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Miscarriage

by Civilian Exposure

The following is information compiled regarding miscarriage, one of the 15 health conditions covered by the VA for Camp Lejeune victims of water contamination.  The information has been collected from various medical sources and authorities, including the CDC, Mayo Clinic, NIH and others.

What is a Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. It is usually your body’s way of ending a pregnancy that has had a bad start.  Miscarriages are very common. For women who already know they are pregnant, about 1 out of 6 have a miscarriage.  It is also common for a woman to have a miscarriage before she even knows that she is pregnant.

Symptoms:

Common signs of a miscarriage include:

  • Bleeding from the vagina. The bleeding may be light or heavy, constant or off and on. It can sometimes be hard to know whether light bleeding is a sign of miscarriage. But if you have bleeding with pain, the chance of a miscarriage is higher.
  • Pain in the belly, lower back, or pelvis.
  • Tissue that passes from the vagina.

Chemical Exposure:

Chemicals that may increase a woman’s chance of having a miscarriage include:

  • Medicines. Before conceiving, or as soon as you become aware that you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about all of the medicines you have been taking. For example, the use of the medicine isotretinoin for the treatment of acne during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage and to cause birth defects.
  • Tetrachloroethylene (used in dry cleaning).
  • Arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene oxide.
  • Alcohol consumption, which can also cause birth defects and intellectual disabilities. There is no known safe amount of alcohol intake during pregnancy. The safest course is to avoid alcohol entirely while you are pregnant.
  • Cocaine.

The ways in which a woman may come into contact with a chemical are through inhalation, ingestion, and in some cases, absorption through the skin. Most of the time, in order for chemical exposure during pregnancy to be harmful it would have to be in large doses over a long period of time. Chemicals can either pass from your blood and through the placenta or be absorbed into the blood stream, both resulting in exposure to the baby.

Exposure to harmful chemicals during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, slow growth and birth defects. The most sensitive time of pregnancy is during the first trimester (12 weeks), when organs and limbs are being formed; therefore, a fetus exposed to harmful chemicals during this time may be born with a birth defect. Babies exposed to harmful chemicals after the first trimester are more likely to have slow growth and problems with brain development.

An epidemiological study of 2,000 male and female workers exposed to trichloroethylene via inhalation found no increase in malformations in babies born following exposure:

  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene (Update). U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA. 1997.

 

Treatment:

There is no treatment that can stop a miscarriage. As long as you do not have heavy blood loss, fever, weakness, or other signs of infection, you can let a miscarriage follow its own course. This can take several days.  If a miscarriage is causing intense pain or bleeding or is taking longer than you are comfortable with, talk to your doctor about using medicine or surgery (such as a procedure called dilation and curettage, or D&C) to clear the uterus.

Additional Info and Helpful Links:

  • http://www.emedicinehealth.com/chemical_exposure_and_miscarriage-health/article_em.htm
  • http://cancer.dartmouth.edu/pf/health_encyclopedia/aa115507
  • http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/hlthef/tri-ethy.html

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5 comments

Gloria E Full August 13, 2015 - 6:43 pm

Question: I did have a miscarriage while living in Camp Lejeune in 1970, My medical records are nowhere to be found. Any suggestions? Thank you!

Gloria E Full,LMSW

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Civilian Exposure
Civilian Exposure August 16, 2015 - 12:33 pm

Hi Gloria,
Do you mean that you personally cannot find your medical records, or do you mean that you’ve inquired with the base and they can’t find them? If the latter, let me know and I’ll see what I can find out next week at the CAP when I talk to officials from Lejeune. -GS

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Glenna Grant Calvin October 1, 2015 - 2:46 pm

I am in need of my medical records noting my miscarriage while living at Camp Lejune in 1977-1999. I was on base as a civilian wife and then became a US Marine myself. I was stationed at New River Air Station but lived at Camp Lejune on base with my husband: Samuel Bruce Calvin. Please help me obtain these records as well as proof of residency. I was forced into teacher retirement from the disability of bi-polarism, my fifth stroke May of 2015, gout, immobility, schizophrenia,cholesterol, diabetes, etc. I am seeking help. Thank you for your intercession. Glenna Calvin USMC MOS 6632 Millington Tenn., to New River Air Station, living at Camp Lejune with my husband; Samuel Bruce Calvin in 1977-1980.

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Civilian Exposure
Civilian Exposure October 1, 2015 - 3:48 pm

Hi Glenna,
I’m sorry for your health issues and want to try to help as best as possible. I can refer you to this link regarding tracking down medical records: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/medical-records.html. Here’s further information via the CDC:

You can get your medical records by contacting the National Personnel Records Center. The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository for personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services while they were in the military. NPRC-MPR also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. To the extent allowed by law, information from the records is made available upon written request (with dated signature). Requests must contain sufficient information to locate the record. This information includes

Complete name as it appears on the service records
Service number or social security number
Branch of service, and
Dates of service.

Date and place of birth may also be helpful, particularly if the service number is unknown.

If the request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 Records Center fire, also include place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and place of entry into the service, if known. Send the written request to the following address:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

The NPRC-MPR Web site has additional information. Its address is http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records.html

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