Miscarriages mean the end of an unsuccessful pregnancy that may lead to the loss of a fetus. It happens mostly in the first trimester within 13 weeks of pregnancy.1
However, it can occur within 23 weeks. It is represented by symptoms like severe abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, cramps, etc.2 There are many identified and unidentified reasons behind miscarriages like chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo, age of pregnant women, infections, and many more. It is not strictly inherited but some of the cases of miscarriages may run in families.
Are Miscarriages Hereditary?
Miscarriage is a condition in which pregnancy is lost on its own within the first 20 weeks. Miscarriage is not really hereditary. But it is assumed that unexplained recurrent miscarriages can occur due to genetic causes from chromosomal abnormalities like translocation.
Miscarriage is a term given to the condition that leads to the loss of fetus or pregnancy. It usually occurs in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.3 Miscarriage is most common in the first and early second trimester of pregnancy. It is also known as spontaneous abortion. It occurs rarely after 20 weeks. Most of the miscarriages occur before 12 weeks. Many cases of miscarriages occur during the implantation of the fertilized egg on the uterine wall, which happens just at the time of next expected menstrual period. So, many women are unaware that they are actually pregnant.
Symptoms Of Miscarriage4
The symptoms of miscarriages are –
- Sudden disappearance of symptoms of pregnancy
- Sudden and severe abdominal cramps
- Bleeding from vagina, brown or bright red in color that may be light or heavy
- Clots coming out of the vagina
- Contractions in the abdomen felt in every 5-20 minutes
- Weight loss
- Lethargy and tiredness
- Mild to severe pain in the back
Causes Of Miscarriage
Miscarriages are unpredictable and cannot be prevented. Its causes are varied and unidentified in most cases. Chromosomal abnormality of the fetus is the main cause of miscarriage in most cases. These abnormalities arise when unhealthy or damaged sperm or ovum meet to form a zygote. The errors develop more or less during the cell division when sperm or egg is formed. Miscarriage is often unrelated to the mother.5
Unexplained recurrent miscarriages may sometimes happen due to genetic causes found in mother. The tendency to miscarry may run in families. In around 5% of couples who have recurrent miscarriages, a mother may have translocation or other chromosomal abnormalities. Other genetic causes like antiphospholipid syndrome tend to be passed from mother to their child, which are not really inherited and miscarriages do not occur because of them.6
Other causes are-
Hormonal Disturbances – hormonal imbalances in mother during pregnancy can cause miscarriages.
Infection – infections like rubella, mumps, HIV, etc. can induce miscarriages.
Abnormalities Of The Uterus – abnormalities of uterus like uterine adhesions tend to affect implantations of the embryo on the uterine wall leading to miscarriages.7
Thyroid Disease Or Diabetes Of Mother – these diseases affect the healthy implantation of the embryo due to hormonal imbalances resulted from these diseases.
Maternal Trauma – any trauma to abdomen due to injury or an accident can abort the fetus.
Improper Implantation Of The Egg In The Uterine Lining – due to chromosomal defects in ovum or sperm that may lead to improper implantation of embryo and miscarriages.8
Lifestyle Of A Mother (smoking, malnutrition, drug use, overconsumption of coffee and exposure to toxic materials or radiation).
Maternal Age Over The Age Of 35 Years – the age above 35 years of women has a higher risk of miscarriages. It is also affected by a number of children the lady is having at the age of 35 years.9
Past History Of Three Or More Miscarriages – past incidences of three or more miscarriages can affect the present conception and may lead to miscarriage again.
Incompetent Cervix – cervical incompetence may lead to the opening of the cervix during pregnancy which may result in spontaneous abortion.