The sudden loss of a fetus resulting from miscarriage can be traumatic to a couple, especially if the pregnancy has taken a lot of time and patience to wait for.
Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss, or termination of pregnancy before 28 weeks of fetal viability (that is, baby’s ability to survive outside the womb).
Most miscarriages have been estimated to occur during a woman’s first trimester and usually there are underlying causes for this to happen.
The Early Signs of Miscarriage:
The clinical hallmark features for a woman with early signs of miscarriage will present in the following ways:
• Bleeding from the vagina
• Low abdominal and back pain
• Fluids coming out from the vagina
• Expulsion of tissues from the vagina
• Feeling of dizziness
• Light-headedness or fainting feelings
The Common Causes of Miscarriage in Women Trying to Conceive:
1. Uterine anatomical problems:
The abnormal structure of the womb from the “pear-shaped appearance” has been linked to early miscarriage, especially when the woman’s uterus is distorted from ingrowing fibroids thereby competing for space with the developing fetus in the womb.
The uterine abnormalities that can contribute to early miscarriage:
• Didelphys uterus
• Bicornuate uterus
• Septate uterus
2. Reproductive Toxins:
Toxins are dangerous chemicals also known as hormonal disruptors that somehow found their way into the human body from our external environment, food, water and cosmetics without our even being aware of their health consequences.
In pregnant women, toxins have been found to be dangerous and can damage the ovaries, limiting the production of the progesterone hormone whose main job is to ripen the endometrial lining (womb) and maintain pregnancy; nourishing the growing fetus.
3. Weak Cervix:
This is usually results as a complication due to the scrubbing off of the wall of the endometrium (womb), in an illegal attempt to terminate an unwanted pregnancy; weakening the neck of the uterine cervix of a woman which normally acts as a protective guide and foundational support for a developing fetus inside the womb.
And so, compromising the integrity of the neck of the cervix has been found to be a major cause of second and third trimester miscarriages.
4. Bacterial & Viral Infections:
A growing baby in the womb stand the risk of being infected, if the mother becomes unduly exposed to micro-organisms known to cause miscarriage, or through consumption of improperly cooked meat from pork and lamb.
Micro-organisms found to cause miscarriage:
• Rubella (german measles)
• Bacterial vaginosis
Those found that can be contacted through foods are:
• Salmonella typhi/typhoid (eating raw or partly cooked eggs)
• Listeriosis (eating unpasteurized dairy products)
• Toxoplasmosis (eating improperly cooked meat; especially lambs and pork)
Screening for these organisms; especially for malaria, syphilis, typhoid and HIV is strongly advised so to avert the occurrence of miscarriage.
This screening can be routinely done in antenatal care clinics offered at any nearby health facility close to you, so ensure you register with one as soon as your pregnancy approaches 2nd trimester.
5. Low Progesterone production:
Luteal phase is the last phase in a woman’s “ovulation cycle” after ovulation phase. When this phase is defected, it will result to low production of progesterone.
Progesterone hormone’s main job is to ripen and nourish the endometrial lining of a woman in preparation for implantation after the released egg has been fertilized by the male sperm, the deficiency or withdrawal of this hormone will compromise the life of the implanted embryo, resulting to inevitable miscarriage.
Risk factors attributed to low progesterone production are coffee consumption and hormone mimickers.
6. Genetic problems:
This condition occurs in the early trimesters and common in women of 35 years old and above, and women within this age bracket are particularly at risk of harbouring fetus with a genetic abnormality known as Down’s syndrome.
Researches, however, are being carried out to ascertain why this is peculiar in the above age group.
7. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
Polycystic ovarian cyst (PCOS) is a metabolic disease associated with excessive production of androgen hormone (male hormone) and insulin resistance, as a result, leading to glucose intolerance and multiple cysts formation in the ovary.
Women with this condition are found to be overweight due to the circulating high blood sugar level from insulin resistance.
Features of Polycystic ovarian syndrome are:
• Menstrual irregularities (hormones imbalance)
• Excess facial hairs formation on the body due to excess androgen hormone
• Fertility problems due to lack of ovulation.
• Poly cystic ovaries
• Obesity due to too much glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia)
Note that, insulin creates hormonal imbalance by stopping progesterone production, and in so doing indirectly increases estrogen and testosterone which accounts for the male-pattern facial hair formation, seen in a female partner diseased with poly cystic ovarian syndrome.
8. Self-medication in pregnancy:
It’s unsafe and illegal for a woman to take medications without a doctor’s prescription. Reason being that, certain medication are teratogenic (harmful to an unborn baby), and such drugs should be avoided at all costs.
Harmful drugs in pregnancy are:
• Retinoid (for eczema and acne treatment)
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammation drugs (e.g. ibuprofen; for severe pains and inflammation)
• Misoprostol (for rheumatoid arthritis in women)
• Antidepressant (for treating depression; and this drug has reportedly been found to contribute up to 68% increase in the risk of miscarriage)
Tips For Preventing Miscarriage:
• Avoid smoking
• Avoid drinking alcohol
• No coffee consumption
• No taking of illicit drugs during pregnancy; do not self-medicate
• Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy
• Eat a well balanced diet
• See your doctor at once if you develop sudden fever or experience bleeding in pregnancy
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