How to Avoid Miscarriage

I’m sure you are aware that pregnancy is a delicate period in a woman’s life. As you progress through the nine months of your pregnancy, it’s important to learn everything you can about how to avoid a miscarriage. A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends unexpectedly in the early weeks or months. This is also called a spontaneous abortion.

The factors that lead to most miscarriages are unavoidable. These issues include chromosomal abnormalities and fetus development problems. Miscarriages are not uncommon. About 10 percent of early pregnancies end in a miscarriage before the twentieth week. The real number of miscarriages may actually be higher, too, as many people miscarry before knowing they’re pregnant.

While you cannot prevent a miscarriage, you can take steps to have a healthier pregnancy. This may lower the risk of a miscarriage by reducing the risk of possible causes of the premature end of the pregnancy.

What Causes a Miscarriage?

Pinpointing an exact cause for a miscarriage is difficult. In most cases, the cause is something you couldn’t have prevented, meaning you couldn’t have prevented the miscarriage, either.

Rarely, doctors are able to find an issue that increases the risk for a miscarriage. In that case, treating the issue may help prevent a future miscarriage.

First trimester

Around 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. The first trimester refers to the time between weeks 1 and 13.

Common causes of miscarriage in the first trimester include:

  • Genetic abnormalities. More than half of all first trimester miscarriages are the result of problems with the fetus’s chromosomes. If your body detects the fetus has damage or missing chromosomes, it will end the pregnancy.
  • Blood clots. A condition called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) causes blood clots that can end a pregnancy. This condition can be treated with medications to prevent a miscarriage.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. This potentially serious but rare type of pregnancy occurs when the fetus begins developing outside the womb. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be saved and are a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.
  • Placental problems. If the fetus and placenta are not compatible, the pregnancy may be lost. Likewise, uterine defects, including an abnormal shape, may also cause the sudden end of a pregnancy.

Second trimester

A miscarriage in this later stage of pregnancy, weeks 13 to 24, is much less common. If it does occur, the cause is likely related to external health conditions, or problems with the mother’s health.

These second trimester issues that may lead to pregnancy loss include:

  • Infection. Infections within the uterus or cervix can lead to a miscarriage. Likewise, food-borne illnesses may put a woman at risk for a miscarriage.
  • Chronic conditions. Chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure increase a woman’s risk of having a miscarriage. The risk is higher if the condition isn’t properly treated or managed.
  • Thyroid disease. Untreated thyroid conditions increase risk of miscarriage.
  • Autoimmune conditions. Lupus, as well as other autoimmune conditions, can lead to a miscarriage.
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix. Fibroids or an abnormally shaped womb may cause a miscarriage.
  • Lifestyle factors. Smoking, second-hand smoke, consuming alcohol, and drug use can interfere with a fetus’s development. High caffeine consumption may also be problematic.
  • Environmental factors. Exposure to certain chemicals or hazards can cause a miscarriage. These include mercury, solvents, paint thinners, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Third trimester

At this late stage of a pregnancy, a miscarriage is more commonly called stillbirth. The same issues that can cause a miscarriage in the first two trimesters of a pregnancy can also be responsible for a pregnancy loss in the third trimester. But, understanding the exact cause is often difficult.

These issues may include:

  • Pregnancy complications. This includes preterm labor or the separation of the placenta from the womb.
  • Birth defects. One in 10 stillbirths are the result of a genetic or structural birth defect.
  • High blood pressure. Preeclampsia occurs in 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. While the greatest risks of this condition are to the mother, preeclampsia can cut off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. Preeclampsia can also progress to eclampsia, a very serious condition that can be fatal to the fetus and woman.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Infection. An infection in the placenta or in the fetus can cause the end of the pregnancy.
  • Problems with the umbilical cord. If this cord is knotted or squeezed, it can cut off the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus.
  • Problems with the placenta. Insufficient blood flow to the placenta can end in a miscarriage.

How Can I Prevent a Miscarriage?

Most miscarriages are caused by genetic abnormalities in the fetus. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent miscarriages caused by genetic abnormalities.

However, not all miscarriages are caused by genetic abnormalities. If you have had a miscarriage, work with your health care provider to determine the reason for your miscarriage, if possible, and to plan a future pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy may help. Here are some tips that may help prevent miscarriage:

Take folic acid

Research suggests that taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily might reduce the risk of birth defects that can lead to miscarriage.

Start taking this B vitamin every day before you intend to get pregnant. Continue taking it during pregnancy for the greatest benefits.

Follow a healthy lifestyle

Avoid unhealthy risk factors, such as:

  • smoking
  • second-hand smoke
  • alcohol consumption
  • illicit drug use

You should also limit your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams (mg) or less per day.

In addition to avoiding risks, you may also be able to improve your pregnancy health by:

  • getting regular exercise
  • getting adequate sleep
  • eating a healthy, well-balanced diet during all three trimesters
  • Manage stress

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight, obese, or underweight may increase your risk for complications during pregnancies. This includes miscarriage.

Take precautions against infections

Wash your hands frequently. This can help you avoid illnesses like the flu and pneumonia, which are easily spread.

Make sure your immunizations are all up to date, too. Talk with your doctor about any other immunizations you might need during pregnancy, including the flu shot.

Manage chronic conditions

If you have a health issue, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or an autoimmune disease, work with your doctor to properly treat or manage it. This can help prevent miscarriages when you become pregnant.

Practice safe sex

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can lead to complications during pregnancy. Get tested before you try to get pregnant. If you’re already pregnant, get tested as soon as possible.

During pregnancy, use barrier methods properly in every sexual encounter, including oral or anal sex, to reduce your risk for STD.

These steps may help to prevent miscarriage, too:

  • Avoid radiation and poisons such as arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene oxide.
  • Take special care to keep your abdomen safe while pregnant. Avoid sports that carry a higher risk for injury, such as contact sports and skiing, and always wear your seat belt.
  • Avoid environmental hazards such as X-rays and infectious diseases.

You can also help ensure a healthy baby by finding out about and treating any health conditions you have before you try to conceive. If, for example, you know a previous miscarriage was due to an autoimmune response or a hormonal imbalance, seek treatment for this underlying condition. Once you become pregnant, get early, comprehensive prenatal care to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Conclusion

Understanding motherhood is not easy. Especially if you’re pregnant and trying to understand how to avoid miscarriage in first trimester (and even early pregnancy). The first thing a mother must realize is that she should know everything related to pregnancy; it should be thoroughly learned, not only for the first trimester but for all of it.

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