The 8 most common causes of pregnancy loss


Yes, having a baby defies the odds

14655270_sAt our Southern California fertility center, we see each birth our clients achieve as miraculous. That’s because we’re aware of the many causes of pregnancy loss. Miscarriage is always traumatic, and we understand how difficult it is to have hope, but effective fertility treatment or sometimes another pregnancy attempt can help you achieve your goal.

Common causes of pregnancy loss

For a pregnancy to succeed, the embryo must receive the right number of chromosomes in the right order, and a sufficient amount of hormones and nutrients to grow. Many factors can be disruptive, but our Southern California fertility center will help address the root causes.

About 15% of test-confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, with more than 80% of those happening in the first trimester. Usually, the precise cause isn’t known, but certain factors explain most miscarriages.

Here are the 8 most common causes of pregnancy loss.

  1. Mismatches in chromosomes, the tiny structures in each cell that carry our genes, account for about 60% of miscarriages. When the egg and sperm meet, each contributes DNA to the embryo. The chromosomes may not line up properly or end up with a perfect 23 pairs.
  2. Uterine anomalies account for 10% of miscarriages. In an abnormally shaped or divided uterus, the embryo either can’t implant or can’t get sufficient nourishment.
  3. Untreated illnesses such as thyroid problems and diabetes can create unfavorable uterine environments.
  4. Infections from bacteria can inflame the lining of the uterus, halting embryo growth.
  5. Immune system responses can cause a woman’s body to reject the embryo.
  6. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the presence of abnormally high levels of testosterone, causing irregular ovulation and menstruation and insulin resistance that prevents proper maturation of the endometrial lining and cysts on the ovaries. Up to 10% of reproductive-age women have PCOS.
  7. A weakened cervix can’t hold the fetus in. Miscarriage usually occurs in the second trimester.
  8. Harmful lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, recreational drug use or exposure to toxins can wreck a pregnancy. Smokers have twice the rate of miscarriage as nonsmokers because nicotine interferes with blood supply and fetal growth. Drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day is linked to miscarriage. And, of course, you should avoid recreational drugs and toxins.

Maternal age linked to recurrent miscarriage

You’re at higher risk of miscarriage if you are over age 35 or had a previous miscarriage. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine defines recurrent miscarriage as a “disease distinct from infertility” characterized by 2 or more failed pregnancies.

Enhance your chances for avoiding common causes of pregnancy loss

Contact us at our Southern California fertility center for advice on enhancing your fertility and avoiding miscarriage. We’ll also cover misconceptions about common causes of pregnancy loss.


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