WASHINGTON: There's good news for women who have gone through multiple
miscarriages and all the pain it entails. Even among the more than 80% who've
had two or more miscarriages will eventually have a successful pregnancy with
Although miscarriage is common, 30% of all women will experience at least one
miscarriage in their lifetime, and one to two percent will have three or more,
there have been relatively few well-conducted studies on its causes and
treatments, said Ruth Lathi.
Lathi is assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Stanford
University Medical Centre.
"We can do better than this. We need more research," she said. As many as 40 to
50% of miscarriages have no identifiable cause.
Some of the causes of miscarriages have been pinpointed. Endocrine problems such
as thyroid disease are responsible for 15-20% of miscarriages.
Hypercoagulability, an increased tendency to develop blood clots, also causes
15-20%; maternal abnormalities in the uterus or cervix cause 10-15%.
Maternal genetic mutation causes 2-5%; and in 0.5-5% of cases, infection
triggers a miscarriage. Older age and a history of previous miscarriages also
increase the risk.
Some of these causes can be detected and treated. For women with thyroid
dysfunction (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), successful treatment reduces
the risk of miscarriage and other adverse outcomes.
Recent studies have also shown that in selected women who have anti-thyroid
antibodies (a condition affecting about 11 percent of reproductive-age women),
treatment with the thyroid hormone levothyroxine can effectively decrease
Women who have hypercoagulability can be treated with therapies that interfere
with blood clot formation, most commonly aspirin or heparin or both.
Weight is another contributing factor, said Sun Kim, MD, assistant professor of
medicine at Stanford.
Research finds that being obese or underweight significantly increases pregnancy
complications and the risk of miscarriage, said a Stanford release.
Given that one-third of Americans are obese, the impact of obesity on pregnancy
outcomes is a growing public-health concern, Kim said.
"Losing weight is hard, I don't deny that," she said. But she added that even
moderate weight loss of 5-10% can significantly reduce the risk of miscarriage.
- Courtesy: IANS /