When a couple has tried for many months to conceive, the grandest day in their lives is the day they learn they are pregnant. For many couples, that joy is shattered by a miscarriage and the pregnancy is lost. The pain is devastating and the disappointment is palpable. While experiencing one miscarriage can be traumatic, the loss of two or more pregnancies is overwhelming for a couple. Multiple miscarriages are often an indication of a fertility problem that requires addressing before pregnancy can be successful.
Miscarriage Is Not Uncommon
From a medical perspective, miscarriage is not unusual nor is it worrisome. About 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and of those, 75 percent occur within the first trimester (first 12 weeks). The risk of miscarriage generally decreases after the first lost pregnancy. However, if there is a second miscarriage, the risk factor changes direction and increases with each subsequent miscarriage.
The most frequent cause of miscarriage in the first trimester is considered to be due to a chromosomal abnormality, a one-time issue that usually does not affect future pregnancies. It is estimated that more than half of all miscarriages in the first trimester are due to this factor. However, chromosomal abnormalities are not the only explanation for miscarriage. Other factors, many of which require treatment, can be the cause of miscarriage.
It Could Be Hormonal
Hormonal imbalances are cited as a possible cause of miscarriage, particularly in women who suffer with thyroid or adrenal gland problems. Diabetic women also have a higher risk of miscarriage due to the insulin imbalances they encounter. When hormone levels are out of sync, the result may be implantation problems for the fertilized egg or loss of endometrial lining. It is important for proper monitoring of hormones to be a part of the regular check up.
While uterine problems do not necessarily mean pregnancy is impossible, they can make it difficult for a woman to conceive. A healthy uterus is important for a growing baby. If the uterus is misshapen, or there is a septum (division) within the uterus, or if the uterus is an abnormal size, then conception and pregnancy can be compromised.
Sexually transmitted diseases play a huge roll in miscarriage. Infections such as herpes, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, or rubella (German measles) can not only impair conception but, should a pregnancy be established, can create problems for the unborn baby.
Toxins, Chemicals And Other Sources Of Problems
Some women have had a miscarriage because of their work environment. Toxic chemicals and gases have been shown to be a factor in pregnancy loss. If a woman is pregnant, she owes it to herself and her baby to remove herself from this type of an environment. Environmental toxins are not only present in the workplace, they can also be found in the home and in social settings. Tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drugs are all toxic and have the potential to initiate miscarriage. Exposure to DES (diethylstilbestrol) is known to cause miscarriage as well.
There are many other factors to consider when it comes to miscarriage. A woman who conceives at a more advanced age (over 35) has a higher risk of miscarriage. Immunological disorders, a weak cervix, obesity, and abnormally low body weight have all been implicated in pregnancy loss.