There are many different causes of miscarriages. Fortunately, the most common causes are ones that don’t tend to be passed on, so having just one miscarriage doesn’t necessarily increase your risk of having another one.
The most common cause of a miscarriage is a genetic anomaly. A new baby is formed by the egg from the mother and the sperm from the father, each of which carries only half of the DNA necessary to make a new life. When they come together, the two halves make a whole, yielding a brand new unique genetic structure. This is a delicate process, however, and sometimes it goes wrong. Some of the DNA might break off, leaving an incomplete blueprint for the baby’s development. Sometimes an extra piece is copied, or the pieces are joined together wrong. DNA is very complex, so it’s no wonder that it doesn’t always come together right. When this happens, the baby can’t develop properly and doesn’t attach to the mother’s womb, or the mother’s body identifies that there is something wrong and detaches the baby from the uterus.
The loss of any baby is sad and can be traumatizing to the family, but these miscarriages cannot be prevented and are more common than we think. It is estimated that more than a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and that’s only including the pregnancies that were known! Most miscarriages happen before the mother even knows she was pregnant. This is another reason it’s important to confirm your pregnancy with an ultrasound, not just a pregnancy test, since pregnancy tests can continue to be positive for as long as 6 weeks after your miscarriage while your body processes through all those pregnancy hormones.
There are a few types of miscarriage that can be prevented, usually due to a genetic anomaly in the mother that requires a little extra help. Some women’s bodies don’t produce enough of a certain nutrient, so when this is identified the mother can take supplements of that vitamin or hormone to protect her pregnancy. Other women have physical abnormalities that can sometimes be corrected, such as a condition known as “incompetent cervix,” where her uterus doesn’t close properly to protect the baby. Some of these can be treated and some can’t, but they are usually identified when a woman has multiple miscarriages, since this sends up a red flag that there is something wrong.
If you only had one miscarriage, then take heart. The odds are good that your next pregnancy will go smoothly.
If you have suffered multiple miscarriages, then it’s time to see your doctor and figure out if there could be a genetic difficulty or a physical anomaly that is causing your miscarriages. Don’t try to diagnose yourself on the internet, – there are far too many conditions, and you need the expertise of a physician to accurately know what’s happening with your body.
Miscarriage can be a devastating experience for everyone involved. If you would like someone to talk to, please Make an Appointment to meet with one of our counselors. We can give you a safe space to cry and process the experience however you need to, without judgment.Tags: genetics, miscarriage, nutrition