A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy in the first 24 weeks. There are many causes of miscarriage, and for some parents the reason for their loss will never be known. About a fifth of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most of these before the twelfth week.
Signs and symptoms
Many miscarriages can take several days from start to finish and may not start with a heavy bleed or severe pain. Some women who are miscarrying may not have realised that they were pregnant as many miscarriages take place in the first weeks after conception.
Pregnant women suffering a bleed should always seek early medical advice from their doctor or midwife. An investigation may show that the pregnancy has not ended or that miscarriage is threatened but not inevitable.
First Aid Treatment
Most women who have a miscarriage do not have problems with subsequent pregnancies but a woman should take time to grieve and talk about her feelings before becoming pregnant again. Group therapy with others who have had the same experience is a good way of helping a woman come to terms with the loss of her baby. The woman's doctor should be able to provide details of appropriate support groups in her area.Other emergency problems with pregnancy
In this circumstance, the fertilised egg has become embedded in the Fallopian tube rather than the womb. As well as ending the pregnancy, this is a potentially lifethreatening condition for the mother. The woman will usually have severe pain in the abdominal area, with potential bleeding and signs of shock. Call an ambulance immediately.
Placenta praevia/placental abruption
A bleed in later pregnancy is more unusual. A painless bright red bleed may be an indicator that something is seriously wrong with the placenta, causing potential lifethreatening problems for both the mother and child. Support the mother in a position of rest, call an ambulance and treat for shock.
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