Risk Factors for Miscarriage

What You Need to Know About Miscarriage Risk Factors

Several risk factors might occur before or during pregnancy that can increase the likelihood of your pregnancy ending in a miscarriage. Some of these are things that you may have no control over, such as age or certain diseases. Other risk factors for pregnancy loss you do have some control over, like lifestyle choices. Here are some facts from our Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Guide.

Pregnant women in waiting room.
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It has long been known that some chronic diseases lead to an increased rate of pregnancy loss. Women who have chronic hypertension or diabetes can have more risk factors in pregnancy that can include miscarriage. This can be both because of chromosomal disorders as well as issues with carrying a pregnancy to term. There are some other medical reasons why miscarriage might be more likely in your case.


Cigarette in ashtray near ultrasound images
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Smoking can reduce the oxygen to the baby and cause chromosomal abnormalities in early pregnancy or other pregnancy related problems like low birth weight and placenta previa. Even second hand smoke can have detrimental effects on your baby. This is why it is important to stop smoking before you become pregnant or as soon as you can after pregnancy. Though we do know that even a decrease in smoking is beneficial.


Pregnant woman with a cup of coffee
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Studies go back and forth on whether or not to blame caffeine in pregnancy loss. Some recent studies indicate that higher levels of caffeine might play a part in pregnancy loss. Some mothers feel like this is one risk factor that they can control, so they do. Most practitioners take a walk on the safe side and say moderation if you choose to partake.


Pregnant woman learning relaxation
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Pregnancy can be a very stressful time. The changes in your body, the increased medical appointments, and all of the unknowns that come with parenting, can really weigh on your mind. Take a look at some of the research and studies on stress and pregnancy loss. While we all feel stress, how much stress in pregnancy is enough stress to be a problem?


Woman at work with chemicals
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The most common place for a pregnant woman to be exposed to toxic chemicals is at work. Some chemicals are harmful and some aren't. Knowing what you are working with, discussing it will your practitioner and your boss are important factors to preventing toxic chemical related pregnancy loss. You should also be careful about the risks at home. Some cleaning or crafting products may also present dangers to you and your baby. That said, there are environmental risks in flame retardants and in our food and water - pay attention to recalls and water issues.


Pregnant woman with a glass of wine or alcohol
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Alcohol and miscarriage are something many people put together. One night of wild drinking before you knew you were pregnant is unlikely to cause a miscarriage, though any drinking can potentially cause fetal alcohol effects (FAE) or the more severe fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). When it comes to miscarriage, drinking five or more drinks per week is more the issue.


Pregnant woman discussing medication with partner
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Is miscarriage caused by low folic acid intake or chromosomal abnormalities caused from low folic acid intake? Read more about this perplexing chicken and egg question.


Doula with hand on pregnant woman's belly
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There are some risks to being over 35 and being pregnant, but that doesn't mean that with good support you can't have a healthy pregnancy. Many of the risks are due to chromosomal disorders due to aging eggs. In addition to the risks of chromosomal abnormalities due to "older" eggs, there is also the likelihood that women over 35 have chronic conditions.


Pregnant Woman on Scale
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Having a weight problem can influence your risks for miscarriage, both being underweight or obese. You should talk to your practitioner about these risk factors. Getting to an ideal weight prior to getting pregnant can help you, not only conceive more quickly, but have a healthier pregnancy all over. That said, losing weight in pregnancy is typically not advised.


sad mom with baby
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Having had a previous miscarriage can increase the likelihood that you will miscarry again, though it is not a given. The factors that can repeat might be anatomical, hormonal or genetic. Has your practitioner screened you for repeating factors? This may be helpful in determining your risk factors in future pregnancies.


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