As many as one in four pregnancies may end in loss. What causes all these miscarriages? Take a look at some of the most common causes of pregnancy loss here.
Julia Breau

Common causes of pregnancy loss
According to Dr. John Sussman, MD, co-author of Trying Again, the fact remains that doctors can't always offer conclusive explanations for pregnancy loss.

Here's a look at some of the most common causes of miscarriage.

Chromosomal abnormalities: A genetic error that happens during conception (if defective egg or sperm cell is involved), or during earliest stages of pregnancy.

Maternal disease: Certain medical conditions are associated with higher than average miscarriage rates such as immune system disorders: lupus, heart disease, kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, intrauterine infection.

Hormonal imbalances: If levels of hormones (such as progesterone) are inadequate to maintain a healthy pregnancy, the woman may miscarry.

Rhesus (Rh) disease: If the father's blood is Rh positive and the mother is Rh negative, she will develop antibodies that may attack a subsequent baby's blood cells. This is extremely rare as most women have some form of prenatal care, and RhoGam shots are routinely given to all women with Rh negative blood.

Immune system disorders: A woman's immune system, trained to fight invaders, mistakenly attacks normal cells in her body.

Allogeneic factors: Some women develop antibodies to their partner's white blood cells, which leads to miscarriage.

Anatomical problems of the uterus: Uterine adhesions such as fibroids, thin endometrium lining, incompetent cervix may lead to miscarriage.

Drug abuse and exposure to harmful substances: Alcohol, caffeine, smoke (first or second hand), chemicals used by dry cleaners, photofinishers, and radiation all pose risks to your unborn child.

Increasing maternal age: According to Sussman, "While women in their 20s have a 10 percent chance of experiencing a miscarriage, the risk for women in their forties is believed to be approximately 50 percent."

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