Miscarriage may be described as the loss of a pregnancy, which normally occurs within the first 20 weeks after implantation. Based on statistical findings, between 10 and 20 percent of expectant mothers have a miscarriage at 5 weeks. Again, research findings indicate that most of miscarriages (about 80 percent) occur before the pregnancy is 12 weeks old. However, the loss of fetus after fertilization and before implantation cannot be referred to as a miscarriage. This has to be clarified because research findings indicate that about 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost prior to implantation. In some cases, the loss occurs almost at the same time as the expected period, hence may be hard to tell from a period.
Signs of Miscarriage at 5 Weeks
The occurrence of a miscarriage five weeks into the pregnancy may be misdiagnosed as a late period. This is because five weeks after implantation is approximately a week after the missed period. However, there are various symptoms associated with a miscarriage and which may be used to tell a miscarriage from a late period, some of which are discussed below.
In addition to the shedding of the uterine walls, miscarriage at 5 weeks will also comprise of the pregnancy tissues. As such, the bleeding is normally heavier than a period. At this time, the embryo is not yet developed and no recognizable tissue will be passed along with the blood. However, some blood clots may be noticed. While crimps are normal while having a period, the cramps associated with a miscarriage are more severe. The pain is specifically on the lower abdomen and comes in waves and may be accompanied by a feeling of heaviness within the abdomen.
2. Pregnancy Symptoms
In addition to bleeding, a miscarriage may also be accompanied by some pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, frequent urination and sore breasts. This is because the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body drop during a miscarriage, hence triggering pregnancy symptoms. At this time, an ultrasound will detect the initial signs of pregnancy, the absence of a gestional sac.
3. Changes in Hormone Levels
During a pregnancy, the levels of various reproductive hormones change as human chorionic gonadoptropin hormone (HCG) change. During a normal pregnancy, the level of HCG doubles every two to three days. A variation from this trend may be an indicator of an abnormality in the pregnancy. After a miscarriage, the levels of these hormones will begin to drop, but a home pregnancy test kit may still register positive results a couple of days after the miscarriage.
Possible Causes of Miscarriage at 5 Weeks
1. Chromosomal Problems
During fertilization, an ovum and a sperm come together and each donates 23 chromosomes. This is a rather complex process, which results in the formation of 23 chromosome pairs in the embryo. Minor errors may occur during this process and lead to genetic abnormalities in the embryo. Such genetic errors can prevent implantation, leading to a miscarriage at 5 weeks.
2. Hormonal Imbalances
Currently, hormonal imbalances account for about 15 percent of miscarriages. For instance, a low progesterone hormone level can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, which leads to a miscarriage. Such an imbalance in hormone levels may be diagnosed by undergoing an endometrial biopsy. The procedure is conducted to observe your ovulation and the development of uterine walls and is usually done at the end of the menstrual cycle. Fertility drugs may then be prescribed to remedy this condition.
3. Uterine complications
Currently, there are various uterine complications that have been associated with miscarriage at 5 weeks, such as fibroids, presence of a septum and scouring of uterine walls. In most cases, fibroids develop on the outer uterine walls, hence harmless. However, if fibroids occur on the inner uterine walls, they may prevent implantation or interfere with blood supply to the embryo. This may lead to a miscarriage. In other cases, the miscarriage may be a result of a septum – a wall subdividing the uterine cavity. The tissue wall is present in some women at birth. Scouring of the inner uterine walls is another complication that may hinder implantation. This scratching may be a result of second-term abortions or a surgical procedure in the abdominal region.
4. Chronic Disorders
Based on statistical findings, about six percent of recurring miscarriages are a result of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes as well as kidney and liver diseases. If you are suffering from a chronic disorder, you may need to get an experienced obstetrician to take care of your pregnancy and prevent miscarriage at 5 weeks.
5. High Fever
Regardless of your previous health condition, a high fever can lead to a miscarriage. This particularly happens when the core body temperature rises above 102 degree, during the initial weeks of the pregnancy. High body core temperature is harmful to the embryo for the first six weeks of the pregnancy.
6. Lifestyle (Alcohol, Environmental Toxins and Cigarettes)
Your lifestyle, including drug abuse, prior to and during the pregnancy may also lead to a miscarriage. For instance smokers are two times more likely to have a miscarriage at 5 weeks as compared to the nonsmokers. This is because nicotine can get across uterine walls and interfere with blood supply to the fetus or its development. Taking more than two alcoholic beverages in a day may also lead to a miscarriage. It has also been observed that women who work in certain environments, such as operating rooms, farms, hospital laboratories and dental offices tend to have higher miscarriage rates, but the cause is yet to be ascertained.
After the Miscarriage
Fertility Following a Miscarriage
Normally, a miscarriage early into the pregnancy will impact on your fertility to a certain degree. If you happen to have more then three early miscarriages in a row, it is highly advisable that you see a physician for examination. In some cases, though, the cause of the miscarriages may not be ascertained. Just like it is the case with the death of a close relative, it may take time for the parents to come to terms with the loss of a pregnancy, especially if the miscarriage occurred later in the pregnancy.
Following a miscarriage, different parents react differently. Some may feel guilty over the loss, some will feel distressed, shocked, nub or even angry at the loss. Rather than blaming yourself for the loss, you need to understand that it was not your fault that it happened. Again, if it was bound to happen, there is little you could have done to avert the miscarriage. In most cases, having something with which you can remember the baby will help you recover. For instance, you can keep a scan picture if the miscarriage occurred early in the pregnancy. If it was later in the pregnancy, you will be allowed to see, hold and even take pictures of the baby. Some hospitals offer the mothers a certificate to commemorate the baby.