Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is a very emotionally distressing experience for women and couples. With approximately one in four pregnancies ending in this way it is unfortunately not uncommon, particularly in the first trimester. However most women who have a pregnancy loss ultimately go on to have a healthy baby.
BFC has treated many patients with their medical protocol to achieve success in recurrent pregnancy loss. See our Immunology program which has been key in achieving pregnancy for these patient.
Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Many early miscarriages (the ones that happen in the first 3 months of pregnancy) are due to genetic abnormalities in the embryo or fetus. Normally, there are 46 chromosomes that contain the genes for normal development. Many early miscarriages happen because the fetus has an extra chromosome or one is missing. Chromosome abnormalities occur for no known reason in up to 60% of first-trimester miscarriages. Genetic abnormalities typically do not allow development into a healthy baby. As women age, the miscarriage risk due to these genetic abnormalities increases — from 10%-15% in women younger than 35 years old to more than 50% in women over 40 years old.
A problem with the shape of a woman’s uterus might be a cause for pregnancy loss. Causes for abnormal shape of the uterus can be genetic or exposure before birth to medications such as diethylstilbestrol (DES). Other anatomic causes include having a band of tissue inside the uterus, called a septum. This can make the inside of the uterus too small. Women born with a septum may have more frequent miscarriages. Fibroids, benign muscle tumors of the uterus, are also common. These can lead to miscarriages if they grow into or near the uterine cavity.
Smoking increases the risk for RPL and being overweight has been linked with RPL as well as other pregnancy complications. Excessive alcohol or caffeine intake might be linked with RPL.
Untreated medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or diabetes, can increase the risk for miscarriage. Abnormalities of the immune system or blood-clotting system (thrombophilia) can alsocause RPL.
In over half of RPL cases, doctors cannot find the cause for losses. However, many of these may be due to genetic abnormalities.
Treatment of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
There are many tests available today to show if certain conditions exist that may be causing RPL. It is important that you consult your physician to explore these options.