Spontaneous abortion (SAB), or miscarriage- causes, symptoms and pregnancy problems

Spontaneous abortion (SAB), or miscarriage, is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on it's own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation. The medical name spontaneous abortion (SAB) gives many women a negative feeling, so throughout this article we will refer to any type of spontaneous abortion or pregnancy loss under 20 weeks as miscarriage.

Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.

Most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, but with the great number of recognized miscarriages that occur, it is beneficial to be informed about miscarriage, in the unfortunate event that you find yourself or someone you know faced with one.

There can be many confusing terms and moments that accompany a miscarriage. There are different types of miscarriage, different treatments for each, and different statistics for what your chances are of having one. The following information gives a broad overview of miscarriage. This information is provided to help equip you with knowledge so that you might not feel so alone or lost if you face a possible miscarriage situation. As with most pregnancy complications, remember that the best person you can usually talk to and ask questions of is your health care provider.
Why do miscarriages occur?

The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality - meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a faulty egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process.
Other causes for miscarriage include (but are not limited to):

Hormonal problems, infections or maternal health problems

Lifestyle (i.e. smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)

Implantation of the egg into the uterine lining does not occur properly

Maternal age

Maternal trauma

Factors that are not proven to cause miscarriage are sex, working outside the home (unless in a harmful environment) or moderate exercise.
What are the chances of having a Miscarriage?

For women in childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance.

An increase in maternal age affects the chances of miscarriage
Women under the age of 35 yrs old have about a 15% chance of miscarriage

Women who are 35-45 yrs old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage
Women over the age of 45 can have up to a 50% chance of miscarriage
A woman who has had a previous miscarriage has a 25% chance of having another (only a slightly elevated risk than for someone who has not had a previous miscarriage)
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