It is not uncommon to hear about cases where women are unable to complete their pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. This is not a one of incident but seems to occur for every pregnancy. Repetitive miscarriage is the medical terminology used to describe such incidents. Most women have a gestation period of 9 months and a few days (40 weeks).
However at times, due to various reasons, this does not become possible. The pregnancy ends quite before the normal time of delivery. But since the fetus is not well developed to survive on its own it dies. The resultant procedure is known as miscarriage.
There are several factors which lead to abortion or miscarriage. It could be due to one single cause or a combination of many causes. In order to prevent this mishap and to treat it if it occurs, it is very important to know about the causes. This article will help the reader to get a fair idea about why miscarriages occur, and how to deal with them.
Causes of Recurrent Miscarriage:
The reason why a woman has an abortion depends on the following three main factors:
1. Fetal abnormalities
2. Maternal abnormalities
3. Unfavorable external factors
4. Fetal Abnormalities
When sperm and ovum unite to form and develop a fetus, the maternal as well as paternal genes combine to create a new set of genes. There could be faulty genetic material which leads to mal development of fetus. In such cases the fetus might not be viable and may stop developing within the uterus.
Abnormality in sperm or ovum:
For development of a normal healthy baby, it is essential that the sperm and ovum from the father and mother respectively are viable and healthy as well. Health disorders in either of the parents could lead to poor quality of sperm/ ovum. This could make the fetus weak or lead to fetal abnormality, which results into miscarriage.
Though every baby carries equal proportion of either parent’s genes, it is the mother who nurtures and develops the fetus within her womb for 9 months. Poor health or other non-conducive factors faced by the mother, naturally reflect upon the fetus.
Medical science reveals that after the age of 35 it becomes risky to conceive and carry a pregnancy to full term. It has been observed that women in their late 30s or 40s tend to be victims of miscarriage more than younger women. The reason for this is that a woman is most fertile till the age of around 30. after that the fertility, quality of ovum, ability to generate adequate hormones gradually reduces. This could be the reason for recurrent miscarriage.
Despite taking utmost care it is possible that the expecting mother gets exposed to some kind of infection. If the infection is nor curtailed and continues to flare, it may result in a miscarriage. Severe infections like HIV, Hepatitis B, dengue could lead to this.
A healthy pregnancy depends on a healthy body. The fetus grows and develops in its mother’s womb. Any structural deformity in the uterus resulting due to congenital factors or diseases like uterine fibroids could harm the fetus, resulting in an abortion. Many women have an underdeveloped cervix or vagina, both of which contribute in a continuing with a healthy pregnancy. Any developmental abnormality in these organs could be a potential cause for miscarriage.
Placenta which forms during pregnancy is the source of nutrition to the fetus. The same placenta is also responsible for excretion of waste products from the fetus. Placenta is attached to the inner wall of uterus and needs to remain attached till the baby is delivered. Any abnormality in the attachment or structure and function of placenta is very harmful to the mother and child both and leads to immediate abortion.
Miscellaneous health conditions:
An expecting mother may suffer from a series of health conditions like elevated blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders during pregnancy. If these are not detected and treated in time a miscarriage seems inevitable.
Unfavorable external factors:
People often tend to overlook seemingly small things which have a huge impact in maintaining their health or spoiling it. Pregnant women often indulge in some activities or get exposed to factors which have a harmful effect on pregnancy. Performing unsupervised exercises, indulging into sexual intercourse during initial months of pregnancy, not following the right kind of diet, exposure to radiation beams are some such factors which do not work favorably and could lead to miscarriage.
The factors listed above are some of the commonest causes of miscarriage. Apart from this, there could be other causes depending on every woman’s general health, external factors around her, health of fetus etc.
Symptoms of Miscarriage:
Miscarriage is a spontaneous event. Sometimes if the woman recognizes her symptoms on time and prompt action is taken, the event can be controlled and prevented. Following are the warning signs that pregnancy has been aborted or there is chance of an abortion occurring:
- Progressively increasing vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- Abdominal pain experienced suddenly
- Fever of varying intensity
- Weakness and debilitation
How to manage a patient presenting with miscarriage?
When a pregnant woman presents with the symptoms mentioned above, an impeding or complete miscarriage is diagnosed easily. The doctor will then proceed to perform a physical examination for the patient. The blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature, breathing is examined. A complete gynaec examination is also performed.
It is mandatory for every patient presenting with these symptoms to undergo a sonography of the uterus. Even though the growing fetus has stopped developing, it cannot be left inside the uterus as it will start to degenerate and become toxic for the woman. A procedure known as Dilatation and Curettage (D & C) is performed as a treatment method. This procedure entails visualizing the uterus from within and cleaning out all the uterine contents. This ensures that the aborted fetus does not remain inside the uterus and further health complications are prevented.
Measures of preventing a miscarriage:
Following simple steps can ensure that a woman can carry her pregnancy to full term and deliver a healthy baby. These factors will nullify completely the chances of a miscarriage:
- Visit your doctor for regular check up during pregnancy
- Consult a gynecologist immediately even if there is the slightest of discomfort during pregnancy
- Avoid doing rigorous workout which will put a pressure on abdominal muscles
- If your age is 30 or above when you conceive, undergo blood tests and scans like USG regularly to monitor the health of your fetus. Blood tests like triple marker, quadruple marker help in detecting fetal abnormalities which could be a possible cause of miscarriage
- Before you plan to conceive a baby, undergo a physical examination and ensure that you are medically fit to carry a pregnancy to full term.
Pregnancy is a very important and joyful moment in every couple’s life. Miscarriage is a huge loss which leaves the couple scarred for a long time. To avoid this unfortunate incident, it is important to know the causes of miscarriage. This article aims at highlighting the same, thereby helping the reader to gain adequate knowledge. Knowing the cause of a problem helps in finding the solution more easily.