A single miscarriage can be terribly painful for a woman and recurrent pregnancy loss or repeated miscarriages could actually be devastating.
Yet this is a situation that is seen repeatedly; leading to the question about the cause of these occurrences and how a woman can manage in light of repeated pregnancy losses.
It is seen that even if a woman has suffered two miscarriages, 85% of the time, she will go on to have a normal pregnancy after this. Medically if a woman is seen to have three or more pregnancies that end in a miscarriage, this is known as recurrent pregnancy loss or habitual abortion.
The causes for a woman not being able to carry a pregnancy to term are not fully understood, however we now know more than we did earlier.
Some causes are identified and may be possible to treat as well though some causes are untreatable or unknown.
Here are some of the possible causes for recurrent pregnancy loss:
The risk of miscarriages increases with a woman’s age, particularly after the age of 35. An estimated 33% of pregnancies end in miscarriage after the age of 40.
Cervical incompetence is one of the reasons for consistent miscarriage of a pregnancy. Here the cervix begins to dilate and efface before term and is responsible for preterm births as well as miscarriages.
In 15% of cases, the repeated miscarriage is caused due to malformations of the uterus such as a uterine septum (a partition within the uterine cavity), a double uterus or an abnormally shaped or positioned uterus. The presence of a leiomyoma or abnormal mass present in the uterus can also cause miscarriages repeatedly. Scar tissue in the uterus, problems relating to blood supply to the uterus and so on could also be causes for recurrent pregnancy loss.
These are frequently at the root of miscarriages but they are more likely to cause one off miscarriages rather than repeated ones.
Some women have a condition that increases their propensity to forming blood clots called thrombophilia. While this may not be inimical to all pregnancies, some women with this condition find it impossible carrying a pregnancy to term because of it.
Some pregnancies are lost due to the mother’s system having an immune response to a fetus seeing it as an invader to be got rid of. Antibodies produced by the body itself can cause recurrent pregnancy loss.
Poorly managed diabetes, thyroid problems, PCOS etc
Women who have hypothyroidism are known to be at greater risk of pregnancy loss. Also poorly managed or undiagnosed diabetes could be the underlying reason for a woman being unable to carry a pregnancy to term. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome also produces conditions that lead to repeated miscarriages. Endometriosis could also be at the root of the problem. Several types of infections may also prevent women carrying pregnancies to term.
Male factor for recurrent pregnancy loss
Sometimes it could be deficiencies in the male sperm that could be the reason for this.