People often struggle in silence over miscarriages. But this is a common issue affecting up to 60% of all conceptions within the first 12 weeks. And, half the time, the woman didn’t realize she was pregnant.
But what if you did know you were pregnant? And what if you miscarry more than one time?
Dr. Tony Tsai and his team at The New York Fertility Center in Flushing and Manhattan, New York, strive to find the answers to their patient’s fertility problems. If you’ve had more than one miscarriage, here’s what you should know.
Pregnancy loss basics
Pregnancy loss may be common, but that doesn’t make it easy. And if it happens two or more times, it’s described as recurrent pregnancy loss. Between 15%-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. There are different types of recurrent miscarriages, but they fall into two groups:
These pregnancy losses typically occur during the first trimester.
These miscarriages take place after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
In the past, it was difficult to know why a woman lost multiple pregnancies in a row. However, advancements in reproductive medicine have increased the understanding of the most common identifiable causes behind miscarriages.
If you’ve experienced at least two pregnancy losses, we recommend scheduling a full medical evaluation with Dr. Tsai.
Causes of recurrent miscarriage
Pregnancy loss can occur for numerous reasons, ranging from genetic abnormalities to certain disorders. Age, lifestyle, and environmental factors can play a significant role in miscarriage, too. However, you can also experience miscarriages for no identifiable reason.
The most common cause involves abnormal chromosome numbers in the embryo. This issue triggers 50%-80% of miscarriages.
Uterine causes of pregnancy loss can vary, but the most common involves septate uterus. This means there’s a wall of tissue in the uterine cavity, a septum, that divides it. Other uterine problems can include inflammation, poor blood supply, or an irregular shape.
Another common contributing factor to pregnancy loss involves hormone disorders. Hormone levels are vital for numerous body functions, especially in supporting a successful pregnancy. As a result, issues like thyroid disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and even elevated prolactin levels can cause problems.
The immune system itself can come into play during pregnancy, and miscarriages may occur when your body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
Specific autoimmune diseases that could increase your chances of pregnancy loss include lupus (SLE), undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).
People with recurrent miscarriages may have too many or too few natural killer cells or “NK cells” in their system. These lymphocytes play a crucial role in immune function by helping to fight infected cells in the body, and NK cells in the uterus help the body become pregnant. Having an abnormal number of these cells could lead to miscarriage.
If you have immune system dysfunction that’s affecting your fertility, Dr. Tsai could recommend intralipid therapy. The intralipid solution contains a broad range of essential fatty acids that can enhance embryo implantation and help support pregnancy.
Identifying the cause of recurrent pregnancy loss
Today, reproductive medicine experts can typically diagnose the cause of approximately 60% of recurrent miscarriages. Diagnosing pregnancy loss often involves a variety of tests, such as:
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- Hormone testing
- Genetic testing
- Immune function screenings
Based on our findings, we can help outline next steps — and there’s good news. Despite your test results, your chances of a successful pregnancy in the future are good. In fact, people with no identified abnormalities have 77% success rates, and those with no found abnormalities are at 71%.
Do you keep having miscarriages? Don’t keep it to yourself. Our compassionate team of experts can help. Contact The New York Fertility Center to schedule a consultation today.