Bleeding in early pregnancy may signal a miscarriage. If you experience bleeding and/or suspect there is a problem with your pregnancy you should contact your GP and discuss the matter. You may be asked to come to the surgery and will be referred as appropriate - probably to an early pregnancy assessment unit.
The first sign of a miscarriage is usually a bleed which can vary in quantity. Bleeding does not necessarily indicate a miscarriage, however, it should be checked out with your doctor. Period-type pain is common, but if it is severe and in particular, one-sided, you should seek advice in case you have an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is one that has settled in the Fallopian tube rather than the uterus.
The loss of a baby through miscarriage can be deeply upsetting. Couples can experience a variety of emotions. Anger, guilt and blame together with a sense of failure, can all be part of the process of bereavement. Feelings can be very different depending on the individual. It should be remembered that a miscarriage is very common and probably has no bearing on your ability to have a successful pregnancy. It is estimated that at least 1:10 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage and that this is often nature's way of ending an unsuccessful conception.
Recurrent miscarriage is defined as more than 3 consecutive miscarriages. Investigation to exclude any underlying cause is then appropriate. Conditions causing recurrent miscarriage include SLE - systemic lupus erythematosis, antiphospholipid syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome to name a few. However, in the majority of women who are investigated, no underlying cause is identified. For more information click here
Following a miscarriage it can seem as if the world is full of pregnant mothers and babies. Significantly difficult times are the date the baby was due and the anniversary of the miscarriage.
Some women may wish to become pregnant again straight away, others may take longer to decide. A further pregnancy is not necessarily a wish to replace the baby lost and does not necessarily lessen the sense of grief at losing the first pregnancy.
Friends and relatives often worry how to provide the best help and support. Listening is one of the most important things you can do to help. Do not avoid contact for fear of upsetting the parents further. It can sometimes take months to come to terms with a loss or learn how to deal with it. This will come with time.
The Miscarriage Association provides a network of volunteer telephone contacts, they can be reached on 01924 200799 (helpline)
This article published on
08 February 2006
Next review date 01/02/2013