The loss of pregnancy can be heartbreaking, particularly when the loss gets repeated. The physical repercussion of pregnancy loss may not be too troubling and the body may recover after sometime; however, the emotional consequence can be disturbing and taxing.
Although the cause of pregnancy loss may not always be certain, knowing the usual factors leading to a loss can help you become better aware and prepared when the time actually comes.
Some causes leading to pregnancy loss have been mentioned here to help you gain better insight on the subject. However, ensure to consult your health care expert before forming a conclusive opinion about a medical condition/outcome in your best interest.
Main Causes Of Pregnancy Loss
A chromosomal abnormality of the fetus is a frequent cause of early pregnancy loss among women. Chromosomes, which are carriers of genetic information, undergo duplication and division as the fetus grows and develops. There can be multiple stages when a problem happens to the fetus causing the pregnancy to terminate.
If a couple experiences repeated pregnancy losses, there are great chances of a genetic abnormality being present. In case of repeated pregnancy losses, causes of pregnancy losses apparently differ according to trimester.
With age, chromosomal abnormalities can become more common. If you are above 35 years of age, you can have a higher rate of pregnancy loss than women younger than your age. Parental chromosomal abnormalities may be due to a structural problem in men.
This can lead to low sperm count or infertility and decrease the possibility of accomplishing the pregnancy. Chromosomal abnormality may also be inherited from the mother. Such abnormalities can be related to congenial malformations, mental retardation, etc. For identifying the genetic traits, blood tests can be done before conception.
One of the causes of pregnancy loss can be hormonal. Cushing’s Syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), etc. are some of the hormonal causes leading to loss of pregnancy. Improper functioning of the corpus luteum (which is important when the egg gets fertilized in the ovary) may also end a pregnancy. However, this cause (which is called ‘luteal phase defect’) is still controversial as a reason for pregnancy loss.
Diabetes needs to be carefully managed during pregnancy; an ill-maintained diabetic condition may lead to pregnancy loss in women. Insufficiently maintained diabetes may also increase the possibility of fetus suffering from birth defects.
If blood sugar level is not controlled during pregnancy, and before conception, it may reduce the success percentage of pregnancy. Insulin resistance in women may also increase the rate of pregnancy loss.
Diabetes, a metabolic abnormality, can be crucial to the success of pregnancy. Doctors may implement blood thinners (like heparin) to prevent further pregnancy loss in case of repeated pregnancy losses.
Uterine septum and Fibroids
There are other structural abnormalities like uterine septum and fibroids which can hinder with the success of a pregnancy. Uterine septum arises due to an abnormal anatomy of the uterus. The uterine cavity is (partially) divided into parts due to the presence of uterine septum. The septum has a poor blood supply which is inadequate for placental attachment and growth.
Hence, if an embryo gets implanted on the septum, it can be at increased risk of miscarriage. Fibroids are also structural abnormalities. These benign growths in the uterus essentially may not cause pregnancy loss. However, some fibroids may hinder embryo implantation and reduce blood supply to cause pregnancy loss. A structural abnormality can be dealt with surgical correction.
Age of Pregnant Women
Studies suggest that as women get older, the risk of losing pregnancy may increase. Women in their 20s can have 12-15% chances of losing their babies but women above 40 can have about 25% chances of losing their babies. This can be related to the chromosomal abnormalities which increase with age.
Although there is no evidence to support that stress or physical activity can cause pregnancy loss, there are some lifestyle components which can contribute to the cause. Smoking, including paternal smoking, beyond a limit (more than about 10 cigarettes every day) can increase the chances of losing pregnancy.
Alcohol and caffeine may also increase the risk of losing pregnancy. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs close to embryo implant may also cause the risk. However, more studies on the subject can determine the exactness of the underlying factor.
Some more Causes
Besides the ones mentioned above, there can be other reasons for pregnancy loss like collagen vascular diseases and amniocentesis. In collagen vascular diseases, a person’s immune system becomes self-destructive and attacks its own body organs.
During pregnancy, this can pose a serious threat to the growing fetus. Blood tests can be done to identify such illnesses and, thereafter, treat them. Besides, certain invasive surgical techniques like amniocentesis may also increase the possibility of pregnancy loss.