A miscarriage is a shock, no matter how early in the pregnancy it happens. You may learn about the pregnancy loss only when a routine ultrasound indicates there is no longer a heartbeat. Spotting, cramping or heavy bleeding that indicates or accompanies a miscarriage can be frightening. It is common to experience a series of emotions ranging from disbelief, anger, sadness, and grief. Partners often respond in different ways at different times. Men may feel they have to be strong for their partner and as a result do not allow their feelings to surface.
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Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Approximately 20 percent or 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and often a cause is never found. Most miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and are usually a single occurrence. However if a woman endures three consecutive miscarriages, they are considered recurring miscarriages.
In the world of fertility treatment, pregnancy and miscarriage are delicate topics. We strive to reach the end of the first trimester, so we can finally exhale ever so slightly after 12 weeks of carrying our eggs in one basket, literally. The fact of the matter is, 1 in 5 pregnancies will end in miscarriage and more than 50% of those are due to chromosomal abnormalities.
By examining the chromosomes in an embyro using preimplantation genetic screening and only implanting healthy, normal embryos, doctors can reduce the miscarriage rate, explains Dr. Jamie Grifo, Program Director of the NYU Fertility Center and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, NYU School of Medicine.
Dr. Ruth Lathi, with Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center, explains that most miscarriages are the result of fetal or embryonic problems, but women who have multiple miscarriages may have underlying factors that should be looked into.
Carolyn B. Coulam, M.D., is an associate physician at Reproductive Medicine Institute and is Board Certified in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and in the sub-specialty of reproductive endocrinology. Here, she discusses whether or not immunological issues can be treated for.