A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Miscarriage: Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. A miscarriage may also be called a "spontaneous abortion." This refers to naturally occurring events, not medical abortions. The main sign of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, which may be followed by cramping and pain in your lower abdomen.

Most miscarriages are caused by chromosome problems that make it impossible for the baby to develop. Usually these problems are unrelated to the mother or father's genes. Other possible causes for miscarriage include:
  •     Drug and alcohol abuse
  •     Exposure to environmental toxins
  •     Hormone problems
  •     Infection
  •     Obesity

There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a miscarriage. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs while pregnant. Being a healthy weight before getting pregnant can also help.

Among women who know they are pregnant, it is estimated that 1 in 7 of these pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Many more miscarriages occur before a woman is even aware she has become pregnant.

A miscarriage can be an emotionally and physically draining experience. You may have feelings of guilt, shock and anger. Advice and support is available at this time from hospital counseling services and charity groups. You may also find it beneficial to have a memorial for your lost baby.

If you have vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor.  Most doctors can refer you to an early pregnancy unit at your local hospital straight away if necessary.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

Health Issues

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