Pregnancy cramps am I having a miscarriage?

(June 1, 2010)

Pregnancy Cramping

Having a miscarriage can be scary, as well as emotionally and physically traumatic. It is calculated that 15% of pregnant women suffer a miscarriage, and out of these, more than 50% occur during the first trimester. A miscarriage may differ from person to person. While in some cases, miscarriage may be accompanied by heavy bleeding and pain, sometimes, a woman may not even come to know that she has had a miscarriage.

What is miscarriage? Losing a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy is termed a ‘miscarriage’. At this juncture, the fetus (baby) is incapable of surviving on its own outside the mother’s womb.

It can happen due to infections (like rubella), genital tract abnormalities (fibroids), maternal diseases (like diabetes), or genetic abnormalities in the sperm. Drug abuse, chemical hazards at home or in the workplace, or even certain medicines have been known to cause a miscarriage.

What are pregnancy cramps? Most women feel some cramping during pregnancy, especially during the first three months. This is usually caused by the stretching of the muscles of the uterus, in order to accommodate the growing baby. The ligaments under the uterus also stretch and become stronger to support the baby, leading to a dull ache.  Some women feel a cramping when the egg is being implanted in the uterus. Sometimes, even indigestion and gas can cause cramping during pregnancy. This is because the internal organs get shifted around, causing an achy sensation.

Cramping during pregnancy can be dull or sharp, last for just a few minutes or carry on for a longer time.

Pregnancy cramps and miscarriage? A miscarriage usually involves a great deal of bleeding. But just like all bleeding during pregnancy does not mean a miscarriage, similarly, all cramping does not always signal a miscarriage. However, if the cramping is very severe or sharp, or if it carries on for a long time, do not ignore it. It is better to consult your doctor, as it may be a sign of miscarriage. Your doctor will probably order an ultrasound to find out if the pregnancy is progressing normally or not.

Here are a few signs to look out for:

•    A miscarriage in the first 6 weeks of pregnancy may have mild cramping along with bleeding, which often looks like a heavy period.

•    Between 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, miscarriage is usually signaled by moderate cramping or pain along with heavy bleeding.

•    After 12 weeks of pregnancy a miscarriage is usually accompanied by heavy bleeding and pain and cramping which is so severe, that it feels like labor pains.

Submitted by P T on June 1, 2010 at 04:16

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