A lot of us wait a long time to have a baby, for some of us it may take one try, for some it may take ten. Waiting to get pregnant is difficult, but what’s even more difficult is getting pregnant and then having that dream taken away. A miscarriage is when the fetus is lost before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is something quite commonly faced by many women around the world, and may even occur without the woman knowing that she was pregnant. It has been medically defined as a spontaneous abortion and tends to happen within the first 3 months of pregnancy. There are many reasons that a miscarriage could occur.
Cases of uterine abnormalities and incompetency can lead to miscarriage due to the inability of the cervix to then support the embryo or fetus. These insufficiencies could be in the form of the shape of the uterus which could prevent the embryo from implanting or from receiving sufficient nutrition if implanted. Cervical incompetence or insufficiency may be in the form of a weak cervix which may not be able to hold in the fetus when it has grown sufficiently in size and weight.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common problem faced by millions of women across the globe. The incidence of this problem is large in number and has become a growing cause of miscarriage. PCOS is a condition in which there is an abnormally high level of the male hormone testosterone in a woman’s body. This condition could lead to insulin resistance as well as prevention of proper maturation of endometrial lining due to which the embryo will not be able to implant or receive sufficient nutrition for proper development.
Autoimmune disorders, although debated, are also considered causal factors of miscarriage. In a normal pregnancy, once the sperm penetrates the ova and the egg is fertilized, it sends a message to the brain to not treat it as a foreign object, since foreign objects are fought against and attacked by the body through antibodies. In the case of a pregnant woman with an autoimmune disorder, this message may not be sent to the brain and thus the body may not accept the fertilized egg/embryo. In such a case, the body produces antibodies which fight against the egg and therefore causes miscarriage to occur.
There are different kinds of chromosomal abnormalities that can occur due to problems in either the sperm or the egg. Some of these abnormalities are compatible with life while some are not. This means that in some cases, where abnormalities are compatible with life, even though chromosomal abnormalities exist, a baby is still given birth to, for example, in the case of trisomy of the last pair of chromosomes where a baby is born with Down’s syndrome. In other cases, where abnormalities are not compatible with life, the existence of chromosomal abnormalities could lead to miscarriage or stop the development of the embryo.
Bacterial infections faced by pregnant mothers could lead to them losing the baby. While there are certain bacterias that are normally present in reproductive tracts, certain bacteria, particularly mycoplasma hominis and ureaplasma urealyticum, could lead to an increased risk of miscarriage. These could be present in the reproductive tracts of males or females and the only way to be alerted of their presence is to get tested for it. They lead to inflammation of the endometrial lining which prevents the embryo from developing.
Hypo and hyperthyroidism could lead to infertility and miscarriage. Low thyroid functioning in a woman could stimulate her body to produce more of other hormones which may prevent ovulation from taking place, while abnormally high thyroid functioning might interfere with the normal functioning of oestrogen and therefore affect the uterus by preventing implantation or causing bleeding.
Lifestyle choices of either parent, such as alcohol intake, smoking, and drug use, has been found to increase the risks of miscarriage. Nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs have been found to interfere with the blood supply and therefore affect or inhibit the growth of the fetus. Women working in areas associated with high levels of environmental toxins have also been found to suffer from more cases of miscarriage, however, the reason is still unclear.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, make sure to get yourself and your partner checked with regard to reproductive functioning and inefficiencies. In case of any abnormalities, your health care provider can help you determine your next step. Parents should also keep in mind to regulate their lifestyle habits in general, in order to ensure healthy and sustained development of the baby.