Oman health: Miscarriage risk linked to lifestyle
August 18, 2015 | 10:21 PM
by Elham Pourmohammadi

Muscat: Although the causes of miscarriage are still not well understood, a combination of lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk, says a senior consultant at the Royal Hospital.

The cause of miscarriage can be determined in around 50 per cent of cases, but there are some avoidable risks, said Dr Rahma Al Ghabshi, who is a reproductive, endocrine and recurrent miscarriage specialist.

Read also: More special clinics needed to handle miscarriage cases

Speaking to the Times of Oman, Dr Al Ghabshi noted that lifestyle factors associated with miscarriage include smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, alcohol consumption and stress.

According to her, obesity is another important factor which can increase the risk of miscarriage as it is linked to other health problems such as abnormal sugar levels and high blood pressure and may affect blood supply as well.

Obesity is also associated with thyroid issues, she said, adding that any imbalance in the body may result in higher risk of miscarriage.

Genetic factors

The senior consultant added that genetic factors and chromosomal abnormalities can cause miscarriage and a woman who suffers a miscarriage due to genetic factors may need to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

In some cases, a miscarriage is associated with uterine issues or cervical incompetence, she said, adding that bacteria may be linked with miscarriage as well.

Some medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disorders are also associated with miscarriage because of the medications which are sometimes not easy to stop due to the pregnancy, noted Dr Al Ghabshi.

An increase in maternal age also raises the risk of miscarriage, she said and added that Vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor too.

According to her, some other immunologic (related to immunity system), endocrine (related to hormones) or thrombophilic (related to abnormality of blood coagulation) factors may be involved as well.

Environmental factors

In addition, there are environmental factors which may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Chemicals used while growing fruits and vegetables on some farms, pesticides, lead, mercury, anaesthetic gases (nitrous oxide) and pollution may increase the chances of miscarriage in women who are exposed to them, said Dr Al Ghabshi.

However, still more studies need to be conducted to determine what amount of these chemicals may cause miscarriage, she added.

Environmental and lifestyle risk factors may be the reason behind the increase in miscarriage rate in the world, the expert noted.

Dr Al Ghabshi explained that, in some cases, miscarriage can be prevented by certain measures, or issues related to it can be treated.

She added that, internationally, 50 per cent of all conceptions fail, with most of them being unrecognised pregnancies, meaning that the woman did not know that she was pregnant.

Global statistics show that 13 to 15 per cent of recognised pregnancies are lost, with 90 percent of them happening before 12 to 14 weeks, said Dr Al Ghabshi.

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