Causes, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage at 19 weeks

Most miscarriages usually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. However a miscarriage at 19 weeks or in the second trimester has been known to happen. A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a baby up to the 20th week of pregnancy. Miscarriages that occur between the 12th and 19th weeks of pregnancy are called late miscarriages.  A miscarriage is devastating - whenever it happens.

Miscarriages that occur between the fourth and sixth months of pregnancy are usually due to some problem with the mother rather than the fetus.

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Some of the reasons for a miscarriage when 19 weeks pregnant are outlined below:-

Causes of miscarriage at 19 weeks

  • Chromosomal abnormalities: This is a more common cause for first trimester miscarriages but often the abnormalities go undetected and only come to light after a late miscarriage.
  • An incompetent cervix: This is one that is weaker and softer than a usual cervix. The weight of the growing fetus puts pressure on it and it may dilate and shorten before you reach full term. Doctors may (under anesthesia) put a stitch around the cervix to prevent this from happening. This procedure is called a cervical cerclage.
  • Prenatal tests: Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is carried out between 10-12 weeks and amniocentesis between 15-18 weeks. Both these tests could cause miscarriages.
  • Placental abruption: This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before 40 weeks. Causes of this are unknown but it is more likely in mothers who smoke, drink or are on drugs. Older mothers are at risk too. Hypertensive mothers or expectant women who have met with an accident could face this as well.
  • Preterm rupture of Membranes: This happens when the amniotic sac breaks prematurely and the amniotic fluid leaks out. This has serious consequences as it hastens the delivery of a pre term baby who could face long term problems.
  • Other causes include infections, abdominal trauma, thrombophilia disorders, placenta previa, heart defects of the fetus and congenital birth defects.

Miscarriages are also possible after 19 weeks. A miscarriage that occurs after the 20th week is termed a still birth.

Bleeding is the most common sign of the miscarriage. Internal bleeding has been known to occur as well. This leads to the stomach bloating and shoulder pain. Vaginal pressure, low back pain, increased vaginal discharge, diarrhea, cramping or tightness in the stomach area; the passing of clots and frequent urination are other signs of a miscarriage at 19 weeks.

A miscarriage or spontaneous abortion refers to the loss of a pregnancy, before it reaches the 20th week. After the 20th week, the loss of pregnancy is known as a stillbirth. The chances of a miscarriage are relatively high in the first trimester of pregnancy, but as you cross the 13th week and enter the second trimester, the risk reduces significantly. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage at 19 weeks are much lower as compared to the first and third trimesters. Studies indicate that the risk of miscarriage at 19 weeks is less than 1%, as your baby will be nearly fully developed by this time. Nevertheless, though pregnancy loss at 19 weeks is rare, it can happen. The chances of miscarriage at 19 weeks may increase, in case you have had a miscarriage in an earlier pregnancy.

Symptoms of miscarriage at 19 weeks

The warning signs at 19 weeks pregnant are not very different from what you may see during the first trimester. The most common miscarriage at 19 weeks symptoms include vaginal bleeding, spotting, cramps and pain. Some of the other symptoms that you may also notice include:

  • Passing of blood clots or tissue
  • Heavy discharge that is usually pink or brown in color
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinating frequently
  • Tightness in the tummy
  • Vaginal pressure
  • Leakage of fluid

At times, a miscarriage at 19 weeks could be accompanied by internal bleeding, which is usually characterized by a bloated feeling in the stomach or shoulder pain. Therefore, in case any of these symptoms show up, you need to consult your doctor right away.

Of course, you may not experience all these symptoms in case you are having a miscarriage; it is possible for you to just experience one or two of them. For example, there are many women who just notice leakage of fluid along with pieces of tissue. There have also been several instances where women do not experience any of these symptoms even when they miscarry. In such cases, the usual pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, breast tenderness, food cravings or aversions and so on may be the only sign that there has been a miscarriage. Therefore, in case you notice any drastic decline in the pregnancy symptoms you have been experiencing so far, you need to go for a checkup right away.

Do bear in mind that there have been several women who have experienced the symptoms of miscarriage at 19 weeks, but have gone on to have healthy babies. This is because these signs are a warning that something is wrong. If you seek emergency medical help, your doctor may be able to avert the miscarriage, but rectifying the problem. If that is possible, you will need to take complete bed rest and follow a specific diet, till your doctor asks you to.

At 19 weeks, the fetus will have developed considerably and should resemble a thinner version of the baby. Therefore, in case of a miscarriage at 19 weeks, a lot of the body tissue will remain within the uterus. Your body will not be able to remove this tissue on its own. The doctor will need to perform a procedure call Dilation and Curettage (D&C) immediately after the miscarriage, to remove the remaining tissue. If this is not done soon, it could lead to infections and other major complications.

Needless to state that a miscarriage is one of the most traumatic and devastating experiences of a woman's life, affecting not just her, but her entire family in some cases. Family members are strongly advised to look for signs of depression and emotional trauma in the mother. There are several help and support groups you can join, where you interact with other people who have been through the same experience as you have. Sharing your experiences with others and talking about how you feel can have a therapeutic effect on you and can enable you to get over the trauma sooner.

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