are high chances of miscarriage.
This happens when the foetus is not alive but the body is unaware of it or does not expel the foetus out. This comes to light during the regular ultrasound in the first trimester where there is no cardiac activity of the foetus. This is also known as silent abortion or silent miscarriage.
A] What is Missed Miscarriage?
A missed miscarriage is a term used when the foetus dies in the mother’s womb without even experiencing any of the symptoms like bleeding, cramps or abdominal pain observed in other miscarriages. This makes it very difficult to detect the symptoms of abortion in the first week as the pregnancy hormones are still released in the body leading to experiencing symptoms of pregnancy like nausea, vomiting and breast tenderness.
Miscarriage can be caused due to genetic disorders in the foetus, structural defects of the uterus or any serious health issue in the mother. Out of all pregnancies, 1-5 % of pregnancies might face silent miscarriage. 50 % of such miscarriages happen because of a faulty number of chromosomes in the DNA of the foetus. If the mother undergoes physical or mental stress or is a regular smoker, she might experience a silent miscarriage.
B] What Are The Common Symptoms Of Early Pregnancy?
Morning sickness is widely experienced by pregnant females during the first trimester. This is the feeling of nausea which can happen not only during mornings but also the whole day. With pregnancy, the progesterone levels increase leading to fatigue. Also, the breast becomes tender, swollen and sore leading to breast tenderness. Early Prenatal Care will help manage these symptoms.
Along with these symptoms, the mother also might experience some discomfort in the early pregnancy. As the embryo attaches itself to the walls of the uterus, the mother might observe spotting or mild bleeding. As the uterus adjusts the embryo and expands, the mother might develop mild cramps and pain in the lower abdomen. Mothers with High-Risk Pregnancy Conditions should always observe their symptoms and discuss with the doctor if they find anything abnormal.
Consistent sharp pain in the abdomen may signal some concern. The spotting when it turns to heavy bleeding might indicate a miscarriage. Sudden loss of symptoms like nausea, breast tenderness and cramps might also indicate a problem.
C] What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Missed Miscarriage?
The missed miscarriage does not exhibit symptoms observed in the other cases of first-trimester miscarriage signs like heavy vaginal bleeding, severe cramps or natural expulsion of the foetus from the uterus. Mild spotting is an indication of embryo attaching to the uterine wall but heavy bleeding might raise a concern. However, the mothers need to look out for any brown-coloured discharge or sudden disappearance of the pregnancy symptoms observed during the first trimester.
As the foetus is not alive, the pregnancy hormones gradually reduce and lead to no pregnancy symptoms. This might take a while as the body is initially unaware of the foetal death. If these symptoms go unnoticed, the regular prenatal checkup helps to know if the foetus is healthy or if the mother has undergone a silent miscarriage. The ultrasound will reveal no heart movement or any foetal development indicating the miscarriage. What we read is all about the physical changes, but a miscarriage also affects the parents emotionally.
Every miscarriage brings along a sense of grief and loss which leads to feelings of sadness and depression. The mother especially starts forming a bond with the baby even before it is born. Coping with the loss might be very challenging and also take some time for the parents to heal emotionally. The mother often experiences the guilt of not taking proper care of the baby and might be scared for the future pregnancy. Some mothers might experience recurrent miscarriage and are unaware of the underlying causes. Recurrent Miscarriage Testing aids in detecting the underlying cause of the miscarriage and helps in future to plan a safe and healthy pregnancy.
D] What Is The Importance Of Regular Prenatal Check-ups?
It is always said that it is of little use to dig a well when the house is on fire. Similarly, it is always useful to get prenatal checkups done for the health of the baby. The chance of miscarriage during the first time pregnancy is high. Taking action after there is some problem in the pregnancy might lead to unwanted results. As soon as you skip periods get the pregnancy test done and if it comes positive, stay in touch with your gynaecologist for further tests and follow-ups. The follow-ups need to be done every 4 to 6 weeks till 32 weeks, every 2 to 3 weeks till 37 weeks and every week after 37th week till birth.
The doctors perform ultrasounds at various stages of pregnancy so they are aware of the foetus’s development, growth and any problems that a foetus might face in future. The ultrasound also detects even the faintest of the heartbeats of the foetus. If an ultrasound done before the 20th week of pregnancy shows no heart activity and lack of foetal development, then this indicates the female miscarried the foetus. Apart from ultrasound, you may also get blood tests done that might help to detect any metabolic disorders or any other illness in the mother.
E] How To Reduce The Chances Of Miscarriage?
Mostly the missed miscarriages happen because of the genetic defect, where there is nothing that a mother or a doctor can do. However, miscarriages also happen if the mother is from a high-risk group like a history of PCOS, advanced age, physical and mental stress, regular smoking, consumption of alcohol, suffering from comorbid conditions, obesity, or malnourished.
Identifying such females and taking appropriate actions will help reduce incidences of miscarriages. It is always better to modify and adapt to a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and also before planning for pregnancy to have a successful delivery of a healthy baby. Regular checkups and follow-ups also help to reduce the risks of miscarriages.
F] When Should I See A Doctor?
Missed miscarriage is usually symptomless. But if you experience vaginal bleeding from light to heavy with blood clots and brownish discharge, immediately contact your doctor. Check with your doctor if you suffer from severe abdominal cramps worse than menstrual cramps.
Severe lower back pain with the sudden disappearance of pregnancy symptoms also calls for a doctor’s visit. Our private gynaecologist in London is always there to help you in your journey of pregnancy and guide you throughout the 9 months to have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The signs of missed miscarriage in early pregnancy are rare, thus, always check for the brownish discharge, the sudden disappearance of the pregnancy symptoms, or severe abdominal cramps. All of which indicate miscarriage. It is best to go for regular checkups and follow-ups and seek immediate medical attention if need be. Do not let the miscarriage dishearten the future chances of pregnancies. Improve your lifestyle and adapt to healthy living to experience the bliss of pregnancy without any complications.
1. Why Is The Risk Of Miscarriage Higher In The First Trimester
The first trimester is crucial for foetal development that depends on factors like hormonal balance, structural formation, safe impanation, lifestyle factors, maternal age and mother’s immune response. Any abnormality in the above conditions might lead to miscarriage.
2. Why Is It Common To Miscarry Your First Pregnancy
No knowledge about uterine health, advanced age, unknown metabolic disorders, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of mother’s health status makes it very common to experience miscarriage during the first pregnancy.
3. What Is The Best Way To Treat A Missed Miscarriage In The First Trimester
The body naturally expels the aborted foetus along with the placenta and other fluids. But in a missed miscarriage the doctor might induce labour and remove the foetus or have to surgically remove the dead foetus by dilating the cervix to prevent any infection.