Miscarriage Explained


One in seven women will have a miscarriage, and 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies will end in one. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains that a miscarriage, or loss of a fetus, can occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The loss of a fetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy is defined as a stillbirth.

Common symptoms:
• Bleeding

Fifty percent of pregnancies can have bleeding, so remaining in constant contact with your doctor is vital if this happens.

Treatment options
If a woman has what’s called an incompetent cervix, her cervix will dilate, or open, painlessly and without contractions, in the second trimester of pregnancy. The cervix is meant to remain closed until the baby is ready to be born, so this dilation can cause a miscarriage. To prevent this from happening, doctors can sew the cervix closed in a procedure called cervical cerclage, which is performed at approximately 13 to 14 weeks.

If you want to get pregnant, make sure to schedule pre-conceptual care, where your obstetrician will look for potential complications such as:

Autoimmune problems like lupus
Thyroid problems
Thrombophilias, or blood clotting disorders
• Genetic disorders

Miscarriage resources from the March of Dimes
Wendy Williams shares her story