The 8 most common questions about miscarriage
The 8 most common questions about miscarriage
How do I know I’m having a miscarriage?
Miscarriages can present in many ways, with some women experiencing a period like pain and bleeding. For others, there may be no symptoms and the miscarriage is picked up incidentally on a routine ultrasound. In some cases, an ultrasound can pick up features that the pregnancy may not be optimal and further testing or follow-up may be necessary by their fertility expert. To confirm a viable pregnancy an early dating scan is recommended. If this is confirmed, then the chance of a miscarriage occurring is greatly reduced.
What are the main causes of miscarriage?
The majority of miscarriages happen as a result of genetically abnormal embryos. situation that are also known to lead to recurrent miscarriage are blood clotting disorders; endocrine disorders; sub mucosal fibroids; and other structural abnormalities in the womb; as well as hormonal issues usually seen with polycystic ovaries. In a small percentage of people, a genetic irregularity can be passed down resulting in miscarriages.
How does the woman’s age increase the risk of miscarriage?
Because women are born with a finite amount of eggs and these eggs age as we do, women over 35 face an enlarged risk of miscarriage as the quality of the eggs decline. By the time a woman has turned 43, there is a 50% chance a pregnancy will miscarry. With aging, there can be an enlarged amount of exposure to oxidative stresses which affects the DNA which makes up the important genetic material of a woman’s eggs. This affects the health and quality of the eggs and ultimately the quality of the embryo and its risk of miscarrying. It’s significant to remember that no matter how healthy you are or how young you feel, this will not prevent the quality of your eggs declining with time and the risk of chromosomally abnormal pregnancies increase with age.
Does stress increase my chance of miscarriage?
The reason of pregnancy loss is complex and is generally due to chromosomal abnormality in the embryo, and not increased it h personal or work stress, excessive exercise or travel.
How soon after a miscarriage can we try to conceive again?
Doctors usually advise giving your body the chance to have 1 or 2 periods before trying again to fall pregnant. This is also useful for dating the pregnancy. However, it is significant you wait until both partners feel ready both physically and emotionally to try again. One should consult their treating doctor with regards to this depending of the circumstances leading to the miscarriage and the treatment.
What can we do to prevent miscarriage?
While there is no way to stop a miscarriage happening, there are some controllable lifestyle factors such as smoking, drug use and obesity which are known to enlarge the potential for miscarriage. This also optimizes one’s health from a fertility and pregnancy point of view.
There are a small percentage of people that carry a genetic abnormality, or what is known as parental chromosome abnormalities such as translocations. Embryos with unbalanced translocations usually result in a miscarriage; Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) can help improve their chances of having a healthy baby in these circumstances.
What treatments are available to avoid miscarriage occurring?
Unfortunately the management of miscarriages can be complex and the care will need to be individualized with the fertility specialist and the couple.
There are a variety of advanced tests available to help detect the likelihood of another miscarriage and to prevent it from occurring in the future. The most ordinary one is Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) which can be included as part of an IVF cycle. PGS allows for screening of all chromosomes in a developing embryo so only the embryo/s with normal chromosomes are selected for implantation, decreasing the risk of miscarriage from an abnormal embryo.
If a sub mucosal fibroid or uterine septum is diagnosed as the reason of miscarriage, the removal of these may improve the chances of implantation.
What should we do if we experience multiple miscarriages?
A small percentage of couples may experience more than one consecutive miscarriage. Three or more consecutive or ‘recurrent’ miscarriages affect around 1% of couples trying to have a baby.
Couples that have experienced recurrent miscarriages should consider seeing a fertility expert to discuss their unique condition, undergo an assessment and have a treatment plan tailored for them.
Based on individual cases, the fertility specialist may offer testing as well as early monitoring of a pregnancy with blood tests and ultrasounds. If the need arises, then early diagnosis and treatment of any issues can be expedited.
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