If you’ve made your way to this article, you’re probably well along your journey of conceiving and having a child. Throughout your journey, I’m sure you’ve noticed how difficult it can be to find good, accurate, simple information. That’s part of the reason why we created Orchid – to do the heavy research so you don’t have to. In this article, we’ll talk about what miscarriage is, why it happens, and what you can do to improve your odds of having a successful pregnancy. Let’s get started!
What Does It Mean To Have A “Miscarriage”?
A miscarriage, or “spontaneous abortion“, is the loss of a pregnancy naturally before the 20-week mark. If this has happened to you, don’t worry! It is very common. Miscarriages occur in about 1/4 pregnancies. Keep in mind that as you progress through your pregnancy that the odds of a miscarriage continue to drop. This is especially true after the 12-week mark.
There are several different types of miscarriages. It’s important to identify the cause of miscarriage so that you can receive the proper treatment.
- Ectopic Pregnancy – this is when the sperm and egg meet and form an embryo, but the embryo does not attach to the uterine wall. 90% of the time, the embryo attaches someone within the fallopian tube. In this case, surgery is needed to remove the embryo.
- Molar Pregnancy – this is a situation where the sperm and egg meet, but due to complications, the embryo is unable to grow and fully develop. In most cases, the embryo will naturally leave the body.
- Chromosomal Complications – this is actually the cause of about half of all miscarriages. Although scientists aren’t positive of the exact mechanism, we do know that the number of chromosomes (too many or too few) is usually the reason that the embryo cannot be sustained.
How Hormones Can Impact My Ability To Stay Pregnant
I’m sure you know that **health** and your ability to carry a child go hand-in-hand. Heart health, lifestyle factors (smoking, exercise), and your diet have huge impacts on miscarriage probabilities. What many people don’t know is that your hormones also play a major role in whether or not miscarriage events occur.
Health conditions such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and thyroid disease (such as Hashimoto’s – the most common cause of hypothyroidism) can both increase the chances that a miscarriage occurs. PCOS and thyroid disease are both hormonal conditions.
PCOS is a hormone disorder that is often associated with excess levels testosterone. It is an endocrine disorder that impacts up to 10% of women! Researchers are still unsure about what causes PCOS to develop. Based on recent studies, scientists’ best guess is that a combination of genetics (comes from your family history) and environmental factors (such as diet and frequency of physical activity) are the primary cause of PCOS. Because PCOS can disrupt hormone production and balance, it is a common cause of miscarriage.
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal condition associated with an under-production of thyroid hormone. These hormones are important not just for your ability to carry a child, but for your overall health. Thyroid hormones impact body functions such as metabolism, the performance of your ovulation, and your ability to manage depression and anxiety.
Tips To Improve Your Chances Of Not Having A Miscarriage
- You can think of **folic acid** as a type of wonder-vitamin for preventing miscarriages from occurring. You can find folic acid in foods such as dark leafy greens (including kale and bok choy), asparagus, and citrus fruits (including grapefruit and Mandarin oranges).
- Get a hormone test completed! As we mentioned earlier, hormones play a huge role in the ability of your body to successful support a young child. Many conditions that can negatively impact your ability to carry a child show little to no symptoms. For example, hypothyroidism shows symptoms that are often brushed off as a “slow metabolism” or fatigue “caused by lack of sleep”. The good news is that most of these conditions are able to be treated with simple medications! The one thing standing between you and a child could be an over-the-counter medication.
- No smoking or drinking (limit caffeine)! The effects of tobacco and alcohol have been studied intensively by researchers and the results are clear. No amount of tobacco or alcohol is recommended for any hopeful mother. Caffeine is okay in limited quantities (think a cup or two per day), but the jury is still out on that.
Need to check in on your hormone levels? Take our fertility quiz below! Our algorithm will decide which hormone panel is right for you.