If you are a woman of childbearing age and are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, you may be concerned about the possibility of a miscarriage. Chances are good that you have a friend or family member who has experienced a miscarriage. Miscarriage is a common term for a pregnancy that ends on its own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
The reasons for miscarriage are varied and in many cases, the cause cannot be identified. When it occurs during the first trimester, the most common reason for miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality. This means that something is not right with the baby’s chromosomes. Other possible causes of miscarriage include hormonal problems, infections and maternal health problems. Maternal age can also be a factor. In a small number of the cases of miscarriage, lifestyle issues such as smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances can play a part.
The bottom line is that many miscarriages simply cannot be avoided. Miscarriages that are caused by chromosomal abnormalities occur naturally and cannot be altered by lifestyle or any other factors. The small percentage of miscarriages that occur due to lifestyle issues may be prevented by following all the prenatal instructions given to you by your OBGYN and by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, getting an adequate amount of rest and managing your stress level.
Worrying about miscarriage will only cause more stress and take some of the joy out of this wonderful experience. Chances are, you will have a healthy pregnancy and will carry to term. If you have questions about miscarriage or would like more information about how to reduce your risks, talk to your OBGYN or a certified nurse midwife today.