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4 Causes of Miscarriage

4 Causes of Miscarriage

Whether you got pregnant easily the first time or you’ve been trying for years, when you lose a pregnancy due to miscarriage, you and your partner are usually devastated by grief and even guilt. You wonder if you could’ve done something differently. Or if there’s something wrong with you.

Miscarriage affects about 10%-20% of known pregnancies. However, many other very early pregnancies that haven’t yet been detected by the woman or her doctor end in miscarriage. 

At OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, expert OB/GYNs Sharon Moayeri, MD, Nidhee Sachdev, MD, and our team help you deal with the aftermath of a miscarriage, including grief. If you’re worried about another — or even a first — miscarriage, the following are four of the most common causes and what you can do about them.

1. Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus

About half of all miscarriages occur because of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus that prevent it from developing into a healthy baby. If you have a personal or family history of miscarriage, we may recommend chromosomal testing.

In addition, older women are at greater risk of conceiving a child with chromosomal abnormalities. Aging increases the risk for a condition called chromosome translocation. Chromosome translocation increases the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in your child. 

You and your partner can be tested for a chromosome translocation. If one or both of you is positive, you may choose in vitro fertilization (IVF), which allows us to test embryos before implantation so that you only receive a healthy one.

2. Uncontrolled chronic conditions

Treating any uncontrolled chronic conditions in both you and your partner is important to increase the chances of a healthy baby. For instance, if either you or your partner have diabetes, that may impair your ability to become pregnant, increase the risk of miscarriage, and also increase your risk for gestational diabetes.

If you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you may struggle to become pregnant or carry a baby to full term. Other conditions that increase your risk for miscarriage are antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), which causes your body to attack healthy cells, and thrombophilia, which causes abnormal blood clotting.

PCOS, APS, and thrombophilia can all be treated or managed to increase your risk of a healthy pregnancy. When treated with medications for APS, 80% of women go on to have healthy live births.

3. Structural problems in reproductive organs

How your uterus or cervix is shaped may make it difficult to carry a baby to term. If you have a weak cervix, we prevent miscarriage by stitching it shut until you’re ready to give birth.

If you have large uterine fibroids, we may recommend removing them through a myomectomy procedure. Asherman’s syndrome can cause uterine adhesions that decrease its volume and increase your risk for miscarriage. We may advise removing the adhesions and restoring your uterus to normal size.

4. Blighted ovum or molar pregnancy

A blighted ovum is a condition in which the egg is fertilized and becomes an embryo but then stops developing and is absorbed by your body, leaving an empty sac. Most of the time, this occurs before you’re even aware you’re pregnant, usually because of chromosomal abnormalities. You can typically have a healthy pregnancy later without a problem.

A molar pregnancy is a rare complication that occurs when something goes wrong at the point when the egg and sperm meet. Instead of creating an embryo, they create fluid-filled sacs. 

There are fluid-filled cysts in a complete molar pregnancy but no fetus. In a partial molar pregnancy, two sperm fertilized one egg. The fetus starts to develop, but because it has an extra set of chromosomes, it can’t survive. Molar pregnancies are more common in older women.

Even if you’ve already had a miscarriage, only 1% of women who miscarry do it again. To get the tests and support you need for a healthy pregnancy, set up a fertility or miscarriage consultation today by calling us at 949-706-2229 or booking an appointment online.

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