The first question expectant parents have following a miscarriage is, Why? Was it something they did or did not do? Could they have taken measures to prevent the loss from happening? Is there something inherently wrong with them as parents?
Miscarriage is devastating, and nothing but time can ease the pain and grief that comes along with it. However, understanding “the why” can help put grieving parents’ minds at ease that their loss was not a result of their own doing. If you recently lost your little one before you had a chance to meet him/her or fear a possible miscarriage, read on to learn more about the five most common reasons for them.
1. Chromosomal Abnormalities
Chromosomal abnormalities are the number one reason women miscarry. The abnormality can lie with the sperm, the egg or both and usually occurs during embryo formation. Though there are certainly chromosomal abnormalities that are compatible with life, such as trisomy 21, there are countless others that are not. The most common type of abnormality that is not compatible with life is Down syndrome. When abnormalities occur, development simply stops.
Though any woman of childbearing age can experience a miscarriage because of an abnormality, research suggests that women who are older than 35 years of age tend to be the most commonly affected group. This is because her eggs are older. According to Parents.com, a woman’s risk for miscarriage doubles from 15 to 20 percent to 30 to 40 percent as she approaches 40. Unfortunately, there is nothing one can do to prevent a miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities.
Women with diabetes need to take extra precautions when controlling their sugar levels after becoming pregnant. Uncontrolled diabetes in the first trimester of pregnancy can lead to increased rates of miscarriage. If miscarriage does not occur, there is a strong likelihood that the baby will be born with major birth defects.
If you have diabetes, you can protect yourself and your little one by talking to your doctor BEFORE becoming pregnant. Your MD can help you optimize your health and advise you on what you need to do to control your condition throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
3. Thyroid Disorders
Whether you have hypo (too low) or
4. Physical Complications
When miscarriages occur later in the pregnancy, such as in the second or third trimesters, it may be due to complications with the uterus. Uterine abnormalities such as polyps or septum may create a hostile environment for the fetus. Other physical complications, such as cervical incompetency, can also cause late-stage miscarriage.
Unlike the aforementioned five conditions, lifestyle habits are miscarriage reasons mothers-to-be can control. Numerous studies indicate that heavy alcohol use, drug abuse and smoking lead to early miscarriage. Not only that, but if a fetus does survive beyond the three-month mark, and if Mom continues to engage in poor lifestyle habits, the risk for loss increases every day, and it remains high until baby is born. Once the baby is born, risks and complications do not disappear. If a mother abuses drugs or alcohol, or if she smokes, throughout the duration of her pregnancy, there is a very real risk the baby will be born prematurely, with defects and/or a dependency on drugs or alcohol.
Miscarriage is an event that expectant parents never truly overcome. However, by understanding why miscarriage happens, parents can reassure themselves that they did nothing wrong. Moreover, with the right resources, parents can alter their health or lifestyles for the better and increase their odds of giving birth to healthy babies in the future.