Medical practitioners define miscarriage as a natural pregnancy loss that occurs before the 20th week of the gestation period. Most of them are caused by a chromosomal abnormality that prohibits a proper growth of the fetus. The common belief is that a miscarriage is more unlikely to happen if the sonographer detects a heartbeat than when none is not yet available.
An ultrasound can detect the heartbeat after the fifth week. It is not yet fully developed but at this point in pregnancy, the myocardial muscles start to contract hence the beating.
The following information will shed light on:
• Chances of a miscarriage after a heartbeat
• Chances of miscarrying in different pregnancy conditions
• Miscarriage risk factors
• How to reduce chances of getting a miscarriage
• What happens after a miscarriage?
• Chances of having another miscarriage
• The hope of conceiving after a miscarriage
• Coping after a miscarriage
Chances of a Miscarriage after a Heartbeat
Out of all miscarriages, 80% of them occur before week 12 in pregnancy. On the 80 percent, 50-70% happen unknowingly to the pregnant women. The chances of miscarrying fall to 5-10% upon noticing a fetal heartbeat during an ultrasound.
The heart rate has to reflect a good number of kicks to lower the chances further or rule out the possibilities. A low heart rate may relate to the miscarriage’s impendence which makes it a more significant concern. Presence of a heartbeat does not mean that it will not occur later in the gestation period.
Lower chances apply if you have a healthy pregnancy with no recurrent bleeding, spotting, cramping and the pregnancy symptoms are showing. An average fetal heart rate goes over 120 beats in every minute. Slower or faster rates may raise concern.
Even when the heart rate is excellent, other health conditions are more than likely to cause a miscarriage meaning that you should be vigilant all round.
Chances of Miscarrying In Different Pregnancy Conditions
Apart from the heart rate being one of the determining factors of a miscarriage, other different aspects affect the speed in which a miscarriage will occur. Here, everything is an estimation from the collected statistical data, but the figures represent the rate of pregnancy loss under specific conditions.
• No vaginal bleeding: After the heartbeat, chances of miscarrying are 4%.
• With vaginal bleeding: During early pregnancy bleeding, if the heartbeat is detected, chances of a miscarriage are about 13%.
• History of previous miscarriage: If it has happened to you before, the chances go up to 17%.
• 35 years or older: If you are under 35, the risk is about 4%. Above the age raises the risk after heartbeat detection to 16%.
• 40 years or older: After you attain the age of 40, the risk after heartbeat detection is about 20%.
Miscarriage Risk Factors
Any woman can have a miscarriage, but other factors may place you at a higher risk than others. The risk factors include:
• Age: Older women have a higher chance of conceiving a child affected by the chromosomal disorder and miscarry at some point during pregnancy. According to statistics, a woman above 40 years of age is twice as likely to experience the pregnancy loss when compared to those in the 20’s bracket. The risk is more if you already have a kid.
• Chronic disorders or diseases: If you have diabetes that is not always under treatment, miscarrying is possible. Also, other disorders like blood clotting issues, hormonal and autoimmune disorders such as lupus will increase the risk of a miscarriage.
• Previous miscarriage: If it has happened to you in the past, the chances are that you are more likely to miscarry the moment you get pregnant again.
• Genetic problems or congenital disabilities: If any member of the family including your partner has a genetic disorder, and a previous pregnancy or birth of a child confirmed the same, the risk of miscarrying is higher than thought.
• Cervical or uterine issues: Possessing a congenital uterine abnormality, weak or abnormal short cervix, or extreme uterine adhesions due to scar tissue band increases the odds of a miscarriage. However, researchers do not relate uterine fibroids to cause any problems despite the controversial belief.
• Drugs and alcohol use: Alcohol consumption, smoking and using hard drugs while pregnant will increase the risk. Some researchers have also related the possibility of miscarrying to high caffeine intake.
• Infections: Medical practitioners will place the risk at a higher rate if you have any of the following contaminations: measles, mumps, listeria, rubella, parvovirus, HIV, gonorrhea, or cytomegalovirus among others.
• Environmental factors: Certain toxins will put your pregnancy in danger such as exposure to arsenic, lead, and chemicals like ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, and benzene. A large radiation dose may also put you at risk.
• Medications: Always ask your healthcare provider if the medicine you are taking is safe for pregnancy. Some of them link to increasing the miscarriage risks. Take precaution when going for the over-the-counter drugs which include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
• Paternal factors: Little research confirms the father issues in contributing to the miscarriage risk, but there is evidence of the threat brought by your partner’s age. Researchers are still studying how sperm can fertilize an ovum despite being damaged by environmental toxins. The risk goes higher if the father was previously exposed to lead, mercury and other industrial chemicals.
• Diagnosis: The risk here is small but slightly increases when a physician conducts an amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling which may be required for genetic analysis.
• Obesity: Though not yet confirmed, some studies relate a miscarriage to weight gain.
Another issue that raises the miscarriage risks includes getting pregnant within three months after delivery.
How to Reduce the Chances of Getting a Miscarriage
The following measure will lessen the miscarriage chances of happening and also prepare you for a healthy pregnancy. Here are some of the tips to help you in the right way.
Before and after pregnancy preparation
• Clean eating: Consume organic vegetables and fruits and make sure that they do not contain pesticides. They can be dangerous to you and the growing fetus.
• Omega-3 fatty acids: Go for cold water fish which has omega-3 fatty acids in abundance that can aid in balancing hormonal levels. They also contribute to healthy development of the baby’s brain. Avoid fish containing mercury.
• Organic dairy products use, and soy avoidance: Soy and non-organic dairy may contain excessive estrogen that can overbalance the hormone levels. Take beef that is grass fed and chicken free of antibiotics.
• High fiber foods: Food rich in fiber will help balance the hormone and sugar levels. They also help reduce constipation. Consider taking beans, veggies, whole grain cereals and fruits.
• Whole grains consumption: Eating white or processed grains such as white bread does not give you enough nutrients. What you get are empty calories. Consuming whole grain products will have the necessary number of vitamins to counter the pregnancy deficiency.
• Plenty of water: Your blood level increases as the fetus continues to grow. So you need to be always hydrated. Take at least 2 liters on a daily basis.
• Sugar intake reduction: More sugar means higher blood sugar level which is not a good thing while pregnant. It also weakens your immune system.
What to do before getting pregnant
• Full doctor checkup: Complications such as diabetes, less reproductive and thyroid hormones, and STIs can bring in the risk of a miscarriage. Getting tested will result in early treatment and medication to decrease the risk before you get pregnant.
• Folic acid intake: It prevents disorders on the neural tubes, a malfunction caused by the spinal cord and overall nervous system. Prevention will need a daily consumption of 600mg of folic acid, 1-2 months before conceiving.
• An up-to-date immunization record: Make sure that you get immunized for communicable diseases that can cause a miscarriage. Vaccination is vital which means getting booster shots before pregnancy.
• Watch your weight: As previously mentioned, obesity is a risk factor. Try to maintain healthy weight levels before pregnancy since it is never a good idea to start dieting during the gestation period. It will also help you curb other complications related to obesity.
• Reduce caffeine consumption: Not only does it affect your fertility, but caffeine is also another risk factor towards a miscarriage. Do not take more a cup of coffee or more than one caffeinated soft drink.
What to do after getting pregnant
• Regulate your exercises: You continue to work out during pregnancy. Yoga practices will suit you best here. On the other hand, avoid lifting heavy objects which can strain the muscles in the abdomen and cause a rise in temperature. Do not venture into physical activity that can make you fall.
• Avoid drugs and alcohol: They ruin your health and contaminate the blood you share with the coming baby.
• Avoid raw meat, seafood, and unpasteurized foods: Eating food that is not adequately cooked or pasteurized for bacteria removal can bring infections such as listeria and toxoplasmosis.
• Keep yourself calm: Engage in activities that reduce stress levels. Stress risks miscarriage since you are bound to increase the blood pressure and diabetes resulting from the gestation.
• Progesterone therapy: If you have experienced a miscarriage before, you are advanced in age or have hormonal issues, you will benefit from this kind of treatment. It will aid in stabilizing the hormone levels when pregnant and also prevent an early loss of pregnancy.
• Be free from radiation and toxins: Harmful substances such as arsenic, lead and benzene are harmful to the fetus. If you need an x-ray, inform the doctor about pregnancy if it not already evident. The rays are not suitable for fetal development and the procedure should only be in emergency cases.
What Happens After A Miscarriage?
You may pass the materials yourself or have them removed, but after the tissue passage, there will be mild cramps for a day and spotting to light bleeding for the next 1-2 weeks. Utilize the pads and not tampons for the bloodshed. Reduce the cramps pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid sexual activity, vaginal medication and douching for some weeks until you stop bleeding.
Heavy bleeding, infection signs such foul-smell during vaginal discharge and fever or excessive pain needs immediate medical attention or head straight to emergency services. Dizziness and feeling weak may imply that you are leading to shock. Call emergency services right away and have someone to drive you to the nearest medical center.
Chances of Having another Miscarriage
You will feel worried after the first miscarriage which is okay. Fertility experts, on the other hand, differ since one early pregnancy loss does not mean that there is something wrong with you or the partner.
After two miscarriages, one after another, the doctor will collect blood samples to find out what is happening to your body. This is especially necessary if you have medical complications or you are 35 years and above. If you happen to lose the pregnancy in the second or early third trimester, you will be referred to a high risks specialist for careful management of your pregnancy.
The Hope of Conceiving After Miscarriage
It is recommendable to wait before trying to conceive. After miscarrying, independent of how it occurred, the periods will resume after 4-6 weeks. Some healthcare providers will allow you to get pregnant after this period, but it is a good idea to wait you experience another menstrual cycle or two. It gives you time to heal, physically and emotionally.
You need some birth control measures during the recovery time to avoid fertilization after ovulating in the next two weeks or so after the miscarriage.
Coping After a Miscarriage
You might be physically fit to get pregnant, but your mind is not yet prepared. Some women try to divert the attention by getting pregnant again while others take some months off before conceiving. Consider taking your time to examine everything and check what is right for you and the partner.