Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before viability. Viability means ability of the fetus to survive independently outside the mother’s womb. Age of viability, expressed as age of pregnancy (gestation age) varies; with some countries having it has 20 weeks to 24 weeks in others. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant. In other words, miscarriage is a form of an abortion which was not caused intentionally.
Various factors cause miscarriage or may increase its risk of it happening. They include:
- Abnormal genes or chromosomes in the fetus which lead to improper development of organs incompatible with life
- Older age – women older than age 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than do younger women. At age 35, you have about a 20 percent risk. At age 40, the risk is about 40 percent. And at age 45, it’s about 80 percent.
- Previous miscarriages especially for women who have had two or more consecutive miscarriages are at higher risk
- Chronic medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid or kidney disease
- Uterine or cervical structural disorders which cannot keep the fetus intact in the uterus till birth
- Smoking, excessive alcohol use and illicit drugs during pregnancy
- Hormonal imbalances especially fall in progesterone hormone
- Infections like syphilis, rubella, gonorrhea, toxoplasmosis
- Extremes of weight that is, either being underweight or being overweight, though this is not very significant
Routine activities such as exercise, sexual intercourse, working, provided you’re not exposed to harmful chemicals or radiation don’t provoke a miscarriage, so long as they don’t cause excess physical force or trauma to the mother’s abdomen.
Treatment is aimed at preventing recurrence of miscarriage in the next subsequent pregnancies by modifying or eliminating the above risk factors, managing symptoms and complications