Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is loss of pregnancy due to any reason before of twenty weeks. It indicates death of the baby before it gets ready for the process of child birth and survival.
Miscarriage commonly occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, usually during the 14th week, but is possible at any time before or around 20 weeks of pregnancy. In many cases, a miscarriage occurs in as early as 6 weeks, before the pregnancy is detected on an ultrasound but the urine pregnancy test is positive.
Spontaneous abortion or miscarriage occurs naturally. Abortion that is carried out on purpose (for medical reasons) is called as an induced abortion.
A miscarriage is a common complication of pregnancy that can occur as a one-time episode or repeatedly. One in five cases of pregnancy suffers a miscarriage.
Miscarriage that occurs consecutively for three or more times before the completion of 22 weeks of pregnancy is called as recurrent miscarriage.
Vaginal discharge comprises of blood with clots mixed with fluids accompanied by severe cramps in the abdomen and back. The symptoms stop after the expulsion of the fetus and accompanying tissues.
Symptoms are of a milder degree in a threatened miscarriage, but become severe when miscarriage becomes unavoidable.
There are multiple causes of miscarriage during first trimester of pregnancy.
The most common causes of miscarriage in very early pregnancy include the following:
1. Most common cause of miscarriage-genetic disorders:
Chromosomal defects or genetic defects in the baby are the leading causes of miscarriage. Examination of the expelled products of miscarriage show deformities along with defective or imbalanced set of chromosomes in the cells of the foetus.
2. Increased age (40 years or more) of the mother carries high risk of genetic defects in the baby, and thus of miscarriage
In addition to chromosomal defects, other common causes of recurrent miscarriage include the following:
1. Disorder in the mother’s immune system causing rejection of the foetus. One such autoimmune disorder that commonly causes recurrent miscarriage is anti-phospholipid syndrome. In this disorder, antibodies secreted by the mother’s immune system inhibit the survival of the foetus in the womb leading to miscarriage.
2. Uterine causes of miscarriage consist of abnormalities in structure of the uterus preventing attachment of the embryo to the uterine wall. Fibroids in the uterus, abnormal partition in the uterus (septate uterus), etc. are frequently associated with recurrent miscarriage. Uterine malformations can be hereditary or acquired.
3. Hormonal causes responsible for miscarriage include diabetes, thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian disease, etc. Imbalance in luteinizing hormone (LH) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are also among the known causes of miscarriage of pregnancy.
4. Blood disorders triggering easy clotting of blood in the placenta, lead to insufficient blood supply to the growing foetus. Easy clotting of blood is commonly a hereditary condition.
5. Blighted ovum is a condition in which fertilization takes place but there is no development of baby.
6. Sperm DNA defect is also one of the various causes of recurrent miscarriage in early pregnancy.
7. Causes of septic miscarriage or miscarriage caused by infection can be varied. Bacterial vaginosis, HIV, dengue, malaria, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and brucellosis are high risk factors for miscarriage.
8. Lifestyle causes of miscarriage include cigarette smoking, tobacco, alcohol, heavy caffeine intake, obesity, mental stress, injuries, etc.
9. Causes of miscarriage in second trimester include several factors. In some cases, the cervix dilates and opens very early in the pregnancy. This condition is called as incompetent cervix, which increases the risk of miscarriage in the second trimester.
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Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.