When a woman experiences three or more miscarriages before fetal viability (about 23 to 25 weeks), it is considered a recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), also known as habitual abortion or recurrent miscarriage. It affects roughly 1% of those people trying to conceive.
There are many different factors that lead to RPL. These can be:
- abnormal immune responses to the fetus
- chromosomal disorders
- thrombophilia (tendency for blood clotting)
- ovarian factors
- lifestyle factors
- endocrine disorders
- anatomical abnormalities
And, there are cases where the couples never find out the reason for their RPL, despite going through numerous tests and examinations.
One of the first indicators of recurrent miscarriage is mild bleeding or blood spotting. For the majority of pregnant women, bleeding is a common occurrence during the early stages of their pregnancy. But, it does not always mean a miscarriage. Then again, it has been discovered that about 50% of the bleeding cases while in early pregnancy lead to complications including miscarriage. The bleeding is usually accompanied with back pain and mild to intense abdominal cramps. As the bleeding and cramping worsen, the body eventually expels the pregnancy.
A miscarriage may continue for a few days, or weeks depending on various reasons. In most cases, it is based on the duration by which the body gets rid of all the pregnancy tissues. For some pregnant women, the bleeding and cramping can last up to 3 weeks while for others it is complete after a week. Most miscarriages usually stop in 2 weeks, although sometimes, they last only for one day. It can also happen that for some women the embryo is reabsorbed by the body without experiencing bleeding or any difficulties.
It there is no treatment applied, women with recurrent pregnancy loss are 60% more likely to experience miscarriage again during their next pregnancy. To date, the understanding of pathogenesis and etiology of recurrent pregnancy loss is still not yet determined, and so several treatment solutions have been utilized in medical practice. But still, a large part of them provide insufficient evidence to back up their effectiveness in preventing a miscarriage for females with RPL. One common treatment method is the cerclage or cervical stitch. While it is known to produce successful results, it also comes with some inherent risks such as cervix or bladder injury, infection, and premature labor.
Since no standard treatment options are available for such condition, many people look for alternative medicine. Fertility acupuncture has been used in RPL for many centuries.
Even though the bleeding and pain associated with miscarriage normally disappear after several days, the emotional stress tends to last longer. It is best to take preventative measures and consult your physician to prevent recurrent miscarriages from happening. All the same, RPL requires certain tests to be done in order to determine the underlying factors in their recurrences.