Are Miscarriages Common?
Miscarriages occur in roughly 10-25% of the pregnant population. Miscarriages are pregnancies that end due to natural causes during the first 20 weeks of gestation. Like pregnancies, not all miscarriages are the same. Miscarriages occur due to several different factors such as hormone irregularities, kidney disease, or autoimmune disease. Many women suffer from bleeding, abdominal cramps, and back pain during a miscarriage.
What are the different types of miscarriages?
The type of miscarriage a woman experience is different for everyone. One of the major signs of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding. A few of the most common types of miscarriages are complete, incomplete, and threatened miscarriages. In a complete miscarriage, the embryo and other contents of the uterus exit the body. With incomplete miscarriages, the cervix dilates, causing excessive bleeding and abdominal cramps.
Threatened miscarriages are usually due to improper implantation and are accompanied by cramping and bleeding. During a miscarriage, the woman may experience contractions, pinkish-white mucus, and blood clots leaving the body. Women must seek medical attention immediately to avoid hemorrhaging and infection. Once a miscarriage starts, doctors cannot save the pregnancy.
What is the relationship between IVF and miscarriages?
Women with IVF pregnancies are at higher risk of miscarriage due to factors like maternal age, egg quality, and uterine abnormalities. However, there are ways to reduce the chances of miscarriage. IVF, in vitro fertilization, is a process where doctors extract mature eggs from the uterus and fertilize the egg with sperm samples. Once fertilized, the embryos are placed back into the uterus. IVF candidates tend to be older women, women with a history of miscarriages or trouble getting pregnant, and women with uterine issues.
One of the most common causes of a miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities. Chromosomal abnormalities occur when the genetic material of the egg is damaged. Therefore, the body rejects the embryo, and a miscarriage occurs. Another issue is uterine conditions like fibroids or endometriosis.
What can doctors do to prevent miscarriages?
Fertility specialists can use genetic screening technologies to evaluate embryos before insertion in the uterus. PGS, preimplantation genetic screening, evaluates the embryo’s chromosomes. Embryos with the normal amount of 46 chromosomes are considered euploid embryos. Embryos with an extra or missing chromosome are called aneuploidy.
PGD, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, evaluates embryos for diseases like sickle cell anemia or muscular dystrophy. Doctors can only test for one disease at a time, but this screening tells patients if the embryo will be born with a genetic condition.
Coping with miscarriage
Miscarriages are very difficult for couples and families to deal with, especially after IVF treatments. Couples should speak to a therapist or counselor to deal with any mental health issues before trying again. Patients should also speak to fertility specialists about different IVF options as well as precautions to take before and during pregnancy. For more information about IVF, speak with a fertility specialist.