Chromosomal abnormalities, placental issues among many reasons that cause miscarriages: Here's how to ensure a safe pregnancy

It’s not possible to prevent a miscarriage completely, but one can reduce the risks of this complication by following a few steps.

Myupchar June 18, 2020 14:12:05 IST
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Chromosomal abnormalities, placental issues among many reasons that cause miscarriages: Here's how to ensure a safe pregnancy

Every woman wishes for her pregnancy to be happy, healthy and completely devoid of any complications. While proper prenatal care can help ensure the safety of both mother and child, there are a few complications which can occur suddenly and take the parents-to-be by surprise. Miscarriage, or the sudden and spontaneous loss of a foetus within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, is one such complication that can have quite a traumatic effect.

A study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India in 2016 revealed that even though the global estimate of miscarriages is 10-15 percent, the occurrence rate is much higher among Indian women at an alarming 32 percent. This is the reason why understanding the causes behind miscarriages and ensuring the risk factors are reduced drastically is of vital importance.

Causes of miscarriage

Once a miscarriage starts, it cannot be stopped. In most cases, the precise causes behind a miscarriage are not known, even though researchers and the medical community believe that the following factors could be responsible for it.

1. Chromosomal problems: According to the Cleveland Clinic, about half of the miscarriages that occur in the first trimester are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus that are either hereditary or spontaneous during conception. These abnormalities can occur due to defects in the father’s sperm or the mother’s eggs.

2. Placental issues: The placenta is an organ that develops in the first trimester and it plays a vital role throughout pregnancy by supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Any issues with the placenta can affect the baby’s health and cause miscarriages.

3. Underlying health conditions: If the mother already suffers from diseases like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders, it can affect the development of the foetus and reduce its viability. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that even mild thyroid abnormalities can cause miscarriage and related complications in one in five women.

4. Infections: Pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), bacterial vaginosis, etc. These infections can be passed down to the foetus and can increase the risk of miscarriage.

5. Weak cervix: Some women have a weak cervix, which can cause cervical insufficiency. This, in turn, can cause the cervix to open too early in the pregnancy and cause a miscarriage.

6. Womb structure: Abnormalities in the shape of the uterus — if it’s tilted, deviated or has fibroids - can make it difficult for the foetus to survive due to an inhospitable environment.

Can you prevent miscarriages?

It’s not possible to prevent a miscarriage completely, but you can reduce the risks of this complication by taking the following steps:

  • If you’re planning to get pregnant then consult an obstetrician about folic acid supplements well ahead of conceiving.
  • Do not smoke, drink alcohol or abuse any kind of drugs. Avoiding or at least limiting your caffeine consumption can also help.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet with at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Avoid all types of infections during pregnancy. This includes not eating raw fish or undercooked meat to avoid salmonella infection. Ensure that you don’t undertake unnecessary trips to the hospital, as that can increase the risk of nosocomial infections.
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on all your vaccinations and know your complete health status, especially if you’re at risk of any diseases. 
  • Manage your weight through a good diet and exercise routine. Speak to your doctor about which exercises are safe to do in each of the trimesters, as per your individual case. 

For more information, read our article on Miscarriage.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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