Recurrent pregnancy loss is defined as having two more miscarriages. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends having a thorough medical evaluation after three repeated misarriage.
What is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is also referred to as early pregnancy loss or spontaneous abortion. It is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. It occurs in about 10%- 40% of known pregnancies depending on the age of the female.
Even after multiple miscarriages, a woman may still carry a pregnancy to term. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a woman has a 60%-80% chance of conceiving and carrying a full term pregnancy after recurrent pregnancy loss.
Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
According to ACOG, around 60% of miscarriages occur randomly when an embryo receives an abnormal number of chromosomes during fertilization. This happens by chance and is not linked to a medical condition. However, the risk for these genetic abnormalities increases with age, especially in women over 40.
In 50% – 70% of women with recurrent pregnancy loss, no cause can be found. If a cause is found, it may be anatomic, medical, or environmental.
Sometimes a problem with the size or shape of the uterus can contribute to recurrent pregnancy loss. These anatomical issues include:
- Abnormalities in the shape of a woman’s uterus caused by:
- Exposure before birth to certain medications
- A septum, which is a band of tissue inside the uterus that makes it too small.
- Fibroids that grow into or near the uterine cavity
Certain medical conditions may increase a woman’s risk for miscarriage:
- Thyroid disease
- Immune system conditions
- Conditions that affect blood-clotting
Lifestyle or Environmental Causes
- Recreational drugs
- Excessive alcohol or caffeine intake
- Being overweight or obese
Consult a Fertility Specialist
If the cause of recurrent pregnancy loss is known, certain medical or surgical treatments can lower the risk for future miscarriage. This includes minimally invasive surgical procedures to fix problems in the uterus such as the presence of a septum, fibroids, or scar tissue. Correcting the shape of the inside of the uterus can often decrease the chances of future miscarriage.
If you have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss, the fertility specialists at West Virginia Fertility Institute can help. Our services include minimally invasive surgeries that can decrease the chances of future pregnancy loss. We can also discuss other approaches that can help you build your family. If you have questions about infertility or any of our services, please call our office at (304) 345-9292 to schedule a consult.