Miscarriage causes, types, signs and symptoms


Miscarriage is defined as the involuntary loss of the products of conception prior to 24 weeks’ gestation. The medical term for miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion.”

About 10% – 15% of all confirmed pregnancies are said to result in spontaneous abortion. The majority occur in the first trimester before the 13th week.

Causes of miscarriage

Most spontaneous abortions happen when the unborn baby has fatal genetic problems. Usually, these problems are unrelated to the mother.

The first and foremost cause of spontaneous  abortions are due to chromosomal abnormalities of the conceptus. It can either be due to the egg or sperm’s chromosomes during embryo formation. While some chromosomal abnormalities are compatible with life, such as trisomy 21, the most common type of Down syndrome, other chromosomal disorders are simply incompatible with life. Besides that, there is nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage due to a chromosomal abnormality.

Other causes includes:

  • Infection
  • Medical conditions in the mother, such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Hormone problems
  • Immune system responses
  • Physical problems in the mother
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee, cigarette smoking
  • Extreme emotional stress e.g. grief or fright
  • Strenuous exercises
  • Accidents
  • Certain drugs

Sign and symptoms of spontaneous abortion

It is mainly characterised by vaginal spotting or bleeding, which can vary from slight brownish discharge to very heavy bleeding. Besides that, other causes includes:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Moderate to severe back pain
  • Expulsion of tissue with clots from your vagina
  • Sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy
  • Fever
  • Weakness


Threatened miscarriage in this type, you may experience low backache and abdominal cramps with little blood loss. You may not experience problems with the pregnancy and it may continue to delivery.

Furthermore,  you may experience severe backache and lower abdominal pain coupled with vaginal bleeding which is heavy with clots containing parts of the foetus known as Inevitable miscarriage.

Additionally, Complete miscarriage: where you will loose your baby. You may feel pain and a decrease vaginal bleeding, more common before the 8th week of pregnancy.

Missed Miscarriage: Women can experience an abortion without knowing it. A missed spontaneous abortion is when foetal death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. Signs of this would be a loss of pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart sound found on an ultrasound.

Recurrent Miscarriage: is used when there are 3 or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages. This can affect about 1% of couples.

About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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