October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and a great time to focus on dealing with pregnancy loss. Recently, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend experienced the miscarriage of their third child, Jack. The trauma of losing an unborn child is a difficult period for any couple. As you can imagine, most couples usually have a lot of unanswered questions and difficult emotions to process. Many wonder what they could have done to prevent it or blame themselves.
But usually, miscarriage is rarely anyone’s fault, and sometimes pregnancy loss is even a predetermined outcome at the time of conception. There may not be any explanation at hand as to why miscarriages happen, though there are some known miscarriage causes.
One-time pregnancy losses are often caused by chromosomal abnormalities while the fetus develops. Chromosomal abnormalities such as extra chromosomes or missing genes may cause the baby to stop developing and eventually miscarry. These chromosomal flaws are often random, one-time events, and many couples go on to have a normal pregnancy after one miscarriage. Miscarriage due to chromosomal flaws may occur to any woman at any age, but those who are 35 years old and above are at the highest risk.
When a miscarriage occurs more than once, the cause is unlikely to be a random chromosomal error. A series of tests for recurrent miscarriage should be conducted to determine the cause of pregnancy loss. In this case, chances are higher that the woman may have a detectable problem that causes the miscarriage.
In about 50% of the cases, there is a cause for recurrent miscarriages. This knowledge helps guide treatment for the next pregnancy. Commonly recognized causes of recurrent miscarriages include:
• Abnormality in the structure of the uterus
• Cervical incompetence
• Blood clotting disorders, such as antiphospholipid syndrome
• Certain chromosomal conditions, such as balanced translocation
• Low progesterone and other hormonal imbalances
• Immune system malfunctions
Though half of the cases may not reveal a cause, a woman may still get pregnant again after unexplained miscarriages, and still has a greater chance of a normal pregnancy than another miscarriage.
Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths. The most common causes of stillbirths and preterm labor are cervical insufficiency, problems in the placenta, and preterm labor due to medical issues in the mother.
No matter what may be the cause of pregnancy loss, the woman and couple are advised to seek out emotional support from friends and relatives. Counseling helps a lot in dealing with the emotional aftermath of miscarriage. We stand in support of Chrissy Teigen and John Legend as well as the many women that have suffered infant loss.