Understanding Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recently redefined recurrent pregnancy loss as two or more consecutive pregnancy losses. Losing a pregnancy is devastating and recurrent pregnancy loss is heartbreaking. For those who have lost multiple pregnancies, the feelings of sadness, isolation and hopelessness can be even more overwhelming. Sadly, this painful experience is very common – the risk of miscarriage in any given pregnancy is about 15%. Taking the time to diagnose potential problems, then creating a treatment plan tailored to the individual patient is the best way to overcome recurrent miscarriage.
It is important to understand that when a miscarriage happens, it is not your fault. It is extremely rare that a miscarriage occurs due to the actions of a pregnant woman. Going for a run, having sex, taking (most) medications or suffering a light fall will not cause a miscarriage. It is also important to allow time to heal, both physically and emotionally. Many patients take a small break from treatment after a loss.
Most miscarriages occur in the first 13 weeks of gestation, with a miscarriage formally defined as losing a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. It is best to consult a physician after experiencing two consecutive miscarriages.
We understand the hardship patients experience after a loss, and work diligently on your behalf to ensure you are supported and championed on your journey to fertility success.
Common Causes of Miscarriage
The most common cause of miscarriage, genetic abnormality accounts for the vast majority of losses. A genetic abnormality is present when there is an extra or missing chromosome in an embryo. The root cause of genetic issues are unknown, but age is often a component. With age, genetic abnormality rises in men and women. The most effective way diagnose and treat genetic abnormality is to genetically screen embryos using preimplantation genetic screening prior to an embryo transfer. This allows the healthiest embryos to be chosen for treatment.
When certain hormones are imbalanced, such as low progesterone levels, recurrent miscarriage can occur. Hormone imbalances are typically treated through prescribed medication.
Certain uterine abnormalities, such as fibroids or a uterine septum, can cause difficulty with embryo attachment to the uterine wall. Surgical treatments can correct uterine issues, boosting chances of pregnancy success.
Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions and diseases can increase the chance of miscarriage. For example, immune system disorders and blood clotting disorders as well as thyroid dysfunction and diabetes can cause miscarriage when left untreated. Infections such as listeria, gonorrhea and measles can also increase risk of pregnancy loss.
With so many variables, it can be difficult to pinpoint a precise cause. Even without a diagnosable cause, the ASRM asserts that most losses are due to genetic abnormality.
If you are experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss contact us to schedule a consultation to explore causes and viable treatment options.