Pregnancy after multiple miscarriages can feel devastating, if you have experienced multiple miscarriages it can and often does leave you feeling completely drained of hope of ever having a successful pregnancy . There will be times when it may seem impossible to keep believing that you are ever going to have a successful pregnancy in the future. However its worth knowing that there are many woman who experience multiple miscarriages and go on to have a healthy baby.
Understanding Multiple Miscarriage
If you have experienced three or more miscarriages in a row, doctors call it recurrent miscarriage or multiple miscarriage. If you have had multiple miscarriages, you will be referred to a specialist doctor called a gynecologist. She will try to determine whether or not there is a cause for your losses.
How common is multiple miscarriage?
On average about one in a hundred woman experience multiple miscarriages. For a third of women who have multiple miscarriage, there is no reason that can be found, for it happening. However there can be issues that cause some women to miscarry again and again.
What causes multiple miscarriage?
If you have endured multiple miscarriages, the burning question you will almost certainly want an answer to is: “Why is this happening to me?” Quite often sadly, you may not get an answer to this question. But if no reason can be found for the multiple miscarriages, it does not rule out the chances of a successful pregnancy happening next time.
There are however certain types of conditions that can lead to miscarriage. There are others that have been linked to it but it’s not yet fully understood how or why these conditions may play a part. Due to ongoing research more and more is being discovered about what the main causes of multiple miscarriages are. The types of conditions that can lead to multiple miscarriage are often rare. They include:
- Genetic problems. Abnormality’s within chromosomes that may exist in you or your partner could have an affect, which doesn’t cause a problem until it is passed on to your baby.
- Blood clotting when it shouldn’t, a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). It can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or even premature birth.
- A blood clotting disorder that is inherited, known as thrombophilia and means that your blood may be more likely to clot than normal. Its possible that this could cause miscarriage but its role in multiple miscarriage is not yet clear.
- Problems with your uterus (womb). You may have a uterus that is abnormally shaped, fibroids or cervical weakness.
- If you have a problem with your hormone levels. Some conditions, such as polycystic ovaries have been linked to multiple miscarriages. But, as yet, it’s not clear why they are linked and how well people would respond to treatments.
Its possible that your age could be having an effect. The older you are, the odds increase of you having an early miscarriage. This is quite common and is often caused by a one-off problem with the developing embryo.
After the age of about 35, the quality of your eggs starts to decline more rapidly. This can cause the genetic material in your eggs to be more likely to go wrong during fertilization. A chromosomal abnormality in your baby has a greater chance of happening and this, in turn, increases the likelihood of miscarriage.
Despite all these possible causes, it is often the case that the reason for multiple miscarriages cannot be ascertained. This is called unexplained multiple miscarriage. As more is uncovered about what causes multiple miscarriages, the number of unexplained cases may go down.
What tests and treatment are available to me?
If you have experienced three or more miscarriages in a row, your GP should refer you to a specialist doctor, called a gynecologist. She will to try to ascertain why you keep miscarrying. You may be offered the following:
You can have a blood test to check for antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). These tests will look for particular antibodies that go with this condition. Antibodies are chemicals our bodies produce to fight infection. It takes two tests, a minimum of six weeks apart, to get a definitive answer. You can still go on to have a successful pregnancy with APS, although you will need to be carefully monitored. The condition can be be treated the next time you’re pregnant with blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin and heparin.
You and your partner can undertake blood tests to ascertain weather or not there are any chromosome abnormalities. This is called karyotyping. If a problem is highlighted, you and your partner can be referred to a clinical genetics specialist and for genetic counselling.
A trained counselor can explain to you what the abnormality is and what your chances are of having a successful pregnancy. Depending on the type of problem, one of the options may be to have IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and for your embryos to be tested before they are transferred into your uterus.
As with many other women, the reason for you pregnancy losses be never be ascertained, despite thorough investigations. If your health care professionals can not discover the reason for your multiple miscarriages you could see it as a reason for better luck next time, if you want to carry on trying for s successful pregnancy. Or you may feel upset as to why there is no explanation for your loss, and frustrated that there isn’t a solution that can be found.
If you want more answers, it may be put to you that further tests are done, if you have another miscarriage. You may give your consent to tests of the pregnancy tissues that are lost. These tests can uncover chromosome problems or tissue from the placenta may be tested for signs of a problem. If an abnormality is found then there will be a better chance of you having a successful pregnancy next time round.
You can undergo an ultrasound scan to see if there are any abnormality’s within your uterus. Depending on what type of abnormality exists, it may be possible for you to go on to have a successful pregnancy.
If it is suspected that you have weak cervix, extra scans may be offered to you in your next pregnancy. If it is discovered that your cervix has began to shorten, widen and open too early then it may be possible to put a stitch in to try to stop you from miscarrying again in the future. There are pros and cons to this procedure, which will be explained to you by your doctor.
Both of these abnormalities of the uterus and cervical weakness are rare conditions.
What are my chances of a healthy pregnancy after multiple miscarriages?
If no reasons can be found for your multiple miscarriages, then you have a good chance of going on to have a successful pregnancy in the future. You should be given extra support and scans. A dedicated team will keep a close eye on you, and this close care in itself increases your chances of a successful pregnancy. It is known that about 75% of women who have unexplained multiple miscarriages go on to have a healthy baby eventually.
If you or your partner has a chromosome problem that’s causing the miscarriages, it is difficult to say what your chances of having a successful pregnancy are so just keep trying. Not all problems are not passed on each time you conceive. Every couple is different, so you should be referred to a consultant who specializes in genetic disorders.
Some of the conditions that cause multiple miscarriages can be treated. Always consult your gynecologist who is the best person to be able to ascertain your best chances of success. She won’t be able to give you a definite answer; nobody can. But she’ll be able to review your medical history, your age and take your test results into consideration when discussing your chances with you.
It can be extremely difficult if you’re feeling knocked back by all your losses and that you are not really sure if you can face losing yet another baby. Getting lots of support is very important. Speak with close friends and family and your doctor about how you feel.
Where can I get support?
It may be worth joining the miscarriage association an online forum to connect others who have experienced miscarriage, talking to other people who have been through similar experiences is probably the most helpful thing you can do . You’ll also find plenty of support in the Baby Center community from other women who’ve had the same experiences as you.
Don’t give up hope of having the baby you have always dreamed of – To read my full review of the pregnancy miracle click here
To read my article called your feelings after miscarriage click here