There are several reasons for miscarriage during the first trimester of a pregnancy; unfortunately, they cannot always identified. A miscarriage during the first three months of a pregnancy is usually down to a problem with the foetus.
Although miscarriages are relatively rare, three out of four in Britain occur during the first trimester. Private pregnancy scans can sometimes identify problems before they lead to miscarriage, but some of the causes may be related to lifestyle.
Although there are several known causes of miscarriage, the most common fall into the following categories:
While many miscarriages are beyond the control of anyone, there are certain lifestyle choices that can make them more likely. Women who eat well and exercise during the early stages of pregnancy may already be at a lower risk of miscarriage than women who don’t. However, there is evidence to suggest that women who are obese are at a heightened risk of losing their baby during those all-important first three months of pregnancy.
It is now common knowledge that smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol during the first trimester can drastically increase the chances of a miscarriage. Women are advised not to drink at all during pregnancy, but if they do, no more than two units of alcohol per week should be consumed. To put this into some context, this equates to just one average-size glass of wine.
In a society where recreational drug use is on the increase, it is important to remember that certain substances also have the potential to increase miscarriage risk. There is also a risk involved with the excessive consumption of caffeine during the first trimester of a pregnancy. Government guidelines recommend that no more than 200mg of caffeine should be consumed in one day, which is the equivalent to just two cups of instant coffee.
Statistics show that the older the mum-to-be, the higher the risk of a miscarriage during the first trimester. Sadly, more than half of pregnant women over the age of 45 will suffer a miscarriage. Women aged between 35 and 39 have around a 20 percent chance of miscarriage, while women under 30 have a 10 percent chance of miscarrying.
A range of biological factors are determined by chromosomes – which are blocks of DNA. These chromosomes control everything from hair colour to how the cells of the body develop. Unfortunately, things can go wrong inside a foetus from the moment of conception, which often results in too many or too few chromosomes developing. If this happens, the foetus will be unable to develop in the normal way, and a miscarriage will occur. Despite a huge amount of research, the reasons for these chromosomal imbalances are still not clear. It is believed that up to two thirds of miscarriages during the early stages of pregnancy end this way.
Problems with the placenta
The placenta is an organ that directly links a mother’s blood supply with that of her baby. If there are structural or developmental abnormalities in the placenta, a baby’s access to oxygen might become cut off. One of the most common issues involving the placenta is a condition known as placental abruption. This is a very serious condition that can be picked up with a pregnancy scan at The Portland Hospital. It occurs when the placenta starts to detach from the lining of the womb. As well as miscarriage, this condition can cause growth and development problems in an unborn child.
Private maternity hospitals tailor prenatal care programmes based on a mother’s medical history and preferences. Carrying out the right scans at key points during a pregnancy can help clinicians to quickly identify issues that have the potential to cause a miscarriage.