Every expecting mother wishes for a healthy full-term pregnancy. However, under some unavoidable circumstances, there is a loss of pregnancy during the early stages. This loss of pregnancy or miscarriage occurs due to various reasons, most of which are beyond the control of the mother. So, why does a miscarriage happen? Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a single answer, and there could be multiple reasons why the fetus doesn’t survive in the womb. Many pregnant women avoid some fruits, assuming it as one of the foods that can cause miscarriage., while some women even perceive simple day-to-day activities as risk factors during pregnancy. This article throws light on the various scientific reasons for miscarriage and different ways of avoiding it.
10 Most Common Causes of Pregnancy Loss
The conception and growth of a baby inside the womb is a complicated process involving a number of intricate steps. At any stage during this process, there are many things that can cause miscarriage. Some factors can be corrected with lifestyle change while others need medical intervention. Here are ten common causes of miscarriage in early pregnancy.
1. Abnormality of the Gene or Chromosome
Genetic material known as the ‘gene’ is packed inside the chromosome. It carries the blueprint for the baby’s growth and development. In some cases, certain abnormalities in the genetic material or in the chromosome itself can lead to a miscarriage, especially during the first trimester. It is a mechanism of the nature to abort the fetus that does not have the necessary competencies to grow and thrive after birth. Many different abnormalities give rise to syndromes like Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis which usually results in early termination of pregnancy.
2. Hormone problems
When women do not produce enough progesterone, the implantation of the fertilized egg is affected. Proper implantation in the uterus is critical for the zygote to hold on and grow. Conditions like diabetes and hypothyroidism also influence the levels of critical pregnancy hormones.
Obesity or weight issues directly influence the chances of conception and implantation. According to studies, women suffering from obesity have a high likelihood of having hormonal imbalances and issues with reproductive health.
4. Uterine abnormalities
Genetic abnormalities such as septum formation and other non-genetic abnormalities such as fibroids and cervical inconsistency are usually the common cause of misconception in women. Such abnormalities also interfere with the process of conception itself. Surgical or medical correction of these defects can be done to avoid future miscarriages.
5. Toxin-induced miscarriage
Women who smoke, drink or consume drugs are at a high risk of pregnancy loss owing to the effect of the toxins present in these substances. Accidental exposure to chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) also is harmful to the foetus.
6. Uterine infections
Infections in the uterus such as mycoplasma, rubella, measles, listeria, mumps, gonorrhoea, parvovirus, chlamydia etc., can sometimes affect the endometrial wall of the uterus. Women who have gone through many gynaecological procedures have an increased chance of acquiring such viral and bacterial infections. However, infections of the uterus or cervix are seen as a rare cause of miscarriage.
7. Congenital malformations
Deficiency of nutrients like folate, vitamin B12, pregnancy after thirty-five years of age, obesity and other nutrient deficiencies increase the likelihood of congenital malformations in foetuses. Such malformations that occur as part of various syndromes can result in early termination of pregnancy.
8. Immune disorders
Certain autoimmune disorders cause recurrent miscarriages. Women who have an autoimmune disease, especially like that of lupus, produce a considerable amount of antibodies against their own body tissues. These antibodies increase the chances of pregnancy morbidity due to severe preeclampsia or placental insufficiency. Early detection of the immune disorder and proper treatment with drugs like heparin and aspirin can increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
9. Disorders of blood clotting
Some women suffer from a rare genetic disorder that causes an increased tendency of the blood to clot. Medically it is known as thrombophilia and women who have this disorder have a high chance of miscarriage. The increased tendency of blood clotting interferes with the implantation of the fertilized embryo and also affects the growth of the foetus if it manages to hold on to the uterus.
Gestational diabetes is a risk factor for pregnancy and early treatment of the condition is very important for the health of both the mother and the foetus. Diabetes increases the chances of foetal malformations and can consequently lead to the loss of pregnancy in the early trimester.
Genetic factors, lifestyle and environment play a major role in having a healthy pregnancy. In some cases, underlying medical conditions can cause an early termination of the pregnancy. The chances of a miscarriage reduce significantly as the pregnancy progresses and a general awareness of the risk factors can greatly help in preventing the loss of pregnancy.