Facts about miscarriage

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By Dr Shiri Dutt, director of City Fertility Centre Gold Coast. 

Dr Shiri Dutt Blog ArticleUnfortunately, miscarriage is more common than many people think. Studies show that up to one in five women will have a miscarriage before 20 weeks and most of these occur in the first 12 weeks.

Couples experiencing miscarriage often suffer in silence. Recently, well-known Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg publicly shared the news he and his wife Priscilla had had personal trials and tribulations with miscarriages. On his personal Facebook page he said they had been trying to have a child for a couple of years and had three miscarriages along the way. Luckily, they are now happily pregnant and expecting a little girl.

Mark said: “When we started talking to our friends, we realised how frequently this [miscarriage] happened – that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.”

Like Mark and Priscilla, many people struggle to deal with miscarriages on their own, creating a very lonely experience. However, when they opened up to some friends about their experiences, they found there were plenty with similar issues.

My advice is to seek professional help when needed, empower yourself with the facts and talk with family, friends or a counsellor to share the load.

 

The medical facts about miscarriages are:

  • They affect up to one in five women.
  • They usually occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and mostly in the first 12 weeks.
  • The risk of miscarriage reduces significantly with advancing gestation. Recent research reported once a pregnancy reaches six weeks’ gestation there is only a 9.4 per cent chance of miscarriage and this reduces to a 0.7 per cent chance by 10 weeks.
  • After three or more miscarriages (known as recurring miscarriages), tests are commonly done to look for the cause.
  • Many risk factors have been implicated in miscarriage but uterine malformations and parental balanced chromosomal rearrangements are the most commonly recognised ones.
  • Other risk factors include: advancing age; lifestyle (particularly smoking, caffeine, alcohol, drugs and weight); medical conditions (such as uncontrolled diabetes, fibroids and thyroid problems); diagnostic procedures (amniocentesis); and cervical abnormalities.
  • Research suggests about 50 per cent of miscarriages happen because chromosomes in the embryo are abnormal and the pregnancy does not develop properly from the start.
  • Investigating the cause of miscarriage can include: looking at lifestyle factors; checking parental chromosomes; carrying out blood tests to check for diabetes, thyroid and other issues; a hysteroscopy to investigate uterine and cervical problems; and semen tests to check sperm quality.

The good news is that there are several ways specialists can help patients experiencing recurrent miscarriages. City Fertility Centre assists many patients with simple fertility advice, pre-IVF techniques and IVF if required.

We also offer some of the latest assisted reproductive technology, including: advanced embryo selection using Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (CGH), which assists in selecting the most viable embryos for transfer; and universal transfer media EmbryoGen and BlastGen, to name a few.

To learn more, please visit our Miscarriage page.

 

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