What causes miscarriages? A doctor explains why women shouldn’t blame themselves

One in four recognized pregnancies results in miscarriage. The would-be mother often feels sadness, anger, and guilt. Women often blame themselves when they lose a pregnancy. This can lead to feelings like hopelessness and depression. Mother’s Day can be a devastating day for women who have suffered a miscarriage. One in four pregnancies results in miscarriage.

It can be physically and mentally exhausting to lose a pregnancy. Women are often filled with feelings of anger, guilt, and sadness. Women often blame themselves when they lose something, leading to feelings of despair and depression.

I am a Fellow in maternal-fetal Medicine, and I’ve seen the emotional turmoil that many women go through after a miscarriage. Families and caregivers can support a woman by understanding her feelings and letting her know this was not her fault. I believe that an open dialogue on the causes and incidence of early pregnancy losses can help to create a sense of community and lessen the taboo surrounding the subject.

Why the woman is not at fault for miscarriage

About 15 to 25 percent of all clinically confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriages can occur without a woman being aware of it, which explains the wide range in incidence.

Aneuploidy is the cause of 80% or more of all miscarriages. Sporadic errors in chromosomal duplication and division cause aneuploidy. The abnormal chromosomes can be incompatible with the life of the fetus and cause miscarriage. These genetic mistakes are intermittent because they were caused by chance and not passed on to the child from their parents.

Trisomy is the result of an extra chromosome. Trisomy 16 is the most common chromosomal anomaly found during first-trimester losses. Trisomy 16 is a term used to describe the presence of three copies of chromosome 16. This is in contrast to the two normal copies. It almost always leads to miscarriage.

5% of women will have two consecutive pregnancies. 1% of women will have three or more successive pregnancies. Recurrent pregnancy loss, or straight pregnancy loss, is the term used to describe this. Women who experience this should discuss it with their obstetrician/gynecologist and schedule a clinical workup.

What doctors know about miscarriage

It is not always in the woman’s hands to determine what caused her pregnancy loss. Genetics, abnormalities of the uterus, autoimmunity, infections, and metabolic disorders can all be factors. Avoiding tobacco and drugs are some of the lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Most miscarriages due to uterine abnormalities occur in the second trimester. The most common malformation is a Septate Uterus, which occurs when a fibrous membrane or septum develops within the uterus. It usually happens when the woman is still a fetus developing in her mother’s womb. A woman may not be aware of this condition unless her doctor diagnoses it.

Other types of abnormalities are not surgically correctable.

Miscarriage causes

The loss of pregnancy is also associated with a clotting disorder called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. This condition can cause the placenta’s development and implant to be abnormal. Antiphospholipid antibodies are present in 5% to 20 % of women who have a recurrent loss of pregnancy, but this condition is not routinely tested. Women with a history of recurrent loss of pregnancy should be tested for this syndrome by their physician. Aspirin and Heparin at low doses have been shown to increase the live birth rate.

No matter if they are pregnant or not, women can and should take care of themselves. It is important to control chronic diseases like diabetes when pregnant. Doctors who treat women who are pregnant and smoke, drink, or use drugs can help them quit. The risk of miscarriage is reduced when women stop using tobacco, alcohol, or other substances.

There is a lot of guilt and grief.

Miscarriage can lead to guilt and grief.

A loss of pregnancy is usually accompanied by grief. Miscarriage can negatively impact a couple’s relationships. To eliminate the stigma that some women feel, it is important to increase awareness and sensitivity to issues related to pregnancy loss. Many women experience guilt when they have a miscarriage. This can compound their grief.

A more open discussion about miscarriage may help to reveal how common it is. In order to help women through this difficult time, they must have a supportive community. Let’s celebrate the mothers who have children alive and remember those who lost their pregnancies during this Mother’s Day.