Getting a big fat positive on a pregnancy test is a joyous occasion for those trying to conceive. But the joy of pregnancy can be eroded by grief in the case of a miscarriage. Experiencing more than one miscarriage can only be more traumatic and, at the same time, frustrating. According to research, however, miscarriages frequently occur. It is estimated that more than half of early pregnancies are lost around the time of the next menstruation. This is why many women don’t even realize that they were even pregnant. In fact, only 30% of pregnancies make it to term. However, recurrent miscarriages are less frequent, and only happen in about 1% of pregnant women.
Most early miscarriages happen due to chromosomal abnormalities. If the fertilised egg is not viable, this can naturally result in an early spontaneous abortion. But when miscarriages are recurrent, there might be other factors involved.
Possible causes of recurrent miscarriage
- Parent’s age: Chromosomal abnormalities are more frequent in adults aged 35 and above and such abnormalities can possibly lead to miscarriages.
- Hormonal imbalances: A progesterone deficiency can also be the cause. Progesterone is needed in order to support the pregnancy after implantation. Some women are deficient in this hormone due to genetic reasons or other health issues.
- Thrombophilia: Also known as an abnormal blood coagulation. This is a common reason for recurrent miscarriages and might lead to miscarriages during the second trimester of pregnancy. Blood clots that form can cut the blood supply to the foetus, although they can cause other problems during a pregnancy too.
- Women with thyroid dysfunctions, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can also experience recurrent loss of pregnancy. The thyroid gland controls certain hormones that can affect the normal development of a pregnancy. Thyroid dysfunctions can usually be treated with substitute hormone therapy.
- Diabetes and gestational diabetes is also a risk factor. The pregnancy is at risk for women that suffer from this condition. Doctor’s don’t have a clear answer as to why diabetes negatively influences a pregnancy, as most metabolic processes are very complex.
- Environmental influences: Certain medications, teratogens, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes are harmful to the foetus and can potentially cause recurrent miscarriages.
What can be done to prevent recurrent miscarriages?
Women who have experienced more than two or three miscarriages should seek the medical advice of a fertility specialist. Medical tests can be carried out for pregnancies beyond 12 weeks and parents should take a blood test to determine possible health issues. But the best way to prevent recurrent miscarriages is to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a balanced diet.
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