Causes of Miscarriage

Following on from Part 1 here, I wanted to talk about the causes of miscarriage, as they are much more common than most people realise. Among women who know they’re pregnant, it’s estimated that about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Many more miscarriages occur before a woman is even aware she has become pregnant. Rest assured that recurrent miscarriages (losing 3 or more pregnancies in a row) is uncommon and only affects around 1 in 100 women.

Factors out of your control

Most miscarriages are the result of chromosomal or genetic abnormalities, poor uterus configuration (think size and shape) and placental problems. These are generally out of our control. There are, however (often untalked about) dietary and lifestyle factors that can have an impact. These are what I’d like to focus upon here.

Recurring miscarriages (side note)

It’s worth noting that if you have had recurring miscarriages please see a specialist in genetic testing. A good reproductive endocrinologist should be able to diagnose any potential issues in your eggs or in your partner’s sperm.

It wasn’t your fault

I want to stress that THIS IS NOT A BLAME GAME. I don’t want you to sit here reading this thinking ‘was this my fault?’. It wasn’t. I simply want to empower you with information so that if you have had a miscarriage and want to start trying again, or are simply afraid of miscarrying (who isn’t?), then you have a plan of action to move forward and put your body in the best possible place to conceive and sustain a healthy pregnancy.

Things to consider that may have an impact:

  • Poor maternal health pre-conception. This leads to poor egg quality, poor embryo, foetal and placental development
  • Poor paternal health pre-conception. This leads to poor sperm quality (this is especially important if your partner is older).

These are two really important points to note and the ones I talk to my fertility clients about ALL THE TIME. Pre-conception nutrition is not just about getting you pregnant, it’s about making sure you and your partner are producing the best quality eggs and sperm to make healthy, strong embryos.

It’s also ensuring that your uterus is in the best possible health in order for the embryos to attach and embed, and create a healthy, sustained pregnancy.

  • Poor gut health. This is common in women with PCOS. Poor digestive function (and a condition known as leaky gut) allows toxins to pass through that interfere with hormone production in the ovaries.
  • Hormonal imbalance. Low progesterone levels in the second half of your cycle (luteal phase) is needed for the embryo to implant properly into the uterine lining. Any deficiency can stop this from happening. This is especially important to check if you have PCOS as you naturally have lower progesterone levels.
  • Being overweight or underweight.
  • Lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol intake, smoking, recreational drugs, and exposure to toxic chemicals.

Other risk factors are harder to avoid, such as:

  • Your age: The older you are, the greater your likelihood of miscarrying. For women in their early 40’s, the risk of miscarriage is approximately 50 percent.
  • Your partner’s age: The age of your child’s father may also affect your odds of miscarrying.

Personally, this highlights the importance of a good pre-conception diet plan.

I hope this has helped provide a little bit of clarity on what can cause a miscarriage and the power you have to make changes. Next time, we’ll look at a proper plan of action in helping you move forward.

Please also have faith that most women who have miscarriages go on to have healthy and successful pregnancies.