Pregnancy: Know 5 causes of miscarriage and reduce its risk

Several pregnancies end in miscarriage. But what are the actual causes of miscarriage? Read on to find out and take precautions.
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You can improve your mental health without therapy. Image courtesy: Freepik
Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj Updated: 18 Oct 2023, 10:55 am IST
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If you are pregnant, worrying about the risks of pregnancy loss or a miscarriage may cloud your mind sometimes. You must know that most of the times, a miscarriage happens for reasons that are beyond your control. In fact, it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause behind pregnancy loss. However, learning the common causes of a miscarriage may help you relax and improve your chances of having a healthy and fruitful pregnancy.

Here are some of the most common causes of pregnancy loss:

1. Abnormal chromosomes

An abnormal number of a baby’s chromosomes is responsible for more than half of the miscarriages that happen in the first 12 weeks. Chromosomes are determinants of your baby’s unique traits such as hair and eye colour. Having a damaged or wrong number of chromosomes does not allow the proper growth of your baby. As you grow older, especially after the age of 35, your risk for chromosomal problems and pregnancy loss goes up considerably.

2. Medical issues

The mother’s health plays an important role in carrying a pregnancy to full term. A pregnancy loss is often the result of a problem with the mother’s health including an infection such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, sexually transmitted infections like HIV or syphilis, thyroid disease, and autoimmune disorders. Also, chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can create issues with the pregnancy if not managed appropriately. Besides health problems, your habits can also increase the risk of pregnancy loss. Smoking, heavy drinking, and using illegal drugs are known to have an increased risk of pregnancy.

causes of miscarriage
Repeated miscarriage can be agonising. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Medications

Several over-the-counter and prescription medications can also raise your chances of pregnancy loss, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and inflammation, medications used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and certain skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Also read: Facing repeated miscarriages? Consider pre-implantation genetic testing to prevent it

4. Environmental hazards

Besides second-hand smoke, your pregnancy is at risk from certain substances in your environment at home or at work. These include pesticides for killing insects or rodents, solvents such as paint thinners or paint in homes and lead in old water pipes among others.

5. Food poisoning

Several types of food poisoning during pregnancy can be responsible to raise your risk for miscarriage or pregnancy loss. The common ones include Salmonella, usually found in raw or undercooked eggs, and Toxoplasmosis often caused by eating infected raw meat.

causes of miscarriage
Food poisoning can be dangerous during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips to prevent miscarriage

It is normal to worry that certain activities or emotions might raise the risk of your pregnancy. However, if your pregnancy is not considered high-risk, most of the routine activities like working, sitting or standing for reasonable amounts of time, air travel, having sex, exercising, having an emotional shock, or a moderate amount of stress is relatively safe.

As we mentioned, it is usually not possible to prevent a miscarriage, but taking proper care of your body is the best thing you can do. Some of the ways to care for yourself during pregnancy include attending all your prenatal care appointments, maintaining a healthy weight, taking a prenatal vitamin, avoiding risk factors for miscarriage like smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, and eating a healthy diet along with regular exercise.

So, remember to follow your doctor’s instructions and take good care of yourself as you eagerly await your bundle of joy.

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About the Author

Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj is a gynaecologist, fertility and IVF expert. She is an Obstetrician, Gynecologist, Fertility & IVF Expert at The Nurture clinic in the capital. She is an MBBS, DNB, MNAMS and M. Med Science in Assisted Reproductive Technology from the University of Nottingham, UK. She has received training from renowned centres like Nurture IVF centre (Nottingham, UK) and Farah IVF specialist centre and Hospital (Jordan). Her expertise in reproductive endocrinology, Infertility, ART, High Risk Pregnancy Management, Laparoscopic Surgeries, Hysteroscopic Surgeries (Minimal Invasive Surgeries) matches the best in the respective areas. She has over 16 years of experience in the field of reproductive medicine. She has successfully treated patients with various infertility issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, male factor infertility, and unexplained infertility. ...Read More

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