No matter how careful, healthy or lucky a newly pregnant woman may be, there's no promise she will in fact have a baby. The National Institutes of Health say that up to half of all pregnancies fail, most of the time before a woman knows she's pregnant.
Why does it happen?
In most cases, there's no clear answer.
Are they preventable?
- Most miscarriages are not preventable.
- Through no fault of the mother or father, a new embryo may have:
- Chromosomes that aren't formed well
- Missing chromosomes
- Extra copies of chromosomes
- Women have built-in "quality-control" measures that most often stop them from being pregnant by pushing the embryo out
How can you lower your chances?
Simple, healthy choices and good care can be a big help.
- Cigarettes, alcohol and street drugs
- Use of and even being near these substances can raise the chance of failed pregnancy and other problems.
- Quit using these substances if you are pregnant or are even thinking about getting pregnant.
- Too much caffeine
- Studies have found that five or more cups of coffee a day double the chance of failed pregnancy .
- The link between caffeine and miscarriages is still being looked at.
- Many pregnant women enjoy a cup of coffee every now and then without any clear problems.
- Not all painkillers are the same.
- Studies suggest that taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers while pregnant can raise the chance of a failed pregnancy by 80 percent.
- Acetaminophen may be ok for most pregnant women, but you should always check with your doctor before taking any drug.
See your doctor
- A full exam can help your doctor find things that might lead to failed pregnancy , including:
- Lupus (an illness where the body's immune system attacks the body's cells and tissue)
- Congenital heart disease or other heart problem
- Kidney disease
- Uncontrolled diabetes (high blood sugar)
- Thyroid disease
- Infections of the uterus/womb
In many cases, treating these illnesses can greatly raise your chance for a healthy pregnancy.
- The March of Dimes says that most women who suffer a miscarriage have healthy pregnancies later on.
- If you've had more than one miscarriage, extra tests may be needed to get to the bottom of the problem.
- You may not be making the amount of progesterone you need, which may be fixed by taking prescribed supplements.
- You may also have fibroids or an unusually shaped uterus, which can often be corrected with surgery.
Know your body
- All pregnant women should watch for signs of failed pregnancy or premature birth. You should call your doctor if you notice:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding at any point while pregnant
- Minor bleeding (this may not be a sign that you're losing the baby, but only your doctor can say for sure)
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