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How to Understand the Causes of a Miscarriage

Losing a baby through a miscarriage can be physically and emotionally devastating. Although not well understood, the causes of miscarriage generally involve a chromosomal abnormality or some type of physical issue.


  • TIP: Even some prescription drugs can increase the chance of miscarriage. Ask your doctor about any prescription drugs you are taking.
  • Step 1: Take stock of the mother's age. Older women have a higher rate of miscarriage because of their age. Studies indicate the increased prevalence of chromosomal abnormalities found in older mothers may add to the rate of miscarriage.
  • FACT: Chromosomal abnormalities account for about half of all miscarriages.
  • Step 2: Monitor the mother's lifestyle factors. Drug abuse, smoking, and excessive use of alcohol have all been linked to miscarriage.
  • Step 3: Study environmental conditions in relation to the mother. Certain workplace and environmental dangers -- such as increased levels of radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals -- have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Step 4: Consider the health of the baby's mother. Complications, such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, infections, and hormonal problems can all lead to miscarriages. Cervical and uterine issues can also play a role.
  • TIP: A pregnancy loss is considered a miscarriage if it occurs before the 20th week of gestation.
  • Step 5: Look at chromosomal abnormalities within the fetus. Conditions such as a blighted ovum, intrauterine fetal demise, or molar pregnancy account for a high number of miscarriages. These abnormalities are not inherited from the parents, but are the results of glitches in the embryo's development.

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