What Can Cause a Miscarriage?


A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week of gestation. There are many potential causes of miscarriage, but it’s important to note that often the exact cause remains unknown. Miscarriages are relatively common, occurring in about 10-20% of known pregnancies, and many happen due to genetic abnormalities or other factors beyond a person’s control. Here are some common causes and risk factors associated with miscarriage:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities: Most miscarriages occur because of genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo or fetus. These can happen spontaneously and are not usually preventable.
  • Advanced maternal age: As women get older, the risk of miscarriage increases. This is partly due to an increased likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in eggs as women age.
  • Health conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and autoimmune diseases, can increase the risk of miscarriage if not well-managed.
  • Infections: Infections, particularly those that affect the uterus or cervix, can lead to miscarriage.
  • Uterine abnormalities: Structural issues with the uterus, such as fibroids or a septum, can sometimes increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal fluctuations, including problems with progesterone levels, can contribute to miscarriage.
  • Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and high levels of caffeine intake can increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Trauma or injury: Severe trauma or injury to the abdomen can sometimes lead to miscarriage.
  • Incompetent cervix: A weakened or “incompetent” cervix may open too early during pregnancy, causing miscarriage.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental toxins, chemicals, or radiation may increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Medications: Some medications may pose a risk to a developing fetus and increase the likelihood of miscarriage. Always consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy.
  • Previous miscarriages: A history of previous miscarriages can increase the risk of future miscarriages.

It’s essential to remember that most miscarriages are beyond a person’s control, and they often occur due to genetic factors or other issues that are not preventable. If you or someone you know experiences a miscarriage, it’s essential to seek medical attention and emotional support from healthcare providers and support networks. If you’re concerned about the risk of miscarriage, discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider who can provide guidance and support throughout pregnancy.

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