Stay Vigilant: 3 Miscarriage Symptoms You May Be Experiencing

Knowing the signs of miscarriage can be tricky, and could feel different with every stage of pregnancy. Here, we share the signs and miscarriage symptoms so that mums-to-be know what to look out for.

A wooden figure of a woman and a fallen child from the emptiness of her body

About 10-20% of pregnancies are known to end in a miscarriage, though the actual number is probably much higher. Many end even before you realise you are pregnant, as they are unaware of miscarriage symptoms. So if you have been through a miscarriage, don’t lose heart; you are not alone.

Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It is nature’s way of not allowing a defective pregnancy to progress. It usually occurs because the baby has some defects or is not developing normally.

Almost half of the miscarriages happen because the baby has genetic defects that do not allow it to grow. In most cases, these defects develop while the baby is developing and are not inherited from the parents.

Sometimes, medical conditions in the mother such as uncontrolled diabetes, infections, hormonal problems, problems with the uterus or cervix and thyroid disease can also cause miscarriage. It is a myth that exercising, sexual intercourse or working causes miscarriages, so don’t try to blame yourself for what happened.

However, remember that certain conditions can increase your risk of a miscarriage. Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Age older than 35 years
  • History of previous miscarriages
  • Chronic medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes
  • Defects of the uterus or cervix
  • Smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Certain prenatal genetic tests carry a small risk of miscarriage

Miscarriage Symptoms

Asian pregnant woman holding her baby bump with pain and suffering expression on her face
Common miscarriage symptoms are pain in the abdomen or lower back.

As most miscarriages happen before 12 weeks, they may occur even before you realise you are pregnant. You may mistake a miscarriage as an irregular or heavier period than usual. You may be experiencing a miscarriage if you have the following symptoms:

Pain in abdomen

You may be experiencing a miscarriage if you have sudden cramping and pain in your lower abdomen or lower back. Try to lie down and take it easy. If the cramping does not subside or is severe, visit your doctor, who won’t be able to stop the miscarriage from happening, but may provide medicines to ease the pain

Vaginal spotting or bleeding

A miscarriage usually results in the products of conception being passed off from the uterus as vaginal bleeding. The bleeding may occur as light spotting or brownish discharge or heavy bleeding and bright-red blood clots. It may carry on over a few days.

Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms. However, keep in mind that not all vaginal spottings indicate a miscarriage. Many women with vaginal spotting or bleeding in the first trimester have successful pregnancies.

Discharge of fluid or tissue from your vagina

If you pass any tissue from your vagina, put it in a sterile container and take it to your doctor.

Recovering From a Miscarriage

Woman resting in an armchair with coffee
If you have suffered miscarriage symptoms, ensure you allow your body to rest and recover.

Ensure you give yourself enough time to recover after a miscarriage. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) attributes miscarriage to kidney, blood or qi (vital energy) deficiency, blood heatiness or blood stagnation. Disruption and damage to the mother’s chong and ren meridians and a weak foetus can contribute to repeated miscarriages.

Natural remedies can help restore the body’s internal balance, strengthen the chong and ren meridians, and invigorate the kidneys so that the environment in the womb is favourable for pregnancy. Physician Lim Sock Ling says, “Prevention is better than cure. A mother is encouraged to incorporate herbal remedies appropriately in early pregnancy to support in her pregnancy journey.”

Rest and eat well

Though the mother does not complete her pregnancy in case of a miscarriage, her body still does undergo considerable hormonal, physiological and metabolic changes. Hence confinement is strongly recommended after a miscarriage, maybe of a shorter duration than the usual postpartum confinement.

Allow your body to rest and recuperate for future pregnancies. Ensure you have a nourishing and warm diet during this period. Include warming soups with ginger, goji berries, red dates, codonopsis root (dang shen) and eucommia (du zhong).

A hot red date tea would be an ideal accompaniment while you take a rest. These herbs help invigorate qi, nourish the blood, restore hormonal balance and promote emotional wellbeing. They also help to warm your womb and clear the lochia.

Though you may be tempted to go back to your earlier activity levels after the miscarriage symptoms subside, limit strenuous movements while your body heals. Avoid high-intensity workouts and skip the gym for now. Also, avoid cold temperatures and foods which can interfere with your recovery.

It is important to acknowledge the emotional upheaval that a mother experiences after a miscarriage. She could undergo a series of emotions, including shock and denial, anger and guilt, depression and despair, and lastly, acceptance.

Reach out to your husband, family members and friends for emotional support during these trying times and that can help you heal faster.

Herbal remedies

For kidney deficiency, Physician Lim recommends Shou Tai pills (寿胎丸) that invigorate the kidneys, stabilise the foetus, and improve the mother’s health. If you prefer warm soups, An Dian Er Tian Formula (安奠二天汤) soup strengthens the kidney and spleen, helps relieve miscarriage symptoms, and prevents recurrent miscarriages.

Tai Shan Pan Shi Powder (泰山磐石散) invigorates qi, nourishes the blood, regulates the chong meridian, and calms the foetus.

You can combine Gui Zhi Fu Ling pills (桂枝茯苓丸) with Shou Tai pills (寿胎丸) if you have blood stagnation.

A combination of Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae and Scutellaria Baicalensis is highly recommended to calm the fetus and support the pregnancy.

However, you should never self-medicate with TCM remedies when you are pregnant. A TCM practitioner will assess your body constitution and advise the ideal remedy for you.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is also very helpful in preventing miscarriage. It can help increase the thickness of the uterus lining, regulate hormones, improve blood flow to the uterus, regulate the qi circulation, and promote the emotional wellbeing of the mother. Don’t let miscarriage symptoms dissuade you.

Many women go on to deliver healthy babies even after multiple miscarriages, so don’t give up on those baby dreams. Take the support of natural remedies to restore your health and strengthen your body to carry the next pregnancy.

References

  1. NHS. Miscarriage: Symptoms.[online] [Accessed on 17 February 2022]
  2. Mayo Clinic. Miscarriage. [online] [Accessed on 17 February 2022]

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