Recurrent miscarriage can be very frustrating and heart breaking experience. Actually, according to scientists, very early pregnancy loss can be considered as the most common complication of human gestation, occurring in about 75% of all women trying to conceive. Most of these recurrent miscarriages are unrecognized and occur during next expected menstrual period (sometimes a little bit intensive or unusual). According to health statistics, the frequency of spontaneous miscarriage is about 15-20%. About 5% of couples trying to conceive have 2 consecutive miscarriages and about 1% couples have 3 or more consecutive miscarriages. Recurrent miscarriage causes could be different.
Recurrent miscarriage – definition
Early pregnancy loss is defined as the termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks’ gestation or with a fetal weight of less than 500 grams. Recurrent miscarriage is defined by the loss of three or more clinical pregnancies in a row (mainly before 10-12 weeks of pregnancy).
It was noted that six out of ten women who have had three miscarriages will go on to have healthy baby in their next pregnancy (in spite of any recurrent miscarriage causes).
Recurrent miscarriage causes
Recurrent miscarriage causes
Some causes of miscarriages are well known but unfortunately there are still some miscarriages without any known reason. Several health conditions are well known to lead to recurrent miscarriage. Some conditions have been linked to recurrent miscarriages and few conditions were suspected. Nowadays health experts are continually finding new causes of repeated miscarriages.
About 1-5% recurrent miscarriages are caused by genetic factors. Genetic factors (gene and chromosome abnormalities) are the most common reasons of first miscarriages but it is happening less often in repeated miscarriages. Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus account for about 60% of spontaneous miscarriages. When woman is older (after 35) and the egg quality decreases, chances for chromosomal abnormalities are higher. This is why recurrent miscarriages are more frequent in older women who are advised to follow pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) to diagnose the abnormality in the fetus.
Some women are born with congenital double uterus or uterine septum which could trigger miscarriage. Uterine polyps, fibroids, and scars inside the uterine cavity could also cause early pregnancy interruption. Bigger pregnancies (after 20 weeks) can be interrupted because of cervical factor (incompetent cervix).
Some chemicals (anesthetic gases, pesticides, formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene oxide, arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium) can damage pregnancy at early stages and cause miscarriages. If woman or her partner is exposed to mentioned chemicals, better to postpone pregnancy planning or exclude any chemical environments.
Some endocrine dysfunctions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, decreased levels of progesterone have been linked to pregnancy loss. Mild hormonal dysfunctions have not been shown to lead to recurrent miscarriage. At the same time, wrongly or badly treated hormonal problems often cause recurrent miscarriages.
Antiphospholipid syndrome (so called “sticky blood syndrome”) is inherited blood-clotting disorder and it has been known to be associated with recurrent miscarriage. About 15-20% of recurrent miscarriages are triggered by antiphospholipid syndrome. In most cases the treatment is not complicated and includes aspirin and low doses of heparin.
Infections and immune system
Viral infections and correlated immunological problems (autoimmune conditions) can also cause recurrent pregnancy loss. Health experts mention ureaplasma, mycoplasma, listeria, toxoplasmosis, rubella and bacterial vaginosis which can cause recurrent miscarriages. Presently health experts have different opinions about infections and immunological problems which could trigger pregnancy loss.
Healthy lifestyle is very important for getting pregnant fast and for pregnancy development. Certain bad habits such as smoking, drinking and using drugs can cause repeated miscarriages. At the same time, caffeine abuse (more than 3 cups of coffee per day) and obesity can be also considered as risk factors for pregnancy loss.
Several studies confirm “older you are, the more likely you can have miscarriage”. Age of potential father is also important – older fathers have higher risk for miscarriages. Starting from 35, number of eggs and their quality starts to decline more quickly. At the same time, “old” eggs’ genetic materials have more chances for chromosomal abnormality which increases the likelihood of recurrent miscarriages.
Sometimes the real cause of pregnancy loss cannot be discovered. In these cases treatment can be very difficult if not impossible.
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Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.