How to recognize a miscarriage & when to consult

Couple holding hands

A miscarriage occurs when a woman loses her pregnancy before the 20th week. Also called spontaneous abortion, it occurs in most cases during the first trimester (before 14 weeks). It is important to know that the rate of miscarriage increases with the age of the mother or the person providing the eggs.
Since it often happens at the very beginning of the pregnancy, it may go unnoticed. However, there are signs that may indicate a miscarriage and should be investigated during any pregnancy. These include bleeding or painful cramps.

Miscarriage: Management

Management depends on the age of the pregnancy at the time of conclusion. It may include a period of observation, medication or a curettage. But it is important to remember that a miscarriage is not only physical but also psychological. It is important to have a support network and sometimes it may even be  necessary to consult a psychologist.

How can a fertility specialist intervene in case of miscarriage?

When a woman experiences a miscarriage, it is important that she be accompanied on a moral and psychological level as well as on a medical level. Indeed, a miscarriage can have an impact on the health of the woman as well as on the outcome of future pregnancies. Hence the importance of being accompanied by a health professional who is comfortable and knowledgeable on the subject. 

For example, experts recommend that women who have had two or more miscarriages meet with a fertility doctor. Many family doctors or gynecologists can also help. If possible, consulting a fertility specialist is a good idea.

Many women who experience pregnancy loss go on to have healthy pregnancies, but the loss may indicate a fertility problem. This problem needs to be recognized and evaluated if the pregnancy plan is to be pursued. 

A fertility specialist will meet with you and propose a personalized treatment plan. He or she will evaluate the potential causes according to your history, such as :

  • Abnormal shape of the uterus (malformation, myomas, etc);
  • Genetic abnormalities;
  • Hormonal disorders;
  • Infection;
  • Immunological factors;

Since the majority of miscarriages are due to a chromosomal abnormality of the embryo, the discussion may also include the evaluation of the relevance of a genetic analysis of the embryo before a possible implantation.  

Embryos analyzed in this way and considered normal will offer a higher pregnancy rate and limit the risk of genetic abnormality in the embryo, and consequently of miscarriage. Abnormal embryos will generally not be used since they often result in a negative pregnancy test or miscarriage.

Note that all of these risks are directly related to several factors, mainly the woman’s age.  Thus, the options may vary depending on your personal circumstances.

Follow-up and advice from doctors

If you have suffered repeated miscarriages, we invite you to make an appointment with a fertility specialist who will be able to help you find the cause of the miscarriage and accompany you