A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period. The loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks is called early pregnancy loss or miscarriage. Miscarriages are surprisingly common. They occur in about 15% of known pregnancies. Most miscarriages are the result of a random event that is not likely to happen again. Most women who have had a miscarriage go on to have successful pregnancies in the future.
This pamphlet explains:
- possible causes of early pregnancy loss
- signs and symptoms
- coping with loss
- getting pregnant again
Some women worry that something they have done caused their miscarriage. Working, exercising, having sex, or having used birth control pills before getting pregnant do not cause miscarriage. Morning sickness—the nausea and vomiting that is common in early pregnancy—does not cause miscarriage. Some women who have had a miscarriage believe that it was caused by a recent fall, blow, or even a fright. In most cases, this is not true.
Smoking, alcohol, and caffeine also have been studied as causes of miscarriage. Some research suggests that smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, while other research suggests that it does not. Drinking 10 or more drinks per week may increase the risk of miscarriage, but the risk with lower levels of drinking is not clear. In any case, it is best to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Consuming 200 milligrams or less of caffeine a day (the amount in two cups of coffee) does not appear to increase the risk of miscarriage.
The majority of miscarriages are caused by a random event in which the embryo receives an abnormal number of chromosomes. Chromosomes are the structures inside cells that carry genes. Most cells have 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46 chromosomes. Sperm and egg cells each have 23 chromosomes. During fertilization, when the egg and sperm join, the two sets of chromosomes come together.
For signs/symptoms, treatment and to view the full pamphlet, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.