Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the loss of a fetus before a woman crosses the twentieth week of her pregnancy. The joy of pregnancy and impending motherhood is cut short by a miscarriage. Studies have shown that nearly fifteen percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriages. If a woman loses the fetus after the twentieth week of gestation it is commonly referred to as a still birth.
A woman suffers extreme emotional turmoil as a result of miscarriage. There are many factors which contribute to spontaneous abortion or miscarriages. Let us examine the common causes of abortion.
In many cases, miscarriages occur because of chromosomal abnormalities. Medical research has shown that in more than half of all miscarriages, which occurred during the first trimester, the fetal tissue contained abnormal chromosomes. As a woman advances in age, the chances of chromosomal abnormalities, also increases. This is one of the main reasons why otherwise healthy pregnant women over the age of thirty five, have a higher incidence of miscarriages.
Diabetic pregnant women have higher chances of suffering from miscarriages. The chances of fetal abnormalities are also higher in women with diabetes, especially in advanced cases of diabetes. Diabetic women should be taught proper ways of controlling their burgeoning sugar levels especially when they become pregnant.
Auto immune disorders wherein the immune system of the body attacks healthy body cells can also cause miscarriages. Collagen vascular diseases like anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus can also lead to miscarriages. The best way to confirm whether a woman is suffering from collagen vascular diseases is through a simple blood test.
Maternal infections particularly toxoplasma gondii, rubella, parovirus B19, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, listeria monocytogenes and choriomeningitis viral infections can increase the chances of miscarriages particularly in the second trimester.
Hormonal imbalances caused by diseases like thyroid disease, polycystic ovaries syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome have also been known to increase the chances of suffering from miscarriages.
The early stages of the pregnancy are maintained by progesterone. However the inadequate production of progesterone caused by the improper functioning of the corpus luteum located in the ovaries can also lead to miscarriages.
Anomalies of the uterus along with benign growths inside the uterus like fibroids can increase the chances of an otherwise healthy women suffering from a miscarriage.
Other factors which increases the chances of a woman suffering from a miscarriage are sudden trauma or injury as a result of a fall or any other accident, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and excessive smoking during pregnancy, congenital heart diseases, exposure to radiation, kidney diseases, severe malnutrition and using certain types of medications including Accutane a medicine which is normally prescribed for acne.
Some of the earliest signs of miscarriage which most women should watch out for are, severe abdominal pain which can even be mistaken for labor pain because of its intensity, back pain which slowly increases in intensity, bleeding which starts with spotting and ends with heavy bleeding similar to menstrual bleeding and change in the normal symptoms of pregnancy including nausea and general body soreness.
Lack of fetal movement, sudden difficulty in breathing, weight loss, pelvic pain, loss of fetal heartbeat, a whitish pinkish vaginal discharge, fluid leaking from the vagina are the other symptoms of a miscarriage.