Incomplete Miscarriage – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Incomplete Miscarriage - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion refers to the loss of the baby before the pregnancy reaches 20 weeks. The loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks is called stillbirth. As per recent studies, every one pregnancy out of 5 results in miscarriage.

What is an Incomplete Miscarriage?

As per the definition, incomplete miscarriage is when the cervix has dilated, and the bleeding has begun, but the tissue is still embedded in the uterus. Sometimes the tissue gets dispelled from the body naturally. Some women, however, require medical intervention to treat the miscarriage.

What Causes Incomplete Miscarriage?

Miscarriages, though painful, are quite common during pregnancy. Some of the miscarriages pass on their own while some of them need medical treatment. The most common reasons for incomplete miscarriages are:

1. Chromosomal Abnormalities

This is an indicator that the chromosomes the baby is carrying might be defective. The damaged egg or sperm cell cause most of these chromosomal abnormalities. A problem during the division process of the zygote could also cause chromosomal abnormalities.

2. Hormonal Problems

An insufficiently developed uterine lining can cause miscarriage. Hormonal imbalance in women with adrenal and thyroid gland problems have been one of the most significant reasons for miscarriage. A higher prolactin level during pregnancy can also disrupt the normal uterine lining development.

3. Structural Problems

The shape of the uterus usually referred to as structural problems, can also cause miscarriage in women. They typically interfere with the implantation of the fertilised egg. Uterine fibroid, a non-cancerous growth in the uterus can also affect the uterine lining resulting in an incomplete miscarriage if the tissue is not expelled from the body.

4. Cervical Issues

This is caused by weakening of the cervical muscle which causes the cervix to open up as the weight of the foetus increases during the pregnancy and puts pressure on the cervical opening.

5. Infections

Some infections like German measles, herpes simplex, ureaplasma, cytomegalovirus, and chlamydia can hamper foetal development and may result in miscarriage.

6. Environmental Factors

Being exposed to toxins in the air for a considerable period during pregnancy can cause miscarriage in some women. Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can also cause miscarriage during pregnancy.

7. Immunologic Causes

Antiphospholipid Antibodies are an immunological problem that can cause miscarriage in women. Blood tests help in detecting the presence of these antibodies.

A pregnant woman suffering from abdominal pain

Signs & Symptoms of an Incomplete Miscarriage

Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms of an incomplete miscarriage

1. Heavy Bleeding

You might start bleeding suddenly, and it increases with every passing hour. If you are experiencing this, then you should see a doctor immediately.

2. Passing Clots

During your pregnancy, if you suddenly start passing big clots, seek medical help immediately as this could be a sign of undergoing incomplete miscarriage.

3. Contractions

You might experience excruciating pain which is similar to contractions of the uterus.

4. Missed Miscarriage

A missed miscarriage, as the name suggests, refers to the situation when the body fails to recognise that the pregnancy is no longer viable. In an incomplete miscarriage, no bleeding is noticed until the hormone levels of the woman decrease, which triggers the uterine lining to shed.

Incomplete Miscarriage Complications

Though most of the miscarriages in early pregnancy are relatively uncomplicated from the health perspective, you should be cautious and see a doctor immediately if you observe some or all of the below-mentioned symptoms:

1. Prolonged Bleeding

Most of the incomplete miscarriages have longer cramping or bleeding period than the normal miscarriages. If you experience fatigue, lightheartedness or an increased heartbeat rate, you should seek medical help immediately. A small percentage of women face the risk of haemorrhaging during their incomplete miscarriage.

2. Infection Risk

An incomplete miscarriage comes with the risk of an infection which can be dangerous if not treated immediately. Fever, chills and a foul-smelling discharge from the vagina are usually the symptoms that indicate you have developed an infection.

3. Asherman Syndrome

In Asherman syndrome, scar tissues, called adhesion’s, form in the uterus, causing fertility problems and further miscarriages. This is a rare complication of a D&C procedure. It is usually corrected by surgically removing the adhesion’s to facilitate pregnancy again.

A pregnant woman suffering from abdominal pain

Treatment Options for an Incomplete Miscarriage

Incomplete miscarriage management can be both invasive and non-invasive depending on the requirement of the patient.

1. Watchful Waiting

Most of the times the body naturally expels all the products of conception by itself. This is a non-invasive and cost-effective approach; however, precautions are to be exercised if you notice heavy and prolonged bleeding.

2. D&C Surgery

This surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia in which the doctor dilates the cervix to access the uterus. Using a curette, the physician scrapes the sides of the uterus to clean off the remains of conception tissues.

3. Cytotec

Cytotec or Misoprostol is a medication that can be administered by mouth, under the cheek or vaginally. It has a higher success rate for pregnancies of a gestational age of 13 weeks or below.

An incomplete miscarriage is very traumatic for a mom-to-be and can fill your mind with anxiety, doubt, and a feeling of loss. You should get plenty of rest and concentrate on eating healthy. Pursue your hobbies or anything that brings joy to your mind. Try meditation to calm your mind and lower your stress levels. If you still feel distressed, seek professional help such as counselling. This will also give your body adequate time to heal so that you can plan for your next pregnancy.

Also Read: Best Ways to Have Natural Miscarriage