A pregnancy is regarded as the most wonderful experience in a woman's life. Therefore, it can be quite devastating when an expectant mother learns of a miscarriage. It is estimated that nearly 20% of all pregnancies result in miscarriages. In fact, studies suggest that around 20% of miscarriages occur before a woman reaches the 20-week gestation period. A miscarriage may also take place before a woman misses her period or even realizes that her period is delayed. There are a number of causes that can be attributed to miscarriage during various stages of pregnancy.
What Can Cause Miscarriage?
It should be noted that around 15 to 20% of pregnancies end up in miscarriage. Some of the main miscarriage causes in the first four weeks of a pregnancy can be attributed to abnormal fetal development in the first few weeks. This could be because of abnormal growth of genes and/or chromosomese. This is the time when the embryo grows and divides. A miscarriage can also take place if the fertilized egg forms a placenta and membrane sans the embryo. This is referred to as blighted ovum. In some cases, genetic abnormalities concerning the embryo could also be the reason for a miscarriage during the first four weeks. A rare case of miscarriage could result from the placenta developing into a cyst in the uterus, which could prohibit the development of the embryo.
This apart, an expectant mother's condition can also lead to a miscarriage. The mother plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the fetus develops properly. Sometimes, thyroid or uncontrolled diabetes can result in an early miscarriage. A viral infection could weaken the body, leading to a miscarriage. Hormonal or uterus-related problems could be a reason. It is always essential to go for regular check-ups to avoid problems in the future.
Causes of Miscarriage during Various Trimesters
What Can Cause Miscarriage in the First Trimester?
There is no specific cause for miscarriage during the first trimester. However, close to 70% of miscarriages during the first-trimester are usually caused by chromosomal anomalies.
Some of the other causes of miscarriage in the first trimester may include an infection or exposure to industrial or environmental toxins. Diabetes, autoimmune disorder or even thyroid disease can be possible causes of miscarriage in first trimester. In rare cases will a woman have a miscarriage after going through a diagnostic test like amniocentesis. This apart, physical trauma as a result of a car accident or falling down stairs could result in a miscarriage. There are cases where smoking or substance abuse can be attributed to a first trimester miscarriage.
What Can Cause Miscarriage in the Second Trimester?
If a pregnancy results in a miscarriage in the second trimester, it can be attributed to chromosome problems that take place in the fetus. Sometimes, these problems may take place during the first trimester and could go undetected until it results in a miscarriage in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. There are cases when the fetus may self-abort in the first trimester. However, it could go undetected during a screening or doctor's appointment.
Some of the other causes of second-trimester miscarriage are severe trauma that impacts the abdomen, an incompetent cervix, infected pelvic cavity or other body parts, heart defects of the fetus, placental abruption, as well as placenta previa.
What Can Cause Miscarriage in the Third Trimester?
In the third trimester, the baby grows and its organs mature as well. In fact, during the last two months, the baby grows considerably and has little space to move around. This causes a great deal of discomfort. While there are causes for third-trimester miscarriage, stillbirth can also take place.
Some of the Causes of Miscarriage During The Third Trimester Include:
- Infected fetus due to influenza, central nervous damage, and or measles can cause miscarriage in the third trimester.
- Post maturity
- Improper fetal development could lead to stillbirth in the 3rd trimester. An ultrasound will help reveal
- Abnormal placement of the umbilical cord can also cause miscarriage in third trimester.
- Chromosomal abnormalities.
Foods That Can Cause Miscarriage
Pregnant women should be extra careful about what they consume during pregnancy. Here are some foods you should avoid like the plague:
Eating Crabs During Pregnancy Can Cause Miscarriage
Crab are loaded with nutrients, but they lead to a shrinking of the uterus. This could snowball into genital bleeding or miscarriage.
This apart, crabs have a high amount of cholesterol. Therefore, pregnant women suffering from high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia should avoid it.
Pineapple Can Cause Miscarriage
During the first trimester of pregnancy, women should avoid sipping on pineapple juice. The fruit could lead to contractions, which could lead to a miscarriage. Pineapple can also cause diarrhea or allergy. Why is pineapple harmful? It contains bromelain which has the ability to soften the uterus and produce aborticide. After the first three months, pregnant women can indulge a little bit.
Papaya Can Cause Miscarriage
Papaya is deemed harmful for pregnant women, especially the green papaya variety. Unripe papaya is packed with enzymes that can trigger uterine contractions, leading to a miscarriage. Pregnant women should abstain from green papaya as it increases the miscarriage risk threefold.
Green Tea and Caffeine Can Cause Miscarriage
If you cannot do without your daily fix of green tea or coffee, there is some bad news for you. Green tea has been deemed harmful for women who are pregnant and those that are breastfeeding. A cup of green tea contains 200gm of caffeine – therein lies the bitter truth. It seeps into the breast milk and can affect the baby. Coffee should also be stricken off the 'foods-not-to-eat-during-pregnancy' list.
Processed Meat Can Cause Miscarriage
Almost all kinds of processed meats, including stuffed foods, sausages etc, should not be consumed by pregnant women. The meat might contain artificial flavoring and color, thereby affecting the baby. Also, processed meat is stored for quite a long time in supermarkets, increasing the risk of a miscarriage.
Wild Apples Can Cause Miscarriage
Wild apples have a sour, bitter and sweet taste. This is a good reason why pregnant women like to munch on them. However, they are not good for you. They have the potential to 'excite' the uterus, leading to uterine contractions that cause premature birth and miscarriage.
Lifestyle Habits That Can Cause Miscarriage
You need to keep a check on your habit if you are an expectant mother. If you continue with some of your lifestyle choice, it can lead to a miscarriage. Here are some of the lifestyle habits that can pose a serious threat to a developing baby:
- Smoking. There are studies that suggest that being in the same room as a smoker can trigger a miscarriage.
- If you are in the habit of drinking heavily, you need to put an end to it. Alcohol can damage the developing baby in your womb.
- The use of illegal drugs is prohibited.
Can Exercise Cause A Miscarriage?
Most doctors recommend light exercises during the first trimester. However, intense workouts and heavy lifting can trigger a miscarriage.
Avoid Sit-Ups during Pregnancy
Take a break from sit-ups and crunches during pregnancy. They are not good choices as they tend to stretch the abdominal muscles.
Avoid High Intensity Interval Workouts during Pregnancy
High-intensity interval workouts can be very dangerous for expecting mothers. These workouts apply pressure on the heart.
Avoid Overhead Shoulder Press during Pregnancy
You will also have to give up overhead shoulder press exercises. As your stomach expands, it applies stress on the lower back. The exercise can add excessive strain on the back.
Avoid High Impact Sport during Pregnancy
High impact sports can affect the abdomen adversely. Abdominal trauma can lead to miscarriage. You will be required to give it up, especially during the later stages of a pregnancy.
Avoid Hot Yoga during Pregnancy
Hot conditions and pregnancy is not a suitable match. Hot yoga can lead to overheating and should not be practiced. There are yoga poses perfect for pregnant women. However, yoga exercises that require you to hold your breath should be avoided.
Avoid Deep Squats during Pregnancy
The body tends to release a hormone known as relaxin during pregnancy. The main function of the hormone is to prepare the body for giving birth. However, if you are in the habit of performing deep squats, relaxin can cause injuries and trigger a backache.
Medical Conditions That Can Cause Miscarriage
Thyroid Disorder Can Cause Miscarriage
Hypo (too low) or hyper (too high) thyroid can cause infertility problems and can also lead to recurrent miscarriages. Studies suggest that when your thyroid function is low, the body will try to produce hormones to compensate, thereby suppressing ovulation. In some cases, thyroid may also produce too many hormones which can affect estrogen's ability to make implantation unfavorable.
Diabetes Can Cause a Miscarriage
It is uncontrolled diabetes that leads to miscarriage. You should talk to your doctor for ways to control blood sugar.
Physical Complications Can Cause a Miscarriage
Miscarriages can also be caused by physical complications like uterine abnormalities which include septum or polyps. Miscarriages caused by physical complications tend to occur in the 2nd or 3rd trimesters.
Blood Clotting Can Cause Miscarriage
Miscarriages can also be caused by blood clotting like Factor V Leiden. Some blood clotting disorders are rare but they occur.
It is always important to take precaution during pregnancy. After all, you have a life to protect.