Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - 19

Association, 85 percent of women who've
had one miscarriage will go on to have a
subsequent successful pregnancy.

Miscarriage Symptoms

Although some women might experience light spotting early in pregnancy,
it's important to report any abdominal cramping or bleeding to your doctor immediately.
"Often it turns out to be nothing,
but any kind of pain or bleeding in the
first trimester needs to be reported and
investigated. Don't just wait it out,"
Gersh says. Some conditions, such as
ectopic pregnancy, which is when the
fertilized egg attaches itself outside the
uterus, can be life-threatening for the
mother if left untreated.

Reasons It Happens

Many women wrongly blame themselves
when they suffer a miscarriage, thinking
it was related to stress, sex or exercise.
None of those have been shown to cause
miscarriage. Two exceptions would be
if a woman has a diagnosis of placenta
previa (low-lying placenta) or cervical
insufficiency (the cervix dilates too
quickly), in which case doctors advise
avoiding sexual intercourse.
Below are some of the most common
causes of miscarriage.
3 Chromosomal problems. Issues
with chromosomes account for about
60 percent of miscarriages. These
might include a blighted ovum (an
embryo implants but doesn't develop),
a molar pregnancy (a tumor forms in
the uterine lining) or a translocation
(chromosomes become attached or
fragments of chromosomes break off
and trade places). A chromosomal issue
is not typically identified unless parents receive genetic testing or a sample
is analyzed by a lab, which can happen
if the patient has a dilation and curettage procedure to remove tissue from
the uterus. But Gersh stresses that
even if the cause is genetic, "it's not

necessarily the sign of an underlying
recurring problem."
3 Anatomical issues. Some conditions, such as a septate (divided)
uterus or cervical insufficiency, can
lead to miscarriage but can often be
remedied with surgical procedures
before trying to conceive again.
3 Infection. Sexually transmitted diseases and listeriosis, a food-poisoning
illness where bacteria can be passed
to the developing embryo or fetus, are
two examples of infections that could
cause miscarriage.

Risk Factors

The following factors can increase the
chances of losing a pregnancy.
3 Age. Women ages 35 and older are
more likely to miscarry.
3 Recurrent miscarriages. Having
two or more miscarriages increases the
chance of having a future one.
3 Environmental toxins. These
include cigarettes, alcohol, recreational
drugs and exposure to chemical solvents (such as paint thinners).
3 Health issues. Certain diseases,
especially when poorly managed, might
affect a woman's ability to carry a
pregnancy to term. These include autoimmune disorders, such as diabetes,

CALL

Resources for
Pregnancy Loss
Connecting with others who
can relate to this life-altering
experience is an important part
of the healing process. That's
why the Gwinnett Women's
Pavilion provides a support
group focused on helping
families move forward. To learn
more, call 678-312-4786.

thyroid disease and antiphospholipid
antibody syndrome, which can cause
blood clots. Hormonal concerns, like
polycystic ovarian syndrome and luteal
phase defect, which can lead to low
levels of progesterone, an essential
pregnancy hormone, can also increase
miscarriage risk. ■

Healing After
a Loss
Experiencing a miscarriage is more than
just physically painful. It can also impact
mental and emotional health, even
increasing the risk of depression, which
can be further intensified by hormonal
fluctuations related to pregnancy.
During this difficult time, support
is essential. Kathryn Parris, MD,
medical director of Women's Services
at GMC, offers a few healing tips:
Don't minimize grief. "This is
something of great magnitude, and
it shouldn't be minimized. Start by
acknowledging what happened and
don't downplay it," says Dr. Parris.
Get professional support. Many
women find it helpful to see a therapist
who can help them work through
feelings of shock, sadness and anger.
Surround yourself with people
who get it. "It's natural to feel
overwhelmed and alone," says Dr.
Parris. However, with groups, like GMC's
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
Group, bereaved parents have the
opportunity to share their thoughts and
feelings with a group that can empathize
and relate."
Practice self-care. Whether this
means meditating, traveling, exercising
or spending time in nature, find what
soothes and nurtures you. "Another
popular option is massage because of its
ability to decrease stress hormones, like
cortisol, and increase feel-good ones,
like serotonin," notes Dr. Parris.

FALL 2019

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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC

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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - Cover1
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/vimvigor_2020fall-gmc
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/vimvigor_2020summer-gmc
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/vimvigor_2016winter-gmc
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcmurry/vimvigor_2013fall-gmc
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcmurry/vimvigor_2011winter-gmc
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcmurry/vimvigor_2011fall-gmc
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