Miscarriage and Genetics

Miscarriage can be caused by any number of things. In a large number of cases, it is not certain what exactly causes a miscarriage. Some of the known causes of miscarriage may hereditary and genetic, while other causes are definitely not genetic.

In over 50% of cases, the cause for miscarriage is a genetic abnormality of the fetus. Often, a fetus will not have the usual 46 chromosomes that occur during a normal pregnancy. It may be that the chromosomal structure is abnormal, or that the fetus is malformed due to some other genetic or chromosomal problem. Chromosomal problems may or may not be hereditary, so it is difficult to say if this type of miscarriage has been passed down from one generation to the next. Most of the time, unless you have had several miscarriages, you will not be tested for chromosomal abnormalities.

Chronic diseases are another possible cause of miscarriage. Diabetes and thyroid problems are thought to be among the worst offenders, as well as kidney disease and lupus. These diseases may or may not be genetic. In most cases, proper management of the chronic disease can help to reduce the risks of having a miscarriage.

Many miscarriages are a result of lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking during pregnancy. A high intake of caffeine is also thought to contribute to a risk of miscarriage. Obviously, it would be rather difficult to classify these causes as genetic.

If you do have repeated pregnancy loss, you might see a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can help to create a family chart that will show what medical conditions that your family has had, and determine what your risks of miscarriage could be.

It is also important to note that, just because a parent or grandparent may have had a miscarriage or even multiple miscarriages, that is no guarantee that you will have a miscarriage. Even if miscarriages are sometimes genetic, it is possible that the risk of miscarriage could skip a generation, or even several.

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