Doctor's Notes on Threatened Miscarriage
A threatened miscarriage refers to the possibility of a spontaneous abortion, or pregnancy loss, during early pregnancy. Any vaginal bleeding other than mild spotting during early pregnancy may be a sign of a threatened miscarriage. However, vaginal bleeding is very common during early pregnancy, and not all cases of vaginal bleeding in the early weeks of pregnancy mean that a miscarriage is imminent. Many women stop bleeding and go on to have a normal pregnancy. When a miscarriage does occur, an abnormality in the fetus (such as a genetic abnormality) is the most common cause.
Symptoms of a miscarriage or threatened miscarriage include vaginal bleeding and pain. The bleeding may be mild or severe. Pain and cramping in the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks, and genitals may be present. Other symptoms associated with a true miscarriage include passage of blood clots and tissue fragments.
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Ectopic PregnancyEctopic pregnancy is a condition in which a pregnancy develops inside of a Fallopian tube or outside of a woman's uterus. Causes and risk factors for ectopic pregnancy include previous Fallopian tube infections (pelvic inflammatory disease, Chlamydia, gonorrhea), previous surgery to the abdomen, use of fertility medications, prior tubal pregnancy, and use of an IUD. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. If you suspect you have an ectopic pregnancy, medical care should be sought urgently.
Home Pregnancy TestHome pregnancy tests are kits that contain a test to determine if a female is pregnant. Home pregnancy tests are available over-the-counter (OTC) and do not need a prescription. There are a variety of home pregnancy tests available. The accuracy of home pregnancy tests depend upon how well instructions are followed, and how the test kit was used. A pregnancy test performed in a doctor's office is the most accurate test to determine if you are pregnant.
MiscarriageA miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is a pregnancy that spontaneously ends before the fetus can survive. There are classifications of miscarriage that include threatened, inevitable, incomplete, and complete miscarriage. There are a variety of causes of a miscarriage. Causes of miscarriage include defective genes of the fetus, chronic illness, including diabetes, severe high blood pressure, kidney disease, lupus, and underactive or overactive thyroid gland, acute infections, including Germany measles, CMV, and mycoplasma (walking pneumonia), diseases and abnormalities of the internal female organs, and other factors, including certain drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine. Symptoms of a miscarriage are vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and cramping. If a woman thinks she may be having a miscarriage, she should seek medical care with her doctor or go to an emergency department.
Pregnancy, BleedingBleeding during all phases of pregnancy may be dangerous, even though it can be caused by a large variety of factors. You should call your health care professional if you have any signs of vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy.
What Are Abortion and Miscarriage?Abortion is a term that refers to the termination of a pregnancy. This can occur with medical intervention such as medications or surgical procedures or it can occur on its own. A miscarriage is called a spontaneous abortion, and refers to a pregnancy loss before the 20th week of gestation or the expulsion an embryo or fetus weighing 500g or less. Miscarriage at this stage occurs in about 31% of pregnancies
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.