Risks and complications

Expecting mothers can experience complications during the first trimester of their pregnancy — during the first 6 weeks the risks are especially high, as shown in the graph above.

Risks and complications

Complications can happen to the most healthy mothers and may even pass completely unnoticed — that is, many women experience a miscarriage without ever noticing that they were pregnant.

Risk of miscarriages
Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester, mainly before 6 weeks, when the risks are very high. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the stronger the baby, and the lower the risks. Once you reach the second trimester, the chance of experiencing a miscarriage is well below 1 in 100.

The risks of experiencing a miscarriage during the first trimester are statistically as follows:

Causes of a miscarriage
Most miscarriages occur from factors that are out of both parents’ control, with chromosomal abnormality being the leading cause. When the sperm and egg meet, the genetic makeup of the two cells comes together to form the fetus’s genetic material. When something goes wrong in this process, the pregnancy may terminate. Other causes of miscarriage include hormonal problems, infections such as listeria,  and Asherman’s syndrome.

Who is at risk for miscarriage?
A miscarriage can happen to very healthy mothers, but some groups are more at risk than others — for example, women who are over 40 and women who smoke, drink, use drugs, or take strong medications. Also, women with uncontrolled diabetes and those who aren’t receiving adequate nutrients are deemed at higher risk.

What are the symptoms of miscarriage?
Women who miscarry may experience spotting, light vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, fever, pinkish-white mucus, abdominal pain, or backache, especially at the lower back.

How to prevent a miscarriage
Most miscarriages are caused by factors that are out of anyone’s control. However, the risks can be lowered by adopting a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to chemicals that may harm your child, and staying clear of smoking, alcohol, or drugs. Pregnant women should also refrain from taking any medication that a doctor didn’t prescribe in light of their pregnancies.

Stillbirth: Losing a baby after 20 weeks
Losing a child at 20 weeks or later is known as a stillbirth and may cause a woman to labor. Worldwide, this happens in about 1 in about 100 pregnancies, often during labor, in places with inadequate access to medical care. 

Causes and risks of stillbirth
There are several causes of stillbirth, including premature birth where the baby isn’t developed enough to survive and medical conditions on the mother’s side. However, most stillbirths happen without a known cause. Nonetheless, being up to date with prenatal appointments and monitoring high blood pressure, diabetes, and baby kicks may reduce the risks. 

You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following early signs of labor: severe pain and cramping at the stomach or back, bleeding, and little or no movement of the baby.

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