10 important truths about miscarriage

Yes, it’s hard to lose a baby…but your chances of enjoying a successful pregnancy are still very high.

Losing a baby at any point during your pregnancy is probably the most devastating experience an expectant parent would have to deal with. And if you miscarry more than once, your confidence takes a beating.

When Diana Chan, 37, suffered a second miscarriage, she felt sorry for her husband and useless as a mother. Chan notes that she and husband got to a point where they were so sick of feeling happy and optimistic, only to have to deal with the grief of losing their baby.

It’s hard to prevent a miscarriage ― also known as a spontaneous abortion ― as most are the result of medical emergencies. SmartParents ob-gyn expert Dr Christopher Chong has this down-to-earth advice for grieving parents, “It may well be nature’s way of not letting what is not good enough to progress, rather than letting it [turn into] an abnormal chid and suffering.”

“It may well be nature’s way of not letting what is not good enough to progress, rather than letting it [turn into] an abnormal chid and suffering.”

Both Dr Chong and Dr Peter Chew, senior consultant ob-gyn at the Peter Chew Clinic for Women, offer facts about miscarriage…

1) Genetic abnormality is the most common cause About 70 to 80 per cent of miscarriages are the result of faulty genes. Dr Chew explains, “It is nature’s way of cutting down the number of malformed babies.” Your gynae will obtain a cell culture of the foetus to determine if genetics is to blame for your miscarriage. If it is indeed due to genetic factors, there is no effective way — including bedrest or drugs — to save your pregnancy. The good news is genetic malfunctions seldom manifest themselves again.

2) Health issues should be addressed, stat! Getting regular health checks and prenatal tests before you try to conceive can address any issues that may affect your pregnancy. Womb health issues are another common cause of miscarriages among Singaporean women. Dr Chew points out, “When the womb is malformed or has multiple fibroids — muscle growths in the womb — and when the womb’s neck [becomes loose] from repeated abortions, a miscarriage can occur.” If you experience infrequent periods, your lack of hormones could also cause you to miscarry.

3) Healthy mother = Healthy baby It’s important to prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy by making healthful lifestyle choices like eating well and exercising regularly. Dr Chew says your diet should also include adequate vitamins like folic acid and minerals like iron. Dr Chong advises that taking folic acid two months before you try for a child can help reduce your foetus’s risk of getting spinal defects during pregnancy. Leading an active life can help avoid chronic health conditions like hypertension and diabetes, which can cause foetal death. And if you are a heavy smoker or drinker, you should put an end to these harmful habits.

4) It may be difficult or even impossible to uncover the reason for your miscarriage This is because any number of factors can result in the loss of your baby, so getting to the root cause can be a complex process. Sometimes, your foetus’ organs or genes may be developing abnormally, explains Dr Chong. Other times, it can result from placental infections and issues. Most worrying of all, autoimmune diseases — where the body creates antibodies that reject the foetus — can cost a baby its life.

Did you know that your miscarriage risk increases with age? Read on…