What Is Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Whether you are trying for your first child, or expanding your family, the loss of a pregnancy can be devastating. If you have experienced a miscarriage, you aren’t alone. Approximately 15% of pregnancies result in pregnancy failure. Recurrent pregnancy loss is when three consecutive pregnancy losses have occurred before 20 weeks.

At ELITE IVF, we understand how heartbreaking it can be for should-be parents. Below, we discuss what recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is, common causes, treatment, and coping methods.

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Common Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Recurrent pregnancy loss can happen for various reasons. While in many cases, there is no identifiable medical explanation, the following issues can play a factor: 

Genetics: A miscarriage may be due to genetic factors, especially pregnancy loss that occurs within the first three months. This often means that one of the 46 chromosomes is missing or that there is an additional chromosome present. 

Anatomical issues: Anatomically, the shape of the women’s womb may lead to a miscarriage, such as an abnormally shaped uterus (ie. heart-shaped uterus). Women born with septums in the uterus are also more likely to experience pregnancy loss.

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Hormonal issues: Women with thyroid dysfunctions or diabetes are more likely to experience RPL.

Immune response or genetics: About 15 percent of women with RPL have antibodies that cause abnormalities relating to the tissue of the placenta. Usually, a blood test can detect whether or not these abnormalities are present. There is also some evidence indicating that inherited blood clotting disorders, such as thrombophilias, may play a role in RPL. 

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Lifestyle or medications: Other common causes of RPL include smoking during pregnancy, recreational drugs, excessive caffeine or alcohol use, and specific medical conditions. 

Treatment for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

For cases where a specific cause is identifiable, there is treatment available. For example, a uterine septum, a congenital abnormality where the uterus is divided by a wall of tissue hanging from the top, can be removed. For specific health conditions, medication may also help reduce the risk of miscarriage. Regardless of the cause, there is hope. Many women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss do eventually conceive and carry a baby to term.

Coping with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Coping with recurrent pregnancy loss can be difficult without the right medical, emotional and social support systems in place. Here are some suggestions to support your body and mind when you’re ready to move toward healing:

  • Go slow: You may have bad and good days for a while. Keep it simple and take it one day at a time. Try not to make any major decisions during this healing phase and instead, focus on you.
  • Reconsider social commitments: You may find certain events, such as baby showers, triggering or uncomfortable. It’s absolutely okay to wait until the right time to start attending these types of events or gatherings again. Take any time and space you need before filling up your social calendar. 
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself: Ensure you eat, stay active, and establish a routine. Talk to friends, family, or your partner when you need to. Lean on those you love for support — you need them now more than ever.
  • Be open and honest with your significant other: You may deal with grief differently. You may not want to talk about the miscarriage and they may want to discuss how they feel, or vice versa. The best you can do is be honest with each other regarding how you’re feeling and why. 
  • Write out your feelings:  Journaling can offer an emotional outlet, allowing you to sort through your thoughts and feelings.
  • Consider joining a support group: You aren’t alone. Others have experienced the heartache of pregnancy loss. Look up local support groups and consider attending a session when you feel up for it.
  • Speak with a therapist: A miscarriage may bring up various emotions, such as denial, anger, depression, guilt, envy, and yearning. Know that these are completely normal in this situation. A therapist trained in fertility counselling can help you process everything you are feeling at a comfortable pace. 

At ELITE IVF, we understand the difficulties that come with a miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss. When you’re ready, our fertility experts can help you determine the right course of action for you and your future family. Fill out our online form today and schedule your consultation call with a member of our caring, expert team.