What are some reasons why women have miscarriages?

(February 23, 2010)

Miscarriage is a term which describes a pregnancy loss before the fetus is able to survive on its own, outside the womb. Sometimes, the fetus is expelled from the uterus accidentally or for some natural reason, and this is termed as a spontaneous abortion.

Miscarriages happen to many women. It is estimated that at least 25% women have at least one miscarriage. Some women may have more than one miscarriage.

Most miscarriages happen before twelve weeks of pregnancy (that is, the first trimester). These are called early miscarriages. A few late miscarriages may happen in the second trimester.

Pregnancy Miscarriage Reasons

Sometimes, it is very difficult to detect why a miscarriage occurred. There are however a few common causes:

•    Ectopic pregnancy: Sometimes the sperm fertilizes the egg while it is still in the fallopian tubes, and the baby begins developing there. This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and it usually never lasts beyond a few weeks, because there is no space for the baby to grow, nor does it get the nutrition it needs.

•    Genetic abnormalities: Abnormalities in the mother’s egg or father’s sperm, may also cause a miscarriage.

•    Uterine, as well as hormonal abnormalities may be another cause for a miscarriage.

•    Sometimes, infections such as German Measles or mumps, in the first trimester, may trigger a miscarriage.

•    Chemical hazards in the workplace or environment may have a detrimental effect on the growing fetus, leading to a miscarriage. Culprits in this can be pesticides or water polluted by industrial wastes. Vietnam veterans experienced exposure to Orange (dioxin) which led to numerous miscarriages in that decade. Those who use a video display terminal for over 20 hours in a week, are also at risk.

•    Drug abuse could be a major risk factor.

•    Sometimes, even an over-the-counter drug or prescription medication (such as an acne drug) has been known to cause a miscarriage.

•    Diabetic women may also be at risk.

•    Malnutrition could lead to a miscarriage.

•    Ovulation, which has been induced with fertility drugs, also stands the risk of a miscarriage.

•    Certain prenatal medical tests such as chorionic villi and amniocentesis have been associated with a miscarriage risk.

•    The age of the mother could be another cause. Miscarriages have often occurred in women who are having their first pregnancy after the age of 35.

•    Women suffering from scleroderma, which is a disease of the soft tissues, stand added risk of a miscarriage.

•    Excessive smoking and alcohol abuse have often been associated with increased incidences of miscarriage

Submitted by P T on February 23, 2010 at 10:45

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