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NOTE: Opinions and advice provided on this website are based on the personal experience of the author, Stacy Quarty. Ms. Quarty in no way claims to be a professional source of medical, psychological or statistical information.

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Miscarriage

Q. I had a miscarriage in April at 10 weeks, and I am now pregnant again (four weeks). I'm experiencing the same severe cramping at night as in my first pregnancy. The cramps are menstrual-like and have woken me up twice at night. I am not spotting and did eat a little ice cream, so this may be digestion-related because I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The pains feel more like a uterine contraction, but ease off after 5-10 minutes. Is this a possible sign of miscarriage again?
-Anonymous, California

A. If you are not spotting or bleeding, then you are probably experiencing gas pains. Combined with IBS, the horror-mones of pregnancy can really tie your stomach in knots. I remember having such bad gas pains during my second pregnancy that I thought I would pass out. See the other "gas" questions for more details.

Q. I experienced a miscarriage in December at 12 weeks. I had a positive pregnancy test in early February. I experienced some cramping and bleeding similar to that during my miscarriage. My doctor was concerned about an ectopic pregnancy, but the ultrasound showed that I had an ovarian cyst and there was no problem. I also had my hormone levels checked – the first time: 12,500. Two days later: 14,000. Two more days later: 25,000. However, my breast tenderness has diminished and fullness has decreased. I am still feeling nauseous once in a while. My doctor is very confused, and so am I.
-Anonymous, WY

A. If your hormone levels continue to rise as they have been, you are probably still pregnant. Diminished breast tenderness and fullness is not always an indicator of the end of pregnancy. These symptoms may lessen as your hormone levels balance out. Some pregnancy symptoms come and go, such as nausea. I thought I was over it at 10 weeks, but it returned at 38 weeks.

The bleeding and cramping may have been due to your ovarian cyst as your doctor indicated. In any case, your doctor will probably want to monitor you more closely over the next few weeks to see how the pregnancy is progressing.

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Q. I'm eight weeks pregnant and my OB said that my hormone level is low, which can lead to a miscarriage. How can I bring my hormone level up so that doesn't happen?
-Hannah, Florida

A. Your doctor should prescribe Progesterone, a hormone that helps to keep the uterine lining (and the pregnancy) in tact. If your doctor has not given you any medication and your hormone level continues to be low, you may want to ask about Progesterone.

Q. I'm eight weeks pregnant with my second child. My first pregnancy was a miscarriage at eight weeks. My OB/GYN says everything looks really good so far, but I'm scared TO DEATH of having another miscarriage. I'm beginning to lose sleep because I wonder if the baby is all right. Any help would be appreciated.
-Anonymous, Oklahoma

A. The good news is that you have just four more weeks until you are out of the first trimester, which is statistically the most common time for miscarriage. Most early miscarriages are caused by fetal abnormalities or conditions not being "just right" in the uterus for proper implantation and placental growth. In other words, a miscarriage means the pregnancy was just not meant to be. Since you've recently had one miscarriage, the odds are in your favor to carry this pregnancy to term.

Unfortunately, whether you have a miscarriage or not is out of your control. All you can do is wait and see. While you are waiting, try to think positively. Enjoy your pregnancy. Go ahead and have hopes and dreams for this little one and your lives together. After all, if you can't enjoy it, you're not really living life to the fullest.

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Q. I am currently 5-6 weeks pregnant with my first baby. When I was 16 years old, I had to have a vaginal septum removal/repair. I remember being told that my uterine walls may be too weak to hold a pregnancy. It's almost 10 years later and the doctor no longer has my records and now it's a guessing game. I know that no incisions were made into the uterus itself, and that the doctor said my cervix is fine. Is there legitimate reason for concern, or am I just being paranoid? If I miscarry, I don't think I would ever want to try again. I already have this slight feeling of being defective. I don't want that to continue.
-Brandi, Colorado

A. Note: A transverse or longitudinal vaginal septum is a tissue separation within the vagina and/or uterus formed as a result of a reproductive tract not being fully developed.

Most vaginal septums are discovered in adolescence and can be repaired successfully with surgery. In some cases, the surgery is so extensive that the uterine wall may be damaged and may not be strong enough to hold a pregnancy.

Since you and your current doctor don't have a record of exactly the extent of your procedure, it is, in essence, a guessing game. On the positive side, your cervix looks good and your previous doctor did not warn you not to get pregnant. Most doctors will give you the worst case scenario – not to scare you, but to cover their asses legally. If the doctor didn't tell you that your uterine walls "may be weak" and they turned out to be weak, then he or she would be liable for a sizeable lawsuit.

I think it's normal to worry about miscarriage, whether you have an average reproductive history or not. All I can tell you is that you'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, enjoy your pregnancy. (See the other miscarriage questions for more details.)

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Q. I went for an early ultrasound this week due to some very slight bleeding which had been occurring for several days. I was seven weeks pregnant. The ultrasound showed that the uterine sac was empty, and it was likely I had miscarried. Is this unusual? I was having symptoms of being pregnant, but these stopped about a week before I had my ultrasound. It appears that I was pregnant, but the baby never started to form. What are the chances of this happening next time we try to conceive? My doctor took some more blood after the ultrasound to see if my hormone levels were starting to reduce, but they were still increasing. Isn't that unusual? The same day I got my blood results back my period started.
-Anonymous, Australia

A. Although it's not all that common, an empty amniotic sac can happen. The fetus stops developing, but the placenta and the sac continue to develop. This fools your body into thinking that you still may be pregnant, making your hormone levels go up and up. Eventually the woman's body figures it out and expels the sac. I don't think you need to worry about this happening again. As far as I can tell, there are no statistics that show your odds are not good for carrying a normal pregnancy to term the next time you get pregnant.

Q. I am 31 years old and I had two miscarriages about four years ago. I recently got pregnant again (about four weeks along) and I am having painful lower abdominal cramps, but no bleeding. I am really scared of this being the sign of another miscarriage. How do you know when painful lower abdominal cramps become a problem?
-Anonymous, Maryland

A. In early pregnancy, lower abdominal cramping, similar to period cramps, is common. This usually only lasts for a week or two. The cramping can be caused by implantation of the ovum into the uterine wall or your body adjusting to a different flux of hormones.

These cramps can be problematic if they are accompanied by bleeding, are contraction-like (coming and going every on regular time intervals) and encompass the abdomen and lower back, or if they are so intense you feel like you cannot breathe. If you experience any of these symptoms, then you should contact your doctor ASAP to check it out.

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Q. I had cramping, tenderness on one side and very mild spotting (when I wiped, it was a little bit pink), so my doctor ordered an ultrasound. At this point, my doctor thought I was five weeks but I think I miscalculated by four or five days. Anyway, the doctor at the ultrasound clinic told me my lining was getting thicker, but that what should be the baby was just a blood clot and there was nothing viable there. He also mentioned there was no heartbeat and I should prepare for the worst. However, I had my hormone levels tested and they were right where they should be. Could it have been too early for an ultrasound and that's why the doctor thought there was nothing viable?
-Lisa, Oregon

A. It's possible that it was too early to detect the fetal heartbeat. Most ultrasounds will reveal a heartbeat between four and six weeks. It's also possible to have HCG levels that continue to rise as if you have a viable pregnancy when, in fact, the embryonic sac is empty. (See the other empty sac question for more details.)

If you continue to have cramping and bleeding, you may be beginning a miscarriage. If you don't miscarry in another week, then I imagine your doctor will order another sonogram to see where things stand. By that time you should be able to tell for sure if the pregnancy is viable or not.

Q. I had a miscarriage two weeks ago. I was just about seven weeks. I did not get an ultrasound, blood test or a D&C. I had both stringy blood and tissue come out. Can I still be pregnant or newly pregnant? I still feel pregnant, have sore breasts and a bigger belly. I'm usually really thin. I still cry over everything, even commercials. I had sex three days before the apparent miscarriage, which would have been around the middle of my cycle if I weren't pregnant. What do you think is going on?
-Susan, Florida

A. It's possible that you are still pregnant. Bloody discharge, sometimes even with tissue in it, does not necessarily mean miscarriage. My friend Dana had a similar experience in her second month and saw small bits of lumpy tissue in the blood. She thought she surely had a miscarriage and was devastated. As it turned out, the baby was fine. Her doctor told her it might have been some kind of uterine polyps her body was dispelling in the early stages of pregnancy.

I recommend visiting your local OB/GYN ASAP to check it out. And, if you did experience a miscarriage, you may need to have a D&C or a similar procedure to prevent infection.

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Q. I had two miscarriages last year. The first was around week six and the second around week 10. I am now pregnant again, only about four weeks. With both previous pregnancies I had no morning sickness. I have not experienced any morning sickness. Should I be concerned? Is it true that if you have morning sickness you will be less likely to miscarry?
-Anonymous, Maryland

A. The presence or absence of morning sickness during pregnancy is not an indicator of whether the pregnancy is a keeper, or if the baby will have a full head of hair, be a difficult child or be a girl. These are all old wives’ tales.

And, if you did or didn't have morning sickness with one pregnancy, it doesn't mean that you'll experience the same thing with other pregnancies. I wouldn't worry unless you display real signs of miscarriage, such as severe cramping and bleeding.

Q. I did an egg donor procedure and got pregnant. After two months I went dancing with friends at a party, since my doctor never said anything about keeping still. The following day, I lost the baby. Is it true that you have to be still and not do normal chores at home? I'm going to try for a second procedure and I want to be careful this time. Thanks!
-Anonymous, California

A. I'm fairly confident that your dancing has nothing to do with the miscarriage, unless you danced to the point of dehydration and exhaustion. The only time your OB/GYN may recommend rest and a break from jarring physical activity is when your have bleeding, severe cramping and/or have placenta previa or placenta accreta.

So, go ahead and dance, but no marathon Salsa contests!

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Disclaimer: This web site, Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, and the book it represents, Frankly Pregnant: A Candid Week-by-Week Guide to the Unexpected Joys, Raging Hormones, and Common Experiences of Pregnancy, in no way claim to be sources for expert medical or professional advice of any kind.

©2006 Frankly Pregnant: The Reality Site of Pregnancy, by Stacy Quarty. All rights reserved.

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