What is Miscarriage and When Does it Happen?

(February 8, 2010)

A miscarriage is one of the most heart wrenching experiences that any parent-to-be can ever experience. Knowing that she is pregnant, a woman shifts all her attention to nurturing the baby within her womb. However, not all pregnancies have a happy ending. A loss of a developing baby may take place at any time due to various reasons during the nine month long gestational period. However, the spontaneous loss of a baby before the gestational age of 20 weeks is known as a miscarriage. At such a young age, the baby is too underdeveloped to be able to survive outside the mother’s womb and hence the pregnancy is unsuccessful.

For every expectant mother, the fact that almost 20 percent of known pregnancies end is miscarriages is disturbing. What is more surprising is the fact that many women do not even realize that they are pregnant and hence numerous early miscarriages go unnoticed. The main cause for first trimester miscarriages is genetic anomalies in the developing baby, which takes place at the time of cell division at fertilization itself. A chromosomal imbalance in the embryo, chromosome rearrangements in either of the parents or an alteration in the structure of a gene or a group of genes in a chromosome are the causes of inherited deformities in the baby. The human body works in a mysterious manner and expels an abnormal embryo as soon as it detects a defect or an abnormal growth pattern in the baby. Approximately five percent of genetically deformed babies make it through the complete pregnancy term to be born with noticeable birth defects. In some cases, the embryo does not attach itself to the uterine wall properly, resulting in a miscarriage.

The mother’s age and state of health also play a vital role in determining the success of a pregnancy. With increasing maternal age, the chances of miscarriages increases manifold. Women who are obese or suffer from health concerns such as diabetes, preeclampsia, hypothyroidism and autoimmune disorders are more prone to pregnancy complications. Besides, uterine defects such as the inability of the uterus to expand proportionately to accommodate the growing baby, can also lead to a miscarriage. Scars from previous surgeries or fibroids also threaten the well being of the developing baby, thus affecting its growth and development. Physical and emotional trauma, stress and overexertion are other factors that can affect the success of a pregnancy. Unhealthy foods, irregular eating habits, insufficient rest and inadequate physical exercise can also be causes of miscarriages.        


Submitted by P T on February 8, 2010 at 11:44

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