Imagine a newlywed couple eager to have their first baby. After months of anticipation and careful attention to the pregnancy, the unexpected happens — they suffer a miscarriage. The trauma of losing an unborn child is a difficult period for any couple, but more so for the would-be first-time mother. After miscarriage and other forms of pregnancy loss, most couples usually have a lot of questions that need to be answered. A lot of people take it upon themselves to answer why the miscarriage happened and exactly how they could have prevented pregnancy.
But usually, miscarriage is rarely anyone’s fault, and sometimes pregnancy loss is even a predetermined outcome at the time of conception. There may not be any explanation at hand why miscarriages happen, though, the medical community recognizes a few known miscarriage causes. A number of theories abound regarding the cause of miscarriage.
One-time pregnancy loss, also called sporadic, are usually caused by chromosomal abnormalities while the fetus develops. A lot of times, doctors assume this as the default explanation for first time miscarriages due to the fact that most couples go on to have a normal pregnancy after one miscarriage.
Chromosomal abnormalities such as extra chromosomes or missing genes may cause the baby to stop developing and eventually to be miscarried. After the first miscarriage, most medical professionals do not conduct testing for the cause of miscarriage since chromosomal flaws are usually random, one-time events. Miscarriage due to chromosomal flaws may occur to any woman at any age, but those who are 35 years old and above are at highest risk.
When a miscarriage happens two times in a row, the cause is unlikely to be random chromosomal errors in a row. Usually, doctors will conduct a process of testing for recurrent miscarriage causes after the second pregnancy loss. In this case, chances are higher that the woman may have a detectable problem that causes the miscarriage.
About 50% of the cases, doctors find a cause for recurrent miscarriages and then the woman is given treatment in her next pregnancy. However, half of the cases may not reveal a cause. At any rate, a woman may still get pregnant again even with two unexplained miscarriages, and still with greater chances of a normal pregnancy than another miscarriage.
Causes of recurrent miscarriages are usually much more controversial compared to that of single miscarriages. The following is a list of some of the most commonly recognized causes of recurrent miscarriages:
- Abnormality in the structure of the uterus
- Blood clotting disorders, such as antiphospholipid syndrome
- Certain chromosomal conditions, such as balanced translocation
- Doctors believe that low progesterone and other hormonal imbalances may cause recurrent miscarriages. Although treatment with progesterone supplements is fairly common after one or two pregnancy losses, however, not all medical practitioners agree on the practice.
- Others believe that malfunction in the immune system, such as high levels of natural killer cells, may be the culprit.
Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths. Too-early births, on the other hand, are called preterm labors. Both preterm labors and stillbirths usually have different causes from earlier miscarriages, although chromosomal errors in the baby can also cause stillbirths. The most common causes of stillbirths and preterm labors are cervical insufficiency, problems in the placenta, and preterm labor due to medical issues in the mother.
No matter what may be the cause of pregnancy loss, the woman is advised to seek out emotional support from friends and relatives. Counseling helps a lot in dealing with the emotional aftermath of miscarriage.