Coping With Miscarriage in the First Trimester

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About 80 percent of miscarriages occur within the first trimester (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy).

Many women have questions about what causes a first-trimester miscarriage and whether it can be prevented, not to mention concerns about the miscarriage symptoms they experience.

Types of First Trimester Pregnancy Loss

The term miscarriage is fairly general for the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy in the first trimester, but some subtypes exist (note that some of these can also be diagnosed in the second trimester). Some miscarriages, however, will not fall into any of these categories, but here they are:

Signs of Early Miscarriage

Most miscarriage symptoms are not definitive indicators of pregnancy loss, but possible signs include vaginal bleeding, cramping in your lower back or midsection, the passing of tissue through your vagina, and loss of pregnancy symptoms. For more information, check out the following articles: 

General Concerns About Diagnosis and Recovery

Your doctor should give you some guidance on what to expect from the testing process (which will likely include an ultrasound, a pelvic exam, and a blood test to measure your level of human chorionic gonadotropin or hcG). Your doctor should also educate you on possible the treatment, but here is some general information about diagnosis and physical recovery from first-trimester miscarriage.

First Trimester Miscarriage Causes

Doctors believe that most first trimester miscarriages happen because of factors outside anyone's control, and rarely can anyone pinpoint the cause of a specific miscarriage. Doctors do have some ideas about possible causes, however. Read more about potential triggers below:

Preventing First Trimester Miscarriage

Most of the time, you cannot prevent a miscarriage from happening. Most miscarriages happen for reasons outside of your control like chromosomal abnormalities. That said, occasionally some lifestyle modifications can put you in a lower risk category. Find out about what does and doesn't decrease your risk:

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  1. Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, O'connor JF, et al. Incidence of early loss of pregnancy. N Engl J Med. 1988;319(4):189-94. doi:10.1056/NEJM198807283190401