What are the leading causes of miscarriage?

Dr. Amitoj Athwal

Infertility Specialist
Spontaneous loss of pregnancy prior to the 20th week is referred to as miscarriage. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Causes of miscarriage • Abnormalities of Chromosomes or Genes: The fetus' development inside the womb may not be normal which accounts for majority of the miscarriages. Missing or extra chromosomes are the reason behind nearly 50 percent of miscarriages. However, in most instances, chromosomal issues are caused by incidental errors occuring during the embryo's division and growth. These are not genetic problems coming from your ancestors. Abnormalities of the chromosomes can lead to the following scenarios: • Blighted Ovum: It refers to the condition of an embryo failing to form, although a gestational sac has developed. It is also referred to as an anembryonic pregnancy. • Intrauterine Fetal Demise: It refers to the formation but non-development of the embryo. Ultimately, the embryo dies without showing any miscarriage symptoms. • Molar and Partial Molar Pregnancies: When both the chromosome sets are given by the father, it is called molar pregnancy. It involves no fetal development and abnormal growth of the placenta. On the other hand, when the two chromosome sets come from the father while the mother's chromosomes also exist, it is referred to as a partial molar pregnancy. It may cause an abnormal fetus and abnormalities of the placenta. Moreover, molar and partial molar pregnancies have been occasionally associated with cancerous changes of the placenta. • Mother's Medical Problems: Maternal health conditions can sometimes trigger a miscarriage. Infections, hormonal issues, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disorder and uterus or cervix problems are the major causes. • Chemical Pregnancy: Biochemical or chemical pregnancy is an early and spontaneous abortion that takes place before the fifth week. A woman conceives normally after ovulation, and the embryo implants itself giving rise to pregnancy. However, this ends in a miscarriage and nothing can be seen in the womb. Chemical pregnancies comprise around 50 to 75 percent of all cases of miscarriage. Its chief causes include infections (chlamydia or syphilis), low BMI, luteal phase defect, uterine abnormalities, systemic ailments (untreated thyroid disease), hormonal abnormalities and inadequate uterine lining. What are recurrent miscarriages? Loss of two or more consecutive pregnancies is termed as recurrent miscarriage. The cause behind such miscarriages are undefined in around 50 to 75 percent of the cases. However, a few known risk factors include chronic exposures to toxins like alcohol, drugs and smoking, anatomical conditions, chromosomal problems, endocrine disorders, immune factors, chronic endometritis and ovarian factors.
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