Miscarriage is common event, occurring in up to a fifth of all pregnancies. It most often takes place in the first trimester.
The vast majority of women who have a miscarriage, do not have a second miscarriage. But some women experience repeated miscarriages. No matter how often it happens, the event is not an easy experience for a woman or for a couple.
Reproductive specialists will usually use three as the number of miscarriages at which they considers a woman to be experiencing multiple miscarriage and at which point they will suspect that the events are not random but due to a cause that is possibly identifiable. At this point they will recommend testing to see if the reason for the miscarriage is any of the following:
- chromosomal. Most miscarriages are due to a chromosomal problem with the fetus and are chance events that do not recur. The female reproductive system has a remarkable ability to detect these problems in the early term and cause natural, spontaneous abortion of the new fetus. The chromosomal problems would often have made the fetus not viable if carried later in term. But sometimes the mother or the father bears a genetic abnormality that causes this problem repeatedly. Genetic testing can identify these problems and help couples understand their options.
- uterine abnormalities. Some women are born with a womb that has abnormal anatomy. The uterus may be walled into sections, may be abnormally small or have some other malformation. Or, the womb may have a poor blood supply. Radiologic and endoscopic studies can reveal and confirm these conditions. Experienced gynecologic surgeons such as those at Lourdes can often correct these problems. In addition, weakness or insufficiency in the cervix (which serves to hold a developing fetus in the uterus) can cause repeated miscarriages. Lourdes has a nationally sought-after program providing cerlage surgery to correct such cervical problems. The Lourdes team takes advantage of robotic surgical technology to make these uterine operations as exacting as possible and easier to undergo.
- uterine fibroids. When fibrous outgrowths of uterus have invaded the interior, the wall or the outside of the uterus, they can compromise the fetal environmentenough to trigger a miscarriage. Lourdes team has ample experience correcting these growths surgically.
- hormonal conditions. Proper implantation of the fertilized human egg and development of the uterine lining and fetus depends on a precise and intricatesequence of hormonal changes within the woman’s body. A woman’s body may be deficient, for example, in the amount of progesterone needed for proper early seating and gestation of the fetus. Hormonal testing and possible supplementation can correct this cause of miscarriage. Thyroid, adrenal or diabetic disease can contribute to hormonal status that compromises pregnancy.
- genetic immunities. Every individual organism identifies its own tissue with a complex set of antigens or surface proteins recognized as self. Though the fetus is a separate entity, not genetically the same the mother, the fetus is normally protected from any immune rejection by the mother’s body. Sometimes, though, the mother’s immune system will see the fetus as foreign, which causes an attack of antibodies against the fetus that results in its failure and miscarriage. If the problem is coming from the mother’s system, testing can identify this and certain medications may be able to block the reaction. If the problem is caused by an immune difference between mother and father, genetic testing can reveal this incompatibility and help couples understand their options.
- infections. Sexually transmitted diseases or other infections can damage the reproductive tract or, when untreated, interfere with the development of a fetus.
- exposures. Substance abuse and harsh chemicals have a known association with pregnancy loss.
- chronic and metabolic conditions. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease can also endanger the course of a pregnancy.
|Every miscarriage has a cause. Finding the basis of repeated miscarriage is the first step toward resolving the problem and realizing full-term pregnancy.|
Some women go on to normal pregnancy with no treatment, even after repeated miscarriage. Others may need to avail themselves of care. Testing and intervention from an expert service such as that provide by Lourdes’ reproductive health team can often fix the cause of multiple miscarriage and help a woman sustain a healthy pregnancy.