When a baby is created, it takes half of its genes from the mother’s egg (that ovulated that month) and the other half from the father’s sperm. At the exact moment of conception, all of the genes mix and come together.
Sometimes errors occur when the genes combine and important information is lost. The fetus then has abnormal chromosomes, even though both parents have perfectly normal chromosomes. This is a common cause of miscarriage, and about 50% of the time there is no explanation, nothing that could have been done.
However, there are a few conditions that can contribute to early pregnancy loss. Those are:
- A multiple pregnancy. (triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, etc.)
- Age. For women under the age of 35, the average miscarriage rate is about 6.4%. That rate more than doubles to 14.7% for women who are 35-40. For women over 40, the miscarriage rate jumps to 23.1%.
- Poorly managed diabetes. For women with well-controlled diabetes, there is no increased risk of miscarriage.
- Scleroderma. A soft tissue disease that affects the internal organs and causes a stiffening of the skin. This condition is not overly common.
- Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome. A disease involving the immune system .
- Smoking. It is estimated that cigarette smoking increases the risk of miscarriage by 30-50%, and it may also be a contributing factor to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Occupational exposure to solvents or toxins (such as arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene oxide) is known to increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Certain medications such as methergine, methotrexate, and mifepristone
- Certain infections. Note that common colds, viruses, etc. do not cause miscarriages
Adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun© Copyright 2004
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