Miscarriages & Ovulation Phases
Nearly 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That too within the first 12 weeks! Loss of pregnancy 20 weeks prior to gestation is defined as miscarriage. And if there are three or more consecutive and spontaneous pregnancy losses, it is referred as recurrent miscarriage. To be aware of the causes, symptoms and preventive steps can prove helpful in preventing miscarriages.
Causes of Miscarriage
- Infections:An increasing number of miscarriages have been attributed to maternal infections. Mostly, foetal and placental infections lead to loss of pregnancy. Herpes simplex, Cytomegalo virus, and major immunosuppressive disease like AIDS may also cause miscarriage.
- Hormonal factors:Certain diseases like crushing syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disease and inadequate function of the corpus luteum may also cause miscarriage.
- Tobacco/Drugs:Chewing tobacco, consuming alcohol and using drugs during pregnancy are potent causes of miscarriage.
- Genetic factors:Miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities generally occur in the 1st and 2nd semester. As women age, they attract higher risk of early miscarriage.
- Vascular disease:Immune system affecting the body collagen thereby attacking joints and other tissues is referred as collagen vascular disease. It is a major cause of miscarriage in pregnancy.
- Diabetes:Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to miscarriage. Also, if diabetes deteriorates; it can lead to birth defects. And so during preganancy, it is important to keep sugar intake under check. Regular checkups are helpful.
Most Common Symptoms of Miscarriage:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain
At times, miscarriages do not present any symptoms. Worse, it can only be detected with the help of an ultrasound test. That said, any form of lower abdominal pain should not be ignored.
Miscarriages can be serious if there is…
- Intense bleeding that requires frequent change of sanitary pads
- Bleeding along with dizziness
- Severe stomach pain (could be ectopic pregnancy)
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Itching sensation & pain at vagina
All the above conditions are potentially serious and must be treated immediately.
The biological process of producing and discharging the eggs from an ovary / ovarian follicle is ovulation. It is important to understand ovulation cycle as it is a normal physiological change occurring in a woman’s body. Further, it is a prerequisite for normal fertility in a woman.
Ovulation cycle is the most fertile period of the woman’s menstrual cycle presenting higher chances of conception. This fertile period starts 4 – 5 days before ovulation and ends about 24 – 48 hours after ovulation. Cycle length can vary from month to month. In a regular menstrual cycle, there is upto 8 days variation between two cycles.
Hormones causing ovulation cycle:
- Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone(GnRH): Hypothalamus produces the hormone called GnRH. This hormone stimulates pituitary gland to produce hormone called gonadotrophins and is therefore called Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone.
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): Produced by pituitary gland, this hormone stimulates the ovaries and causes development of the follicles.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH):A second hormone produced by pituitary gland, this hormone stimulates ovaries and is the ovulation hormone.
- Estrogen: This hormone is produced by the ovaries and act on genitals and also on several different organs and gets the feminine structure
- Progesterone: Secreted by ovaries, this hormone stimulates ovaries.
The menstrual cycle is the scientific term for the physiological changes occurring in a woman’s body. The number of days between the first days of the menstruation to the next day of the next menstruation is the menstrual cycle length. While 21 – 35 days is considered normal, the cycle length averages 28 days. Four phases in menstrual cycle are listed below:
- Menstrual phase: This is the first phase in ovulation cycle with menstrual blood flow ad symptoms like mild pain in the lower abdominal area.
- Follicular phase: This is the second phases and for a 28-day cycle, it lasts from Day 1 to Day 14. This phase involves follicle development with one of the follicle containing the ovum or egg to be released.
- Ovulation phase: Shortest of all phases, it helps in releasing the ovum/egg from the developing follicles into the ovaries.
Lateral Phase: Last of all phases, it ranges from days between ovulation to the last day of the woman’s menstrual cycle.