When you’ve been trying to conceive, a positive pregnancy test is exceedingly exciting and filled with so many expectations of what’s to come. It’s more than understandable that when you experience a miscarriage at 11 weeks, so close to the end of the first trimester, it can be a tremendous strain physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, a miscarriage before 12 weeks is quite common. According to the March of Dimes, between 10 and 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, that doesn’t make the loss any less heartbreaking.
What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. Miscarriage happens most often during the first trimester, which is before 12 weeks. If you’ve had a miscarriage at 11 weeks, you are sadly not alone. Around 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, which is between the first week and 13 weeks. Still, as frequently as women experience pregnancy loss, many do not discuss it and it can still feel isolating if you don’t seek the support you may need.
What Are the Symptoms of a Miscarriage at 11 Weeks?
The signs of a miscarriage can vary from person to person. It also depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Overall, these are some symptoms to make note of:
- Cramping or severe pain in the abdomen and/or back
- Decrease in pregnancy symptoms
- Other fluid passing from the vagina
- Vaginal bleeding, spotting, or passing of blood clots
These symptoms aren’t necessarily confirmation you’re experiencing a pregnancy loss, but should you notice any of these or have concerns, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you make an appointment. If your doctor confirms that you are having a miscarriage at 11 weeks, they will discuss if any medical intervention is necessary. You may be required to take medication or have a procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C).
What if I’ve Had More Than One Miscarriage?
Whether you’ve had a miscarriage at 11 weeks previously or a miscarriage at any point in your pregnancy, if you’ve had more than two miscarriages, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), you may have a diagnosis of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL). You may want to consider seeking the help of a Reproductive Endocrinologist to see if they can provide a diagnosis and treat what may be preventing you from carrying a pregnancy to term. RPL can be caused by several different possibilities; uterine anomalies, endocrine issues or a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo.
Since about half of all first trimester miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, one way to reduce the risk of miscarriage would be to undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). PGS (which is now called PGT-A) can test for chromosomal abnormalities in embryos prior to implantation. PGS can improve the chance of a healthy pregnancy by selecting embryos that appear to be chromosomally normal to transfer into your uterus. This would significantly decrease the chance of miscarriage.
What Steps Can You Take to Prevent a Miscarriage at 11 Weeks?
Regrettably, miscarriages can never be completely prevented. However, you can work with your fertility doctor to explore ways to reduce the possibility of additional miscarriages based on your medical history. After a thorough exam, he or she may determine what has been causing the pregnancy losses and be able to address it or as mentioned earlier, through genetic testing and IVF, insight may be gained into your embryo quality.
In addition, you can also speak to your doctor about whether or not they feel implantation, or your endometrial lining is a concern. If so, you can consider a test called Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA). ERA can determine your personalized implantation window. This way, your doctor will know the ideal time to transfer the embryo during your IVF cycle to give it the best chance of implanting in the uterus.
Another option is something called Products of Conception (POC) testing. If you’ve been going through fertility treatment or you’re already under the care of a doctor and you experience a miscarriage at 11 weeks, POC testing may be a possibility. POC testing is done on tissue from the lost pregnancy and evaluates the chromosomes to help provide insight into what has caused the miscarriage. This information can help both the doctor who is treating them and the couple who experienced the loss to offer some closure.
Pregnancy loss is never easy. The only words of wisdom we can offer is to ask for support, know that you genuinely are not alone and that with the right tools and doctor, you can find answers and hope that will lead you to the happy and healthy pregnancy you’re dreaming of.