Recurrent Miscarriage

Many women unfortunately have suffered a miscarriage in their lives, with about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies ending in a miscarriage (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Once the female has had 3 recurrent miscarriages before 12 weeks the chances of her miscarry again are slightly higher, however around 65% of women go on to have a healthy 4th pregnancy. Most of the time the reason for the miscarriage is unknown, there are several common explanations that are used by doctors to help women understand what may be going on. 

The first common explanation used is blood clotting disorders. Some disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid syndrome can cause “sticky blood” and recurrent miscarriages. While rare these are autoimmune disorders that affect the flow of blood to the placenta and may case clots that would prevent the placenta from functioning properly or attaching to the uterus. 

Another common explanation for reoccurring miscarriages would be uterine problems.  This could be an abnormally shaped womb, which can increase the risk of both reoccurring miscarriages and premature births.  The most common way to diagnose this is through a transvaginal ultrasound. 

Genetic issues can also be a cause for a miscarriage.  This is something that happens to a small number of couples where either one or both parents may pass an abnormal chromosome, thus causing the recurrent miscarriage.  This would have to be determined through blood work. 

When experiencing recurrent miscarriage, it is important to take control of your own pregnancy.  When doing this be sure to ask for blood work early on, this can help determine if things like progesterone is low. If caught early enough taking progesterone could be the thing that helps to maintain a healthy pregnancy. If test come back positive for having a blood clotting issue, something as simple as taking a low dose aspirin can make all the difference. 

The three explanations are on some of the common reasons given to women who have to go through the devastation of recurrent miscarriages.  There are other issue or reasons that could cause recurrent miscarriages, however these seem to be the ones that have some evidence to show and some things that could be done to assist with correcting these issues. 

If you or someone that you know is or has suffered the loss of a pregnancy be sure to allow them the time they need to grieve.  Be there for them and help them through the loss, assure them that in no way is this something that they caused.  Experience recurrent miscarriages can cause extreme depression and self blame. 

References

Christiansen, O. (1996). A fresh look at the causes and treatments of recurrent miscarriage, especially its immunological aspects. Human Reproduction Update2(4), 271–293. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/2.4.271 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 16). Miscarriage. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298 

Recurrent miscarriage and antiphospholipid antibodies … (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2022, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1538-7836.2010.04015.x 

Recurrent miscarriage. Tommy’s. Together, for every baby. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.tommys.org/baby-loss-support/miscarriage-information-and-support/recurrent-miscarriage 

Saravelos, S. H., & Li, T.-C. (2012). Unexplained recurrent miscarriage: How can we explain it? Human Reproduction27(7), 1882–1886. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/des102 

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