A miscarriage is said to occur when the foetus gets aborted due to natural circumstances. It can take place anytime during the gestation period however, the risk is highest during the first three months of pregnancy (first trimester). Statistics show that almost 20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage, however, the reasons are said to be different in each woman. Though there may be factors that cannot be controlled, there are some basic things that every mother-to-be should know about preventing a miscarriage and having a safe delivery.
What causes a miscarriage?
Non-intentional miscarriages have many causes. One cause of a miscarriage can be the incompatibility of the mother's blood and the blood of the unborn foetus. Incompatibility in blood type with the mother and foetus is known as Rh factor incompatibility. This type of miscarriage can occur when the mother's blood type is Rh negative and the foetus's blood type is Rh positive. To expand, everyone has specific proteins on every cell in his or her body that tells the body that cell belongs to the body and is not foreign so that our immune system will not kill that cell. The Rh factor is one of many specific proteins on our blood cells. When there is a difference in the Rh factor between mother and foetus (mother is negative and foetus is positive) the mother's body recognizes the foetus as foreign and can cause a miscarriage. However, Rh incompatibility is rarely a cause of miscarriages due to advances in health care. Early in pregnancy, expectant mothers are tested for Rh factor type and appropriate measures are taken if the mother is Rh negative to avoid having a miscarriage.
Another cause of miscarriage is simply for unknown reasons. Sometimes miscarriages occur and no obvious reason can be found. Some people want to place blame on environmental factors such as pesticides or the antibiotics and hormones that farmers use when raising livestock. No such proof exists as of date that indicates the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock causes miscarriages.
Third cause of miscarriage can be when the fertilized egg or ovum of the woman fails to implant or attach in the proper place. In order to maintain pregnancy, the fertilized egg must implant inside the uterine cavity of the mother. In ectopic pregnancies, the fertilized egg implants outside the uterine cavity. Thus, a miscarriage will occur. Many people term this a “tubal pregnancy.”
Trauma or injury to the abdominal area while pregnant can also cause a miscarriage. Injury caused by the impact of a steering wheel to the abdominal area in an automobile accident may cause miscarriages. Other injuries such as blunt force to the abdominal area may result in a miscarriage.
Consumption of recreational or illegal drugs while pregnant puts the mother at a high risk of having a miscarriage. Many illegal drugs have the ability to cross from the mother’s bloodstream into the bloodstream of the foetus. Because the organs of the foetus are still developing, they are not capable of filtering out the harmful substances in illegal drugs. As a consequence, the harmful substances continue to build up and become toxic to the foetus. Once toxic levels are reached, the organs begin to fail and the foetus can die.
In addition to illegal drugs, some prescription drugs also have the ability to cross into the foetal blood circulation and can also result in miscarriages thus a pregnant woman should never take prescription medication unless it is prescribed for her specifically, and the prescribing doctor is aware of the pregnancy. Genetics can also be a reason why a woman would have a miscarriage. A chromosomal abnormality that is incompatible with life will cause a miscarriage. If this occurs early enough in the pregnancy, the woman may not have even known that she was pregnant. This type of miscarriage does occur and the woman simply thinks she has had an extra menstrual cycle or period that month, when in fact she actually had a miscarriage.
A woman who has had previous intentional abortions in the past increases the risk for a miscarriage in future pregnancies. Intentional abortions can cause the cervix to become incompetent or irritable and result in a miscarriage. Additionally, intentional abortions can result in the mother's body being unable to maintain adequate levels of hormones that are needed to maintain pregnancy.
How to avoid a miscarriage?
In case of uncontrollable problems, there are very less chances of avoiding miscarriages if the exact cause is not found out. It would be beneficial if every woman goes for a complete medical check-up when she starts planning to have a baby. This would help in finding out whether she has any disease or health problem, and if so, appropriate treatment can be given so that it does not affect the health of the baby. Other than this, there are various preventive measures that expectant mothers should take.
- It is very important to eat a nutritious and healthy diet during pregnancy. Switch foods containing too much fat with healthy food, vegetables and fruits. You doctor would help you in charting out a diet that would help you to stay fit during your pregnancy.
- Women who smoke and drink regularly should completely avoid doing so during pregnancy. Even the intake of caffeine should be limited, and it should be substituted with loads of water. However, with your doctor's consent, you can have a cup of tea or coffee once in a while. If you are addicted to drugs, it is essential to stop taking them before conceiving, as drug consumption can also lead to losing the baby.
- Another important precaution that has to be taken is to stop doing strenuous exercises or physical activities. However, mild exercises like walking everyday would be recommended by your physician, and is also beneficial for yours and your baby's health. It is also necessary to take an ample amount of rest.
- Follow the advice of your physician very seriously. If you observe any abnormalities during pregnancy, immediately consult your doctor to avoid further complications. Clear all the doubts that you have in your mind regarding pregnancy and childbirth with your doctor, and also remember to visit your doctor for your regular check-ups so that you can know how the baby is developing.
A miscarriage is a traumatic event, however, if you experience one, it is crucial for you to consult a specialist
who would assist you in coping with the situation, and also would try to find out the reason behind it. Pregnancy is surely a wonderful time and experience, and taking the necessary precautions would ensure that you have a very safe pregnancy.