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Dr Renee talks to OK! Magazine about Miscarraige

This Christmas Eve, we were greeted with the sad that Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall have suffered the loss of their baby. It is thought that Zara was approximately 4 months pregnant.

The news will touch the heart of everyone, especially those women who have suffered a miscarriage themselves. Miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy before it reaches 23 weeks, is common. 1 in 4 known pregnancies end this way. 85% of those happen before the 12th week. Zara has suffered a late miscarriage.

The signs of miscarriage are usually vaginal bleeding and pain. However, not all vaginal bleeding in pregnancy leads to miscarriage. Light bleeding is common in the first 13 weeks. Some women don’t have any signs of miscarriage and the loss is discovered at a scan. In these cases some women have to have a procedure to remove the pregnancy.

Zara will likely be asking what caused her miscarriage but in most cases this is never identified and it is rarely caused by something the woman has done. It is thought that most miscarriages happen because of a chromosomal problem with the baby (chromosomes carry the information that builds the baby). Sometimes, when the miscarriage is late, the mother can have an underlying health issue that has affected the pregnancy.

There is no way of knowing which pregnancies will end in miscarriage but the risk does increase with age. A woman aged under 30 has a 1 in 10 chance of miscarriage, 35-39; a 2 in 10 chance and over 45; a 5 in 10 chance. Women often want to know if they can do anything to minimise the chances of a miscarriage. Certainly by not smoking or drinking alcohol, not using street drugs, keeping to a healthy weight before getting pregnant and limiting caffeine will keep your pregnancy as healthy as possible. If you have diabetes or thyroid disease you will need have your disease control optimised before pregnancy and close specialist input during the pregnancy.

The question most women want the answer to after a miscarriage is ‘will it happen again?’. The good news for Zara is that when she is ready, most women will go on and have a successful pregnancy after a miscarriage. The most important thing is that the woman is given the time, space and help to grieve their loss. Falling pregnant again can be attempted after one period and whenall symptoms have settled. For now, our hearts go out to Zara and Mike and to any woman suffering such a sad loss.

See the article in OK! online here


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