When Pregnancy Doesn’t Stick
Recurrent pregnancy loss is defined as having 2 or more consecutive failed clinical pregnancies. Women who experience multiple miscarriages want to know what can be done to improve future odds of pregnancy. Fertility testing and treatment are often the necessary next steps.
Reasons for miscarriage
There are a variety of reasons for recurrent pregnancy loss. A woman can experience a miscarriage due to genetic reasons, uterine abnormalities, environmental exposures, immunological concerns, or endocrine imbalances. Additionally, some women may have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APLS), which can cause miscarriage. APLS increases the risk of thrombosis and impacts the placenta, causing miscarriage. Sometimes recurrent pregnant loss occurs due to male factors.
What are my next steps?
Going through several miscarriages can be disheartening and cause emotional turmoil. To avoid future heartbreak, consulting with a healthcare provider about the next steps is advisable. The doctor will obtain the patient’s personal medical history and family history. Additionally, the doctor will ask about the lifestyle of the patient and partner, such as smoking, alcohol, and nutrition. A complete and detailed history helps the doctor establish a possible cause of recurrent pregnancy loss.
Investigating reasons for loss
After getting a complete history from the patient, the doctor will recommend certain tests. A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is often the first test ordered to determine if there are any growths or blockages in the fallopian tubes or uterus. An ultrasound can also help visualize any growths interfering with an embryo’s ability to implant. Genetic carrier testing can help determine if the parents are carriers of certain hereditary problems that could be passed down to the baby, causing early loss. Blood work will also be done to screen for infections, hormone levels, and thrombophilia.
Once the cause of multiple miscarriages is established, the treatment is usually medications or surgery. Surgery is used to repair abnormal uterus shape or remove growths like fibroids. Many medical conditions, such as thrombophilia, diabetes, or thyroid disorders, are managed with medications. Making lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol and caffeine intake or quitting smoking can further reduce the risk of miscarriage.
A winding road to baby
Recurrent pregnancy loss is a stressful and emotional experience for any woman, but there is still hope. After extensive evaluation, tests, and treatment, having a healthy pregnancy is possible. If multiple miscarriages occur, seek help sooner rather than later for the best chances of success.