After trying for so long to get pregnant, the thought that you may miscarry can cause you immense anxiety, particularly if you have experienced a miscarriage before. So, when you finally get that positive pregnancy test, you can’t help but be on high alert for miscarriage symptoms. If you do notice some bleeding or spotting during the early stages of your pregnancy, you will be told that you’re experiencing a threatened miscarriage, a fact that is unlikely to put your mind to rest.
What is a Threatened Miscarriage?
It is extremely common to experience some type of light vaginal bleeding during the first trimester. Sometimes a reason may be found, such as an infection or irritation of the cervix. Other times no cause for the bleeding can be found.
When this unexplainable bleeding occurs during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is referred to as a threatened miscarriage or a threatened spontaneous abortion. While the name can sound quite scary, more than half of these pregnancies continue on normally.
Signs and Symptoms of Threatened Miscarriage
The main sign of a threatened miscarriage is spotting or bleeding at some point during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Despite the fact that it is very normal to experience bleeding in early pregnancy, in fact as much as 20% of women will bleed at some point during their first trimester, it is still a good idea to notify your health care provider and inform them of the bleeding.
Other symptoms you may notice include low back pains and abdominal cramps. However, again, it is very normal to deal with aches and pains in the back and abdominal area during the first trimester. These discomforts usually occur as a result of your growing and changing uterus.
If you notice the bleeding and cramping becoming worse, if you feel weak or faint, or are experiencing chills or a high temperature, then contact your doctor or midwife right away. These are common miscarriage symptoms and should be discussed with your health care provider as soon as possible. If you begin to pass large clots or tissue, go to your nearest emergency room. These are signs of miscarriage.
At the Doctor’s
It is likely that your doctor or midwife will want to give you a brief check-up to ensure that all is well with your baby if you have been experiencing unexplained bleeding. During this exam, your cervix will be examined to ensure that it is closed. An open cervix indicates that a miscarriage is unavoidable at this point. A pelvic exam to measure the size and shape of your uterus will also be done.
To check that your baby is healthy, your health care provider will want to check her heartbeat. After the 14th week, a fetal doppler may be used to detect the heartbeat. Prior to this time, a fetal doppler won’t always be able to pick up a heartbeat. Therefore it is likely that you will have an ultrasound exam done to check your baby’s health.
In the past, bed rest was commonly prescribed for women dealing with a threatened miscarriage. However, there is no evidence to support the idea that this will help prevent a miscarriage. Instead, nowadays, most women are advised to avoid very strenuous activity until the bleeding subsides. You may also be asked to stop having sex until the bleeding has stopped as sex during pregnancy can sometimes be a reason behind bleeding early in pregnancy.
While a threatened miscarriage can be a nerve-wracking experience, it is important to remember that half off all threatened miscarriages result in
the birth of a healthy baby.