Today, I feel like talking about something a little bit deeper. Something that doesn’t tend to come up, even amongst friends as a comfortable conversation to have…
Suffering a miscarriage is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a woman, and her partner. Working a lot with women and having plenty of female friends this is a topic which has arisen more than once. For most, understandable, conceiving can be the easy part and conceive quickly to not be prepared for the shock of losing a baby.
To make things worse, in the medical profession, there is sometimes a lack of sympathy, with them only investigating into your case until after you have suffered 3 miscarriages.
It may seem like a callous approach however the issue is miscarriages are all too common. In fact, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually before the 12 weeks of pregnancy.
And of course, if you do suffer a miscarriage, no amount of reassurance that is is ‘normal’ or ‘common’ can ease the pain.
So, what is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is also known as a ‘spontaneous abortion’ which occurs when a baby is lost spontaneously before the 24th week of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women feel well and will not notice anything is wrong before a scan confirms that a baby has stopped developing.
What causes a miscarriage?
This question is still very much lightly unanswered. There are medical reasons for miscarriage and a series of tests will establish whether or not there is a cause. Other women miscarry and have completely normal results, so sometimes it’s best to know a reason to make you less frightened to try again and also the possibility to try something different the next time round.
The greatest risk is of course before 12 weeks. This is because the embryo is floating unattached in the womb and it is not until the 12th week where this attaches.
Fibroids which protrude into the womb can increase the risk of miscarriage as they may make it difficult for the implanted embryo to develop properly,
This is the most common reason for miscarriage. It is normally the result of a one-off genetic abnormality in the baby, which means it is unlikely to recur in future pregnancies. In other words ‘our bodies are working in line with nature of – survival of the fittest’.
Inherited genetic problems
This is a much less common reason for a miscarriage, and you might be unaware that you carry problematic genes. If you suffer repeated miscarriages, it will probably be suggested that you and your partner undergo chromosome analysis. This will detect whether there are any defective genes, in either you or your partner.
Bacterial Vaginosis / Infection
It has been known for a number of years that an infection called bacterial vaginosis, can increase the risk of a late miscarriage (between 16-24 weeks) or bring on premature labour. And more recent research shows it can also cause early miscarriage too.
Progesterone is the hormone which is responsible for maintaining a pregnancy during the first few weeks. Without sufficient levels of progesterone, the pregnancy cannot continue – this is why anti-progesterone drugs are now used to terminate an early pregnancy without the need for an operation.
- Auto-immune conditions
- Incompetent cervix
- Anatomical barriers
- Abnormal Sperm