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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Natural Miscarriage

Natural Miscarriage
by Lisa Blogger

First of all, if you're reading this for advice, I am very sorry that you're going through this. I've had two natural miscarriages, one at 8 weeks with a blighted ovum and one at 9 weeks with an embryo measuring only 6 weeks. I am not an expert on this by any means, and I do realize that every experience is different, but hopefully this will be of some help.

Pregnancy losses that occur prior to 20 weeks are called a miscarriage. While some pregnancy losses necessitate the use of a D & C, other pregnancies end without medical intervention or assistance. This write up is for a natural miscarriage.

Why You May Have a Natural Miscarriage (rather than using medical intervention)

Some doctors will take a "wait and see" approach once there is an indication of a potentially failing pregnancy, particularly if it is a first pregnancy. Other doctors are inclined to suggest natural miscarriage rather than a D&C due to the potential for post-D&C complications (scarring, for example, or if you are not good with anesthesia). If there is a possibility that you are off on your ovulation calculations, many doctors will not suggest a D&C until a second ultrasound a week later confirms that the pregnancy is not just progressing slower than expected.

What You Can Expect

While both of my natural miscarriages were different, there were also similarities. Both times, spotting was my indication that something was wrong, followed in both cases by an ultrasound that confirmed we were likely going to lose the pregnancy. After the ultrasound, things moved rather quickly the first time (I miscarried that evening), but more slowly the second (it took three days to complete).

In most cases, bleeding will begin to increase first. Cramps will begin, often mild but will intensify as the miscarriage progresses. My first miscarriage felt almost like what I've heard labor pains feel like, in that there was a rhythmic pattern to them and they were very intense at the end. When I was in the midst of one, it helped immensely to have a microwavable heating pad wrapped around my lower abdomen, and it was almost necessary that I was up and walking -- sitting still seemed to make the cramps worse. Also -- and this may sound odd -- but I somehow knew when I was going to pass a clot or tissue, because I had the urge to go sit on the toilet. As a result I did not bleed as much on a pad as some people might.

The cramps will be the worst while you are passing tissue or large clots. After this occurs, the cramping will subside and the bleeding will begin to taper off, although this may still take a day or so. Your doctor will likely want to schedule a series of betas to make sure that your levels are dropping to zero (some doctors will only test to <5).

Problems That May Arise and Ways to Troubleshoot

If you are bleeding so much that you are soaking a pad in an hour or less, you should go to the emergency room, as this could indicate hemorraging or other problems. Have someone drive you -- rapid blood loss could cause you to faint or pass out. It is possible that you will still need to have a D&C if there is retained tissue; a sign of this may be that you are still bleeding heavily after most of the tissue has passed. Your doctor will most likely want to do an ultrasound or at least a repeat beta to see whether your levels are not dropping off.

Personal Tips

If you have seen your doctor for an ultrasound or other diagnosis prior to the miscarriage, try to remember to ask your doctor what their recommendations are and for a script for pain medicine if you think you'll need it. I know that it's an emotional time, but try to make sure you are looking out for your body as well. I was distraught the day of our ultrasound and was given no advice on what would be considered an emergency, when to call the doctor, or whether it was safe to take Advil or something stronger. Luckily I had online friends and resources that could tell me some of the things I describe here. When I was still reading loss message boards, I've seen many people ask whether they should try to get a tissue sample to their doctor for chromosomal testing. There are a few problems with that with a natural miscarriage, mainly that by the time you would be able to get the sample to your doctor it would likely be unusable, not to mention collection/storage and the emotional aspect of doing this.

I was extremely calm during my miscarriages, but extremely emotional afterwards. Be sure that you take some time for yourself if at all possible and just allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. It will help with the grieving process if you do not try to resume "normal" life immediately.


Anonymous said...

May I ask how far along you were with each one of your miscarriages?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. I am going through it this moment and your blog reassured me that what I am feeling is normal. Best of luck to you.

cheryl said...

I had a miscarriage @ 7 weeks found out i was preg @ 5 weeks had bleeding for couple of days, so had a scan and was told had 50/50 chance. so was told to go back in 2weeks which i did and there was nothing there even though i had no further bleeding in them 2 weeks. i have since had to go back to the hospi every monday to test my hormone level they call me back every mond afternoon with the results and still after 3 weeks my hormone level is still 44, they have said until it drops below 25 i will not be discarged. i have not yet had a period do you know when i should get my period back so i can start trying again? also do you know why my hormone level is still high?

Anonymous said...

im 6 weeks pregnant, been bleeding like a period since yesterday with some cramps and small clots, the doc says it dont look good, but things may be ok if its a twin etc,im so upset i will lose baby i keep looking for it in the loo, im waiting for a scan now, i feel so alone as my bf dont want it anyway,i keep crying but its hard knowing as im loosing it, he is so relieved inside, lifes so tough sometimes, but its so wanted by me, how long can i bleed for before i may loose it? help any1 please??

Anonymous said...

My first miscarriage was at 6 weeks, and I kept having really intense pain for 1/2hr or so and then no pain at all for a couple of hours... it took me a while before it hit me that my body was going through contractions.

Anonymous said...

I am also going thru it right now. Sorry for all of you that had cause to come here. I was at 10 weeks (on a Thurs) when I found out via ultrasound that my baby had no heartbeat and had quit developing at about 8 weeks, I'm now just over 11 weeks. I had very light spotting and mild menstrual cramps the following Mon, then nothing, then some more intermittent spotting/cramping on Wed, not much heavier. That continued all week until today (Sun night 10pm) when I started having really bad cramping, that started to come in waves an hour later, very strong like labor contractions. I took 600mg ibuprofin once I realized it wasn't regular cramping but it takes my body about an hour and a half to feel relief so I had to gut it out. I passed a large clot about 0120 am. My doctor said to try to capture the sample of the baby to take it in for possible evaluation. So I tried to fish out the tissue from the toilet, looked just like someone else said, like a small liver in consistency. They said it was part of the placenta tissue. Nothing that resembled a baby or sac yet. Once I passed that clot the cramping stopped, but from reading these it is not over yet, just a break. I came on here to see what the heck I was looking for, if that tissue I passed should have the baby in it, but it sounds like it is just tissue and not the baby yet. Hopefully I will be able to find it, but they probably won't be able to do anything with it. How embarrassing it will be to take that thing to the ER and explain what it is and what they are supposed to do with it...don't look forward to that. Don't look forward to the next wave of cramping either....
For the girl with the unsupportive boyfriend I am especially sorry you have to go thru this. It is hard enough without having that to deal with. I hope you at least have a good girlfriend to help you get thru it. If not then go find a church close to you and talk to the pastor or whatever they are called there. Even if you are not religious, they are normally trained in helping people thru all sorts of things and can offer a shoulder to cry on and practical advice. If you don't want to be preached to, just tell them that right off the bat, if they are good they will agree. Hugs to you!!!!