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Causes of miscarriage

Reviewed by Sandra Freeman, MD
Causes of miscarriage

The causes of miscarriage is a difficult subject that medical professionals still find hard to explain. However, there are a few known causes and theories although in many cases further research is required.

Experiencing a miscarriage is a terrible thing and inevitably the affected mother and father want answers as to why it happened. It is easy to start to over think and put blame on yourself, particularly in the case of the mother. In truth, though miscarriage is rarely considered to be the fault of anyone and may have even been destined to happen from the time of conception. There are some causes and theories that have been suggested although many of them have been disputed by someone, in some way and all of them require further research in order to provide real answers when asking about the causes of miscarriage.

Single Miscarriages



It is generally considered that in the case of a one-off pregnancy loss, the most probable of the causes of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the developing foetus. This explanation is widely recognised and agreed upon in the medical world and in many cases the couple will go on to have a normal pregnancy and healthy baby following a single miscarriage.

It is the presence of either an extra chromosome or missing genes that at some point during the pregnancy cause the baby to simply stop developing, which will lead to it being miscarried.  As the miscarriage in this case is due to chromosomal problems, it can happen to anyone, regardless of age or health. However, studies have revealed than women over the age of 35 are more likely to experience this problem.


Recurrent Miscarriages



A recurrent miscarriage is the label given to two or more miscarriages experienced in a row. Following a single miscarriage it is unlikely that the doctor will perform any tests, presuming that the previously mentioned chromosomal flaws caused it. However, after the second one test’s will be performed in search of other causes of miscarriage as it is unlikely that the problems with the chromosomes will occur two times in a row. In about half of all cases of recurrent miscarriages, a cause will be identified and the doctor will be provide treatment in an attempt to prevent it from happening next time. These causes are not as widely agreed upon with some doctors believing they have discovered the cause and choosing to treat it, while others will deem it irrelevant and look past it. Some of these potential causes of miscarriage include:

  • Structural problems with the uterus
  • Disorders associated with blood clotting such as antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Some chromosomal conditions including balanced translocation
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Immune system disorders

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