Miscarriage also known as spontaneous abortion is the termination of pregnancy before the age of fetal viability or expulsion of fetus or embryo weighing less than 500g. It occurs naturally without any human intervention and complicates about 15–20% pregnancies globally. The age of fetal viability varies from country to country depending on the level of technological development and fetal salvage rate. The age of fetal viability in Norway is 16 weeks, in Australia its 20 weeks, 24 weeks in the UK, 26 weeks in Spain and Italy while in Nigeria the age of fetal viability is 28 weeks of gestation. Causes of miscarriage include morphologic/genetic/chromosomal abnormalities, immunological and endocrine factors, structural uterine anomalies, cervical incompetence, maternal infections and toxins. It is classified into threatened miscarriage, inevitable miscarriage, incomplete miscarriage, septic miscarriage, missed miscarriage and complete miscarriage. Miscarriage has profound and tremendous psychologic and emotional effects on mothers before or during subsequent gestations. Every effort must be made to show understanding and empathy.
Part of the book: Complications of Pregnancy