Guest blog by Lauren Groff, a women’s health writer.
Recurrent pregnancy loss is the term given to women who have experienced two or more consecutive clinical pregnancy losses. Not only is this a devastating and traumatic experience, but the mystery of why it is happening can add further to the grief and anxiety experienced by many couples. Although there are a range of possible causes for recurrent miscarriage, there are also some solutions that can help improve your chances of conceiving a baby.
Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss:
There are multiple causes for recurrent miscarriage. Of all clinical pregnancies, 15-20% end in miscarriage. However, of those, only approximately 1% go on to experience subsequent miscarriages. Some of the most common causes include:
1. Genetic Abnormalities
Some miscarriages occur as a result of a genetic abnormality. For some couples who experience recurrent miscarriage, however, it may be due to one or both partners having chromosome translocations.
This is when one piece of chromosome breaks off and reattaches to another chromosome. This results in sperm or eggs being created with either missing or extra genetic information, which leads to recurrent pregnancy loss.
2. Anatomic Abnormalities
Anatomic abnormalities in the reproductive system can lead to complications and difficulties in conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to full term. These can include deformities in the uterine anatomy (including size or shape of the uterus), a septate uterus (when a wall of tissue separates the uterus into two sections) or cervical weakness.
3. Autoimmune Conditions
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks phospholipid-bound proteins, which are an essential component of human cells. This can lead to blood clotting disorders, including affecting the flow of blood to the placenta, which will prevent it from functioning properly, thereby leading to miscarriage.
4. Thyroid and Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can disrupt the reproductive system. Similarly, an overactive or underactive thyroid can result in hormonal imbalances, which can lead to recurrent pregnancy loss. These imbalances can affect the proper development of the uterine lining, preventing a fertilized egg from being able to successfully implant or be sufficiently nourished.
5. Fibroids, Polyps and Chronic Endometritis
Some women have noncancerous growths, known as fibroids or polyps, which can grow inside the uterus, making it difficult to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. Similarly, chronic endometritis, which can be caused by common bacteria and often has no symptoms, is a localized inflammatory condition of the inner lining of the uterine cavity. It can lead to miscarriage, by altering the genes involved in the successful implantation of a fertilized egg.
Treatment Options for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Following a full physical examination and fertility tests, including blood tests and ultrasounds, doctors will be better placed to determine the potential causes of recurrent miscarriages, as well as the treatments available to help manage it.
In the case of some anatomic abnormalities, doctors may suggest surgery to correct the irregularities; for example, in the case of fibroids or a septate uterus. However, for those with autoimmune conditions, thyroid or hormonal imbalance problems, they may instead be given medication to address these conditions.
If a chromosomal problem is identified, a doctor may suggest undergoing genetic counselling. Usually, doctors advise couples in this situation to attempt in vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as genetically screening embryos. This helps to improve the chances of embryos with the correct number of chromosomes being transferred into the uterus, thereby improving the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can also help increase your chances of successfully conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term. This includes stopping smoking or taking any illicit drugs, as well as reducing your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Eating healthily and trying to maintain a healthy weight are also important factors.
In addition, Circle & Bloom offers a free guided meditation that’s designed to help you heal physically and mentally following a miscarriage. This 3-part 22-minute audio-guided meditation will help you heal, reflect, and relax, as you work towards overcoming this hard time, and moving forward with your life.
Experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss can be traumatic and emotionally challenging. However, you can get support and advice from doctors, as well as a range of organizations to help you cope with the grief and anxiety surrounding your loss. Undergoing tests and investigations can help you to better understand the potential cause of your recurrent pregnancy loss, as well as what steps you can take to help you move forward.
Find support in organizations and groups with other women and coupons are on similar journeys as you. Circle+Bloom has a Private Facebook Group that is a wonderful support system of when who are on different fertility journeys. It’s a group of women dedicated to learning, helping, and supporting each other on the journey to building a family. In this group we will share our stories, be inspired, find hope, discover kinship, and take joyous, positive action in our journeys. Circle+Bloom’s Private Facebook Group community is rich with experience, insight, and thoughtful leadership and offers many free live online webinars with fertility doctors & specialists, fertility nutritionists, fertility coaches, fertility yoga instructors, and so many others. Learn more about this Private Facebook Group.
Lauren Groff is an experienced health writer at Academized.com and Paperfellows.com, where she regularly writes about women’s health. She is passionate about helping women to better understand their experiences, so as to be better placed to take proactive steps to manage all aspects of their health and wellbeing. Lauren is also an editor at Liahelp.com. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys reading and exploring the outdoors.