A miscarriage can be a devastating life event, no matter how early or late it occurs in a pregnancy. It can have several emotional repercussions on the parents, even as they try to understand how and why it happened. It is important to know that a miscarriage does not reflect the parents’ fertility in the future. Henry Lerner, MD, clinical professor of OB-GYN at Harvard Medical School and author of Miscarriage: Why it Happens and How Best to Reduce Your Risks, says that, “Since you got pregnant once, the odds are 80 percent that you will go on to have a healthy baby, and as many healthy babies after that as you want.”
For those who have had a miscarriage or are just trying to understand more about it, here are the top 5 causes of miscarriages:
- Chromosomal Abnormalities
Chromosomes are tiny structures in each cell that carry our genes and we have 23 pairs of them – one set each from our mother and father. Chromosome abnormality occurs when either the egg or the sperm is faulty and affects the formation of the resulting embryo. This causes miscarriage and accounts for almost 60 percent of all miscarriages. Couples who experience more than two miscarriages in a row may need to undergo tests to find out if their chromosomal anomalies are preventing a pregnancy from taking hold.
- Immunologic Disorders
The role of immunological disorders in causing miscarriages is still being debated by women’s healthcare providers. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that certain autoimmune disorders play a role in miscarriages, especially with recurrent miscarriages. In certain cases, the embryo isn’t accepted by the woman’s body and antiphospholipid antibodies attack one’s own tissues which results in a miscarriage. The simplest way to understand this is that the body just refuses to accept the pregnancy. To know more about immunologic disorders, talk to our expert team at KIMS Cuddles.
- Bacterial Infections
Our body hosts several micro-organisms that live harmlessly (some, even helpfully) in the reproductive tracts of both males and females. However, certain bacteria can be problematic and increase the risk of miscarriage. Mycoplasma hominis and ureaplasma urealyticum are two types of bacteria that can particularly raise the risk of miscarriage while living in the genital tracts of healthy men and women. In women, infection with these bacteria can cause inflammation of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and make it difficult for an embryo to develop. The only way to know about this is to get tested as there are no known symptoms associated with this type of infection.
Certain lifestyle habits, such as drug abuse, alcohol use, and smoking during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage during a pregnancy. Nicotine in cigarettes can cross the placenta and interfere with blood supply and fetal growth; thus smokers are twice as likely to have a miscarriage compared to nonsmokers. Same goes for women who drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day and use recreational drugs during pregnancy (or even while trying to get pregnant). It is important to give up these habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle even before you try to become pregnant.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have high-levels of male hormone testosterone which can cause irregular ovulation and menstruation. PCOS causes insulin resistance, even in women who do not have diabetes, and prevents the endometrial lining from maturing properly. This increases the risk of miscarriage in women with PCOS. With almost 45% of women with PCOS suffering miscarriages, it is now an emerging cause of recurrent miscarriage.
While it is never easy to deal with a miscarriage, knowing about some of its causes can help you find about any health anomaly that you may have and discuss the solution with your doctor. If you have any other questions about maternal health, feel free to discuss with the doctors at KIMS Cuddles.
*The opinions expressed in this article are not to be substituted for medical advice under any circumstance