Miscarriages, known as abortions in medical terms, are relatively common. Every fifth pregnancy results in a miscarriage. A miscarriage up to the 12th week of pregnany is known as an early abortion. A miscarriage can have different causes which either lie with tche mother or the child. Vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain can be signs of an impending miscarriage.
Not every pregnancy develops without complications. Spontaneous miscarriage occurs in the early stage of pregnancy quite often. It is estimated that around 20 % of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The risk increases the older the mother is. Women over the age of 35 are around twice as likely to have a miscarriage as women under the age of 30. There can be very different reasons for a miscarriage and they could lie with the mother or the child. Infections, hormonal disorders, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, uterine myomas or cervical weakness can be maternal reasons for a miscarriage. On the side of the foetus, mostly malformations and chromosome anomalies (e.g. Down syndrome) cause a miscarriage.
Spotting, abdominal pain or contractions of the uterus can be signs of a possible miscarriage. The passing of blood clots, tissue parts and the sudden disappearance of pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness point to a miscarriage. In the early phase of a pregnancy, a miscarriage can also occur unnoticed.
At the first signs of irregularities or symptoms, women should immediately undergo a gynaecological examination. Imminent miscarriage can sometimes be prevented with bed rest, contraction-inhibiting medication and with the treatment of possible risk factors. Only an ultrasound of the uterus can ultimately provide clarity as to whether a miscarriage has taken place, or not.
If there has been an incomplete miscarriage or when the dead foetus is still in the uterus, contraction-inducing medication is used. A curettage of the uterus is often necessary after a miscarriage. Find out more in the uterine surgery section.
Every miscarriage is a life-changing and onerous experience for the parents. Professional psychotherapeutic support can help to process what has happened. Stillborn children with a minimum weight of 500 grams or those born after the fully completed 22nd week of pregnancy must be registered at the Civil Registry Office. However, the parents can also register miscarriages under 500 grams and those which occur before the 22nd week of pregnancy at the Civil Registry Office to make it easier to mourn and to simplify any burial.