General Question

kelly8906's avatar

What causes a miscarriage?

Asked by kelly8906 (340points) June 19th, 2009

I am 20 years old, and I was barely 3 weeks pregnant (if even that) and had a miscarriage. I feel too young to have that happen. Does anyone know what causes a miscarriage in a person my age. I have a healthy 3 year old daughter and everything went fine in that pregnancy. I have had 2 abortions, could that maybe have caused something to happen?

I also have Low-grade cervical dysplasia. (IM A MESS). Could that have led to a miscarriage?

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16 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Most likely, you will never know. Most miscarriages occur because of genetic defects in the embryo (it’s the body’s way of gently eliminating non-viable embryos). In fact, many women have miscarriages that occur near the time of their period that they never even recognize (i.e. they never felt pregnant, and didn’t know it because the “period” came around the normal time). Could it be due to some scarring from the abortions? Yes, although a more plausible explanation is that there was something wrong with the embryo that prevented it from going past a very early stage. However, it might be that the embryo did not implant successfully into the wall of the uterus, and failed to develop normally. Either way, these things are very common. Try not to beat yourself up over it.

TaoSan's avatar

That’s a pretty hefty question for a newbie, you’re not a troll, are you?

If not, then I’m so sorry to hear about this. There’s a wikipedia article listing some of the possible causes, however, there is a rather disturbing image of a fetus on there, so I don’t know if you want to do this to yourself just right now.

So sorry, hang in there, and welcome to Fluther.

By the way, @shilolo is a doctor….

whitenoise's avatar

You seem to have had a very short pregnancy and you shouldn’t conclude anything based on having a miscarriage after such a short term. In that stage at least one in five pregnancies will never mature, be it that most people will not notice.

With respect to your Low-grade cervical dysplasia, I couldn’t tell you, but you might best ask your family doctor.

You write nothing on how you feel, but I hope and wish you well.

From wikipedia:
Determining the prevalence of miscarriage is difficult. Many miscarriages happen very early in the pregnancy, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Treatment of women with miscarriage at home means medical statistics on miscarriage miss many cases.[28] Prospective studies using very sensitive early pregnancy tests have found that 25% of pregnancies are miscarried by the sixth week LMP (since the woman’s Last Menstrual Period).[

kelly8906's avatar

@whitenoise, I’m upset about it because I was really looking forward to having another child, but I assume everything happens for a reason and if something were wrong with the baby, then it’s for the best. But thank you all for advice.

@TaoSan, I’m not a troll, lol. I get on here from time to time just to ask questions. Most of them are “medical”. I get good responses.

TaoSan's avatar


Ha didn’t even look at your profile! I’m glad you’re lol’ing ;)

Well, I can’t begin to imagine how this must feel to you, but I hope you’re getting well and over this.

<—-sending happy thoughts!

marinelife's avatar

I am sorry for your loss. This article has some good reading to supplement what shilolo said.

It is definitely not about you. Miscarriages occur in 15% of pregnancies for women under 35.

gailcalled's avatar

I had one at five weeks that occured while sitting on the toilet having cramps. I did not save the material.

The second one was at three months and handled in the hospital and was abnormal; there was an extra vein in the umbical cord. Foetus was obviously like the one shriveled pea in the pod when you shell peas.

I had a lovely and healthy son before and a beautiful and healthy daughter afterwards.
The miscarriages were painful experiences, however, both physically and emotionally.

And I was 25 and 26 when they occured. Don’t give up hope.

whitenoise's avatar

Well, hang in there, Kelly8906. I wish you all the best.

As a parent, like you, I appreciate that your children are the most important thing in life that touch your essence. Be kind to yourself and don’t look for reasons or blame, there are likely no reasons and surely no blame.

Again… I wish you all the best and trust that you will be fine.

kelly8906's avatar

@gailcalled, I’m sorry you went through that. Mine happened so early that I’m not really “sad”, just more disappointed and wondering why it happened.

@shilolo, I had a blood test done and my HCG level was at 12, and I know a non-pregnant woman should have levels under 5ml. 12 is not very high though, so I probably was not even 3 weeks.I got my “period” only a few days later than I should have normally if I weren’t pregnant. The doctor I must have had a miscarriage given my blood test results, because I went back a week later and the levels dropped from 12ml to 2ml. (I guess there is no other explanation). I’m not sure if you know anything about this, but do you think I was very very early into the pregnancy?

kelly8906's avatar

@whitenoise , thank you. :) Take care

shilolo's avatar

@kelly8906 Yeah, you probably had a very early miscarriage, which, had you not had the blood test, you might never have noticed. This is very typical and common. As others posted above, the numbers are skewed, but probably lots and lots of early pregnancies are miscarried in this way. When you stop to think about the complexity of forming a human being out of one cell, you begin to realize how one little genetic mistake could throw off the whole process, leading to a miscarriage. Best wishes.

casheroo's avatar

@kelly8906 I’m so sorry. I’ve had three miscarriages, and I’m only 22. Like @shilolo said, it was most likely a defect, the embryo didn’t implant properly, or your body just rejected it. Miscarriages are more common that people think, because they can occur so early that a woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant (you obviously knew since you already have a child and tested right away)
Doctors don’t do much for them, and it’s a waste to go to the ER. Sometimes a doctor wants to check to make sure your hcg level is going down normally, but I’ve only had a doctor do that once.
I had a miscarriage the month before I conceived my son, and he came out perfect.

RedPowerLady's avatar

See bottom of message for support resources.

I hope you don’t mind me saying first that: I am so so sorry for your loss. ((Hugs))

Miscarriages can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common cause of miscarriage is that the pregnancy just wasn’t healthy and your body recognized that. In this circumstance nothing is to “blame”. This is typical of early losses.

Other Medical Causes

Also please note that You Did Not Cause This as many women feel guilt over having a miscarriage.

I know you said you are not feeling “sad” so perhaps these resources are not useful to you. But just in case I’ll post them.


Mommies of Angels Support Forum

A Loving Journey Website with Helpful and Practical Information

Your Grief Rights

MagsRags's avatar

Women’s health care practitioner here – you’ve gotten good information already. I just wanted to add that cervical dysplasia would not cause a miscarriage. Dysplasia is almost always caused by a cervical HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infection. Once it’s been evaluated with colposcopy and biopsy, in most cases it can be observed for a year or so – healthy young women have good immune systems and many will clear the virus on their own without any high tech intervention.

In rare cases, complications from abortion can traumatize the cervix to the point that it’s not strong enough to hold the baby inside the uterus, but that leads to a much different kind of miscarriage than you described.

Glad you’re feeling better.

kelly8906's avatar

Thanks everyone for your responses! @MagsRags , I do have HPV (one of the cancer causing strands). I’ve had that for 2 years now, and I guess recently its turned into dysplasia. I have to have a pap smear every 3 months, and its always followed by a colposcopy and then a biopsy (which sucks). If I keep having biopsies, I know they only take a small piece of my cervix, but it seems like that could mess with future pregnancies. No?

MagsRags's avatar

Biopses will not interfere with future pregnancies. The biopsies are taken from the outer visible part of your cervix – it’s a very small piece of tissue, and it regrows within a month or so to be invisible to the naked eye. The endocervical curettage is a little more invasive – that’s where they insert a sharp edged metal instrument into the cervical canal and scrape of some cells from the inner cervical lining. The scraping doesn’t go into the “muscle” of the cervical canal. The part of your cervix that holds the baby inside during pregnancy is the inner cervical os – the cervix is 1–2” long and the inner os is a pretty tight muscle at the upper end.

Women who miscarry from what’s called incompetent cervix have an inner os that is weak and silently dilates from the weight of the growing pregnancy. The pregnancy practically falls out, usually in early second trimester. I’ve seen actual cases a couple of times – I remember one woman who came in for a routine prenatal visit at about 14 weeks ( a little over 3 months), and was having an unusual amount of vaginal pressure and discharge. I did a speculum exam, expecting to diagnose a vaginal infection, and instead found a bulging membrane from the bag of waters filling the upper half of the vagina. That pregnancy couldn’t be saved, but the next time she got pregnant, the docs did an minor surgical procedure in the first trimester to put in a purse string type suture around the inner os to prevent it from opening early. The suture is removed near full term to allow for labor and birth.

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