One of the most difficult things a woman can perhaps experience is the loss of a fetus. But it is an occurrence experienced by many women who conceive. The statistics are sketchy, but most cited references confirm that 10 to 25% of pregnancies result in a miscarriage. But perhaps the more painful experience is to lose an unborn child more than once.
Causes for miscarriage
Anatomical Reasons:Sometimes a woman's uterus is built in a way that makes a successful pregnancy a difficult if not impossible task. Abnormal uterine shape or weak cervixes are predominant anatomical causes that lend to recurrent miscarriages. In some cases, uterine abnormalities may be treated by surgery.
Chromosomal Abnormalities: Doctors are increasingly able to identify chromosomal abnormalities with the fetus that prevent it from developing beyond a certain stage resulting in the miscarriage or abortion of the fetus. These chromosomal abnormalities might be derived from the mother or the father and even though fertilization occurs, this abnormality prevents the fetus from growing beyond a certain stage.
Hormonal Causes: Various hormones including progesterone play a key role in the fertilization process and in the development of the embryo. Low levels of progesterone have been noted to cause recurrent miscarriages. Certain disorders such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease create an imbalance in the body's hormones and have been known to have an adverse effect on fertility and pregnancy. Various thyroid-related disorders may also contribute to recurring pregnancy loss.
Immunological Causes: Our immune system is built to protect our bodies from foreign and harmful elements. Sometimes, this system does not function in out best interest. Recurrent miscarriages have been caused by a woman's immune system that treats a growing fetus as a harmful foreign body and destroys vital tissues in the uterus, resulting in a miscarriage. Also, blood clotting issues due to excessive anti-phospholipid antibodies in the bloodstream contribute to recurring miscarriages.
Other reasons that may contribute to recurrent miscarriages include maternal age, lifestyle choices such as heavy smoking and drinking, drug abuse, diabetes, and exposure to X-rays or chemical/industrial toxins.
hCG blood test
hCG blood test or pregnancy blood test measures the accurate amount of pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the bloodstream. Pregnancy hormone hCG is produced by the placenta. It can be assessed in the blood and urine of a woman within 10 days of fertilization. hCG can be measured by:
Quantitative pregnancy blood test: This test measures the accurate amount of hCG in the blood of a woman and plays a vital role in assessing the age of the fetus. This test also helps in checking if the pregnancy is developing normally.
Qualitative pregnancy blood test: This test can only tell if there is hCG present in the blood and can give no further information. This test result is like the home based pregnancy test kit just giving a 'yes' or 'no'.In men and non pregnant women, the typical levels of hCG is less than 5 international units per liter (IU/L). In pregnant women, it is about 5 - 100 during 24 to 28 days after last menstrual period (LMP). During 4 to 5 weeks after the LMP, the hCG is about 50-500 IU/L and peaks to about 12,000 - 270,000 IU/L during 14 - 16 weeks of pregnancy. High levels of hCG can signify multiple pregnancy or molar pregnancy or Down's syndrome. In non-pregnant women and in men, it can signify cancerous or non-cancerous tumor of the testicles or ovaries. Low values of hCG in pregnant women can signify ectopic pregnancy, death of baby or that the pregnancy is not proceeding the way it has to. It can also indicate a spontaneous miscarriage.
Blood clotting occurs due to a complex process of coagulation that heals a bleeding blood vessel with at clot. Blood platelets and plasma protein fibrinogen are vital to the blood clotting process. People can suffer from various blood clotting disorders such as formation of blood clots due to excessive blood clotting. The PT or Prothrombin Time Blood Test is done before any surgery to check a patient's bleeding and clotting factors. PTT or Partial Thromboplastin Time Blood Test checks for a clotting disorder.
Blood clots can form in the heart or legs or brain or even in the lungs. These clots can travel through the blood vessels and hamper the flow of blood. This can lead to damage in the organs. Blood clot in the veins of the arm or legs can lead to DVT or Deep Venous Thrombosis. Pulmonary embolism is a condition where a blood clot travels to the lungs. Blood clots during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or pre eclampsia.
Bleeding disorders can occur due to severe liver disease. Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder. Bleeding disorders can also be a side effect of medicines.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 22, 2018