Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of carrying a baby to term after losing my first pregnancy? My doctor told me that about one in four pregnancies ends this way. But he didn't run any tests to find out what went wrong, and I can't bear the thought of having another miscarriage. Can you help me?
Your physician is correct about the number of pregnancies lost. Fortunately, the majority of women who miscarry will go on to have a successful pregnancy and deliver a healthy child.
The most common reasons for a miscarriage are not preventable or related to things the mother could have done differently, but rather are associated with chromosomal abnormalities. In fact, up to 50% of losses are the result of such genetic problems. Because of the high rate at which miscarriages occur normally, most experts in the area of pregnancy loss do not suggest testing for genetic causes until after a second miscarriage. Testing at this point would include an analysis of the parents' chromosomes. It's worth noting that this testing is quite expensive and may run several thousands of dollars.
Other possible causes of miscarriages have been suggested to include low progesterone levels, thyroid dysfunction (both too high or too low), uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes, intrauterine scarring from previous infection or surgeries, uterine abnormalities, large uterine fibroids, infections, autoimmune diseases (like lupus), and exposure to certain chemicals. These factors might also be explored by your physician.
Grief after a pregnancy loss is real. In considering the potential causes of a miscarriage, we would encourage a frank discussion with your physician about your concerns. This will allow you and your doctor to arrive at an appropriate plan of action. In the meantime, if you feel it would be helpful, call our staff of counselors. They'd consider it a privilege to speak and pray with you over the phone.
I'll Hold You In Heaven
Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss (resource list)