How common are miscarriages?

Miscarriages are very common and occur in about 40% of conceptions. Often no cause is found although often it is due to a failure of the embryo to develop properly. An early miscarriage is sometimes mistaken for a late, heavy period and the only way you know it wasn''t is because a pregnancy test was positive. Miscarriages are relatively common up until about 12 weeks of pregnancy, and the warning signs are abdominal cramps and vaginal bleeding which may be heavy. You may then be referred to your hospital, and if a scan and/or internal examination confirms that you have miscarried then often you will need a short operation under general or local anaesthetic just to make sure that the womb is completely empty. This is called an ERPC (evacuation of retained products of conception) or is sometimes, though incorrectly, called a ''D & C''.
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