Finding out about a pregnancy can be an incredibly exciting time for a family. On the other end of the spectrum, a spontaneous abortion can bring about a feeling of true devastation. It may occur through miscarriage, which happens when a pregnancy has yet to reach 20 weeks gestation. Spontaneous abortions may also occur late into the third trimester as well, but when this occurs, there is a better chance of saving the baby’s life. Any child at 24 weeks gestation has at least a small chance of survival.
Facts About Spontaneous Abortions
1. Up to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in a spontaneous abortion.
2. Women who received a chemical pregnancy, or received an implantation that made them pregnant, account for up to 3 out of every 4 spontaneous abortions.
3. Most miscarriages happen during first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
4. Before the age of 30, the miscarriage rate in this age demographic is less than 8%.
5. The reasons for a spontaneous abortion are many and some are not known. It is known that working, moderate exercise, and sexual intercourse do not increase the chances of a miscarriage occurring.
6. Women under the age of 35 yrs old have about a 15% chance of miscarriage
7. Women who are 35-45 yrs old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage
8. Half of all pregnancies that occur in women over the age of 45 will terminate in a spontaneous abortion.
9. Women who have had just 1 previous miscarriage have a 25% greater risk of suffering a second miscarriage than women in the general population.
10. 1% of couples who are trying to conceive will have 3 or more consecutive miscarriages in the first trimester.
11. 20-30% of all pregnancies can experience some bleeding in early pregnancy, even though this is also a common sign of a spontaneous abortion as well.
12. 50% of pregnancies that have early pregnancy bleeding result in a normal pregnancy that is carried to term.
13. Women who have a BMI of 30 or higher [classified as obese] have a 25% higher risk of experiencing a spontaneous abortion compared to women with a BMI that is normal for their height.
14. Up to one-third of women attending specialist clinics as a result of miscarriage are clinically depressed.
15. 1 in 5 women who experience miscarriage have anxiety levels similar to people attending psychiatric outpatient services.
16. About 22% of all conceptions never achieve a complete implantation.
17. Seeing a heartbeat during an ultrasound actually lowers the chances of a miscarriage happening in the pregnancy to just 4-5%.
18. A slow fetal heart rate, defined as less than 100 beats per minute, may signal an impending miscarriage.
19. After 20 weeks, when a loss would be termed a stillbirth rather than a spontaneous abortion, the risk is around 1 in 160.
Spontaneous abortions account for the most common type of pregnancy loss in the world today. Women who are seeking fertility treatments to become pregnant account for the majority of these spontaneous abortions. Many women may not have even realized that they were pregnant when the spontaneous abortion occurs because it can happen so early on.
It should be made clear that a spontaneous abortion is not a conscious choice that a woman makes. It should not be compared to the medical procedure whatsoever.
What Are the Warning Signs of a Spontaneous Abortion?
Women who have back pain that is generally worse than their normal menstrual cycle cramps during the first weeks of a pregnancy should schedule an appointment with their doctor immediately. Other common signs of a miscarriage include bleeding, tissues with clotted materials being expelled from the body, weight loss, and the presence of mucus that is white or pink in color.
A spontaneous abortion isn’t a single event that just “happens.” It must go through several different stages so that the tissues can eventually be expelled from the body. If those tissues remain, then a procedure called a dilation and curettage must be performed to reduce the chances of an infection. Bleeding is common after a spontaneous abortion, so it should be monitored closely by a doctor if it continues on for some time.
Most miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities. There is not much that can be done to stop them from happening. Women can take care of themselves, take folic acid daily, and manage stress to be as healthy as possible. Outside of that, a spontaneous abortion isn’t anyone’s fault at all.