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What is a miscarriage?

Definition and causes

In a miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion, the embryo’s development stops. Pregnancy is not progressing while the dead embryo remains inside the uterus and is removed by an obstetrician with surgery. In some cases, the placenta will continue to function for a small period of time.

Causes of miscarriages vary. In some cases, miscarriages are due to possible genetic or anatomical abnormalities of the embryo, congenital abnormalities of the uterus, congenital infections, and cervical insufficiency. They may also be due to external factors, such as stress, poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, maternal age, and hereditary conditions. In many cases, the cause of the miscarriage is never defined.



A miscarriage will not cause bleeding or pain. The only signs that a woman may notice is the absence or subsiding of pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and swollen breasts. Miscarriages usually occur during the first trimester. In general, more than 80% of miscarriages occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In women of reproductive age, the possibility of a miscarriage is between 10-25% per pregnancy.

A woman’s history of one miscarriage is not considered reason for concern. However, in cases of recurrent pregnancy loss, the doctor will advise an investigation into the causes of pregnancy termination through further tests.
7 April 2017