Having a miscarriage is one of the most devastating experiences a pregnant woman can go through. Suddenly, all your hopes and dreams for your new baby are ripped away, and yet, others may not understand or even be aware of your loss since your child had yet to be born. For years, most women suffered in silence, though recently, famous faces such as Chrissy Teigen, Hilaria Baldwin, and Zara Tindall have been opening up and sharing their pain so that other women in similar circumstances will know they’re not alone. Perhaps the worst part of going through a miscarriage may be feeling as if it’s somehow your fault. Should you have gotten more rest? Not gone on that trip? Said more prayers? Knocked on wood? Is there something just … wrong with you? First of all, NO. No, no, no, and no. Not. Your. Fault. Okay, so having gotten that out of the way, what could have caused the miscarriage?
Julia Wilkinson, a reproductive health expert who works as a certified genetic counselor at Invitae, tells The List that over half of all miscarriages may be due to genetic problems in the developing babies. “Some genetic problems are random or sporadic,” she says, while “others may be passed down in a family.” In order to determine the probability of a miscarriage occurring, Wilkinson says that there are several different tests that can be done. Such testing is particularly advisable, she feels, for any woman who has suffered multiple miscarriages.
How you can screen for common miscarriage causes
Wilkinson says a leading cause of miscarriage is a chromosomal abnormality in the developing fetus. Most of the time, these are just random, isolated occurrences. On rare occasions, though, she explains that one or both parents may have some sort of chromosomal rearrangement of their own. “In that case,” Wilkinson says, “the parental chromosome change can greatly increase the chance for a couple to experience pregnancy loss or to have a child affected with a chromosomal condition.” To see whether this might be an issue for you and your partner, you can have a parental blood chromosome analysis (also known as a karyotype) performed. This test is something Wilkinson says is often performed when a couple have had several miscarriages.
Yet another genetic test you may wish to consider is carrier screening, also known as carrier testing. This test looks at each parent’s DNA in order to track the changes that may be associated with certain inherited conditions. Wilkinson mentions that carrier testing “provides … important information about the risk of passing genetic conditions on to a child, even if neither partner has a condition themselves or affected individuals in their family.” While this information doesn’t guarantee a successful pregnancy, it can help you make some important family planning decisions. Happily, as Zara Tindall and Hilaria Baldwin can attest, even more than one miscarriage doesn’t mean you won’t someday welcome a happy, healthy rainbow baby into the family.
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