A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called preterm deliveries).
Most miscarriages are caused by chromosome problems that make it impossible for the baby to develop. Usually, these problems are not related to the mother or father’s genes. In about half of all early miscarriages, the baby does not develop normally right from the start and cannot survive.
Other possible causes of miscarriage include:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Hormone problems – Women with very irregular periods may find it harder to conceive and when they do, are more likely to miscarry
- Infection – Minor infections like coughs and colds are not harmful, but a very high temperature and some illnesses or infections, such as German measles, may cause miscarriage
- Physical problems with the mother’s reproductive organs
- Problem with the body’s immune response – Problems in the blood vessels which supply the placenta can lead to miscarriage, especially if the blood clots more than it should.
- Serious body-wide (systemic) diseases in the mother (such as uncontrolled diabetes)
Most miscarriages occur during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage drops after the baby’s heart-beat is detected.
The risk of miscarriage is higher in women:
- Who are older, with increases beginning by age 30, becoming greater between 35 and 40, and highest after 40.
- Who have had previous miscarriages
At Conceive Gynecology & Fertility Hospital we investigate the underlying cause for women who manage to conceive but miscarry recurrently. Once the cause is identified, treatment is offered depending on which has the best chances of a successful pregnancy and birth.
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