Recurrent Miscarriages: Debunking the Myths
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) redefined recurrent miscarriage as two or more consecutive pregnancy losses, by 20 weeks of gestation, as opposed to the previous criteria of three or more consecutive losses. Approximately 5% of couples trying to conceive are diagnosed with recurrent miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
At Brown Fertility, our goal is to help patients achieve their dream of becoming parents by debunking common miscarriage myths while providing proper diagnoses and appropriate care.
Myth #1: “It’s something I did…”
Oftentimes couples may be tempted to place blame on themselves to explain their pregnancy loss. However, miscarriages do not occur due to a missed prenatal vitamin or by the mother’s emotional state or physical activity. The majority of early miscarriages are due to chromosome problems with the pregnancy, meaning that the embryo had abnormal chromosome counts, leading to nonviable pregnancy.
Rarely, there are conditions in which patients have a “chromosome translocation” in which a healthy couple’s chromosomes are rearranged, which leads to mishaps when egg and sperm chromosomes come together. These instances are easy to diagnose with a blood test and can be overcome by testing embryos for chromosomal abnormalities and implanting healthy embryos through the use of IVF with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
A woman’s immune system may also play a role in recurrent pregnancy loss. Thrombophilia or clotting disorders, hormone abnormalities along with hormone imbalances, thyroid disease and diabetes can also contribute to pregnancy loss. These factors can be screened for and addressed through various treatments.
Finally, there could be a uterine abnormality that leads to miscarriage. This can be diagnosed through an ultrasound, HSG or hysteroscopy. These will screen for possible uterine defects, fibroids, polyps or adhesions.
Myth #2: “I will never have a baby.”
Although devastating, both mentally and emotionally, to hear “try again,” the odds of a successful pregnancy are still very high. In fact, according to ACOG, even after multiple losses a woman has a 65% chance of conceiving and carrying a full-term pregnancy.
The decision on when to try again is a personal choice that should be decided between you, your spouse and your medical provider. But overall, the prognosis of recurrent miscarriage is encouraging.
Myth #3: “You should wait to consult a physician…”
In the past, women were told to wait until they had three consecutive miscarriages before seeking intervention. That is no longer the rule. With modern improvements in genetic testing and infertility treatments, couples can identify genetic problems earlier and how to prevent future heartache. Brown Fertility offers the latest genetic screenings and looks forward to consulting patients’ on their options.
It is important to remember there is a lot of misinformation that can be found on recurrent miscarriages; but with our expert team at Brown Fertility, combined with the latest testing and screening options, we would be privileged to help those achieve their dream of growing their family.