A miscarriage, often referred to as a “spontaneous abortion,” describes the loss of a pregnancy, usually occurring within the first 20 weeks. About 80 percent of all miscarriages happen before the completion of the first trimester. Research shows that 10 to 20 percent of women who know they are pregnant experience a miscarriage. This does not include the situation that 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost before one gets pregnant which happens too early to even realize it.

9 Common Miscarriage Causes

The miscarriage causes are not always clear. The most common suppositions of a miscarriage that takes place within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are hormonal issues, collagen vascular diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), infections, abnormalities in the chromosomes, etc. However, the majority of miscarriages have been attributed to chromosomal abnormalities within the fetus. Each of the miscarriage causes will be further discussed below.

1. Hormonal Problems

Hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome are all examples of hormonal issues that increase the possibility of miscarriage. Luteal phase defect which means there is not enough progesterone produced to sustain the fetus in the ovary is another possible miscarriage cause that is thought to result in losing a fetus, though the results of these studies are arguable.

2. Chromosome Defects

Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of cells and are a combination of DNA and proteins. They contribute significantly to determining the physical attributes of a person. Because chromosomes multiply countless times during development of the fetus, there is no telling at which point problems happen. However, for couples who have a history of miscarriages, genetic screening may determine the traits that are likely to recur.

In miscarriages that occur within the first 12 weeks, fifty percent of the fetal tissue contains anomalous chromosomes. As pregnancy advances, the percentage drops by more than half. Themiscarry in first trimester happens a lot so it is not considered “abnormal” at all unless the woman has a history of repeat miscarriages. However, a miscarriage that occurs in the second trimester is not as expected, and would warrant further investigation. Chromosomal defects are more likely to occur as a woman ages, and the probability of a miscarriage increases immensely for women in their forties.

3. Uterus or Cervix Abnormalities

Some women’s uteruses are irregularly shaped, and this is a contributor to miscarriages. Some women are afflicted with a condition where the uterus is divided into separate sections by tissue bridges. The tissue bridge, called a “septum”, does not have a sustainable blood supply and does not support embryonic implantation. If the embryo cannot implant itself fully in the uterine wall, most times it is discharged from the womb.

4. Immune System Disorder

Doctors cannot as yet concur whether immune system disorders actually are a driving factor in the occurrence of miscarriage. Research into this idea is ongoing. However, research performed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists seems to suggest that autoimmune diseases do heighten the chance of recurrent miscarriages in particular. Given how autoimmune diseases behave, in these cases, it is thought that the body simply rejects the pregnancy.

5. Infections

Many infections may result in miscarriage. These infections are often transferred to the placenta and the fetus, causing the fetus to become unviable. Some infections that are particularly hazardous to pregnancy include herpes simplex, malaria and syphilis. While viruses have a similar effect, yeast infectionstremely common in pregnancy won’t affect the uterus as many think.

6. Common Illness

There are some common illnesses that are known to result in deformities or loss of the fetus, like chicken pox and fifth disease, if you have not had them before and are not vaccinated against them. Consult with your doctor to confirm whether you already have old or new antibodies in your blood. Old antibodies are ideal.

If you develop a high fever, say more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you should treat it immediately, and you should take a fever reducer like Tylenol under the guidance of your doctor.

7. Age

The natural aging process is a risk factor for having a miscarriage. Everything about the body ages, including the sperm and eggs it produces. So, the older a woman gets, the more likely she is to have a fetus with abnormalities and thus, to have a miscarriage. Therefore, a 40 years old woman is likely to experience a miscarriage twice as much as another female who is half her age. Hormonal issues are as well more prevalent as you get older, and chromosome levels and quality are even more likely to be skewed.

8. Health Problems in the Mother

If the mother is afflicted with chronic disease or other health problems, the chance of miscarriage occurring is higher. Heart disease, thyroid issues as well as diabetes may all result in a complicated pregnancy. But it doesn’t mean you will definitely have a miscarriage, just be careful and manage all these conditions with the direction of your doctor.

9. Accidents

The amniotic sac and its contained fluid offer cushioning and protection for the fetus, so general accidents do not have to result in miscarriage, particularly if the abdominal area is not severely injured. Notwithstanding the causes identified above, other miscarriage causes are:

  • Blood disorders, like sickle cell anemia, reduce the chance of a full term pregnancy.
  • Any other infirmity that compromises your cardiac performance, circulatory system, liver or kidney function can cause miscarriage in the latter trimesters.
  • The consumption of alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and illegal substances drastically increases the probability of spontaneous abortion.
  • Your everyday routine can be hazardous to your pregnancy, in the form of environmental and workplace hazards. These include the inhalation of lead, carbon monoxide and other chemicals, as well as exposure to radiation.

How Is a Miscarriage Diagnosed and Treated?

If you suspect a miscarriage, visit your doctor and he will perform a pelvic exam and/or an ultrasound. This assessment will determine the extent to which the expulsion is complete. If the abortion is incomplete, he will need to dilate the cervix and manually remove all fetal and placental tissue. This simple procedure is called dilation and curettage. As an alternative, certain medications may be administered that have the same effect.