Understanding the Common Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Miscarriage is a devastating though common occurrence. About 15-20% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in involuntary pregnancy loss before 20 weeks. Unfortunately, about 1% of all women go on to experience recurrent pregnancy loss, which is when you have two or more clinical miscarriages or three of any type (including chemical ones only diagnosed by blood tests). Experiencing miscarriage after miscarriage can be especially heartbreaking and crushing.

It may help to learn about the reasons for recurrent pregnancy loss. If your provider can pinpoint the cause, then they can develop a treatment plan to help you carry full term. The most common cause of miscarriage, in general, is a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. Other common causes of recurrent pregnancy loss include:

Uterine abnormalities

Abnormalities of the uterus can be a result of a congenital condition, which means that you’re born with it, or by issues that develop after birth, such as uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids, which are benign uterine tumors, affect 75% of women by menopause and usually develop around child-bearing years. Not all women with uterine fibroids, though, experience a miscarriage. Polyps or scarring inside the uterus may represent another cause. 

Autoimmune conditions

An autoimmune condition called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) causes a person’s immune system to mistakenly make antibodies that cause clotting in blood vessels. Though APS is not common, it’s associated with up to  20% of all repeated miscarriages.

Advanced maternal age

Women are born with all the eggs they will have. As you get older, the quality of eggs diminish, which means your risk of having a miscarriage increases. Research shows that the risk of miscarriage is around 8.9% for women aged 20-24 years and increases to 74.7% for women 45 years or older.

Other health issues

Untreated or poorly managed health conditions such as diabetes, thyroid issues, and polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS, are all associated with an increased risk for miscarriage.

Parental chromosomal abnormality is a rare cause for recurrent miscarriage and can be evaluated further after appropriate counseling. 

The good news is that there are treatment options for all of these causes of miscarriage. If you’ve experienced recurrent pregnancy loss, schedule an appointment with fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, Dr. Lauren Rubal, for a thorough evaluation. 

Dr. Rubal performs a battery of tests that may include blood tests, ultrasounds, and screening for the common causes of pregnancy loss listed above. She then develops a personalized treatment plan based on the suspected root causes of your fertility issues. 

If you’re ready to start or grow your family, but recurrent miscarriages are preventing you and leaving you feeling dejected, make an appointment with Dr. Rubal in Newport Beach, California, today to help you maximize your chance of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. 

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