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What is a Recurrent Abortion?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Recurrent abortion is a gynecological condition characterized by three or more pregnancies which end in spontaneous abortion, also known as miscarriage. Since many people associate the term “abortion” specifically with voluntary termination of pregnancy, some people prefer to use terms like “recurrent miscarriage” or “recurrent pregnancy loss” to describe this condition, underscoring the fact that the end of the pregnancy is not voluntary. Recurrent abortion is quite rare; while experiencing two miscarriages before a successful pregnancy is not entirely uncommon, experiencing three or more happens less than one percent of the time.

Rare though it may be, recurrent abortion can be upsetting and frustrating for women who are trying to conceive. There are a number of different causes for recurrent abortion which can be explored with a doctor who can recommend some possible tests which can be used to determine the cause. Ideally, the spontaneously aborted fetus should be tested as well.

One reason for this condition to happen is a physical variation which makes it harder for a woman to carry a pregnancy successfully, such as an unusually-shaped uterus. A chronic infection can also cause recurrent abortion, as can immune incompatibilities. A common cause is an Rh conflict, in which the woman's body erroneously identifies a fetus as harmful. Injections of immunoglobulin can be used to decrease Rh sensitivity to reduce the risks associated with this problem.

Genetic causes can also be responsible. Sometimes, two healthy parents both carry a dangerous recessive gene which results in recurrent abortion because the fetus cannot survive. Genetic testing of the fetus and the parents can reveal the problem. Parents in this situation may want to consider using assisted reproduction to conceive so that they can conceive a healthy fetus. Hormonal variations can also lead to recurrent abortion, with the hormone cycle becoming disrupted and terminating the pregnancy or preventing implantation.

Although recurrent spontaneous abortions were once attributed to lifestyle factors, this no longer appears to be the case. Often, there is nothing a woman could have done to prevent the miscarriage, because it was caused by processes in her own body over which she has no control. Although certain lifestyle changes can pose a risk to a pregnancy and fetal development, even women who carefully observe all recommended precautions can experience a miscarriage or recurrent abortion.

Patients who have experienced recurrent abortion and who would like to have a baby should talk to their doctors about testing options to determine the cause. It may be possible for a pregnancy to be carried to term successfully once the cause has been identified and addressed.

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anon80938
Post 1

a miscarriage in Africa, is a real problem with some couples, although when the married are young, this can cause a conflict between families and parents, but also with friends.

Generally, over two or three miscarriages, it's a social case which incurs traditional considerations such as darkness influences, jealous members, etc. In and out of the community, because, at first, a marriage is a problem of the society.

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