What is a Miscarriage?

A Miscarriage is the loss of a fetus before the 20 week mark in a pregnancy. Most Miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. Fewer Miscarriages occur beyond the 20 week point in a pregnancy.


  • Uterine Abnormalities
  • Incompetent Cervix
  • Bacterial Infections (particularly mycoplasma hominis and ureaplasma urealyticum)
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Genetic Defects (mismatched chromosomes)
  • Immunologic Disorders that lead to rejection of the fetus
  •  Lifestyle Choices (tobacco, alcohol, medications and drugs)
  • Environmental Factors (for example exposure to particular toxins at work)

What are the Symptoms of a Miscarriage?

A mother-to-be with significant health problems may be at a greater risk for Miscarriage. A family history of Miscarriages might put a person at higher risk although this is not always the instance.

Symptoms include

  • Bleeding from the vaginal area which may be light or heavy; it could be constant or completely irregular; bleeding with pain can be a major sign of a miscarriage.
  • Blood clots and grayish tissue passing from the vagina.
  • Body pain; a person may have abdominal pain, cramping or a persistent aching feeling in the lower back area.

How is Miscarriage Treated?

A miscarriage can be emotionally devastating for anyone who experiences it. There are feelings of failure that can come with a miscarriage. It can put significant strain on a relationship between people who are trying to conceive. Relationship counseling may be recommended in order to assist people in coping with a miscarriage.

While physical recovery from a miscarriage is important, there needs to be a focus on emotional recovery. It is important for anyone dealing with a miscarriage to speak to their healthcare provider. Counseling and mental health therapies are becoming critical components in dealing with a miscarriage. It is equally important that a doctor provide support well beyond the miscarriage. A woman’s chances of miscarriage unfortunately increase after having one. So it is vital to discuss possible ways to avoid further miscarriages down the road.

Prospective parents who are looking to conceive can obtain help from a multi-disciplinary team. Doctors, midwives and other specialists with experience dealing with miscarriages can provide information and help whether dealing with attempts to conceive or a miscarriage.

Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017