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Miscarriage

Chicago medical negligence attorney for miscarriages

Understanding Early Pregnancy Loss - Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Pregnancy is a joyous event, but the loss of a pregnancy can be devastating for a prospective mother, father, and other family members. Sadly, miscarriages are far too common, occurring in around 10 to 15% of pregnancies. Expectant mothers should understand the potential causes of miscarriage and the ways to prevent the loss of a pregnancy.

What Causes Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is typically defined as the death of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. If the pregnancy ends after the 20th week, it is referred to as a stillbirth. Miscarriages can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Blighted ovum - A fertilized egg may implant in the uterus without developing into an embryo.
  • Molar pregnancy - A mass of tissue may form in the uterus alongside or instead of a fetus. This can cause serious complications for the mother, including the growth of cancerous tissue.
  • Ectopic pregnancy - An embryo may implant in a location outside of the uterus, such as in one of the fallopian tubes. This can cause the fallopian tube to stretch or rupture, and emergency surgery may be necessary to avoid serious or fatal hemorrhaging of blood.
  • Uterine conditions - Some types of abnormalities, such as septate uterus, can lead to a miscarriage. Issues such as fibroids in the uterus or scars from a previous surgery or Cesarean section may also reduce the amount of space available for a fetus or restrict blood flow to the child, resulting in the loss of the pregnancy.
  • Insufficient cervix - If the cervix dilates too early in the pregnancy, this may result in a miscarriage. In some cases, a doctor may recommend cerclage, in which the cervix is stitched closed to prevent early dilation.
  • Medications - If certain types of drugs are administered to a pregnant mother, they may result in fatal birth defects. Antibiotics such as quinolones, tetracyclines, and sulfonamides have been linked to early loss of pregnancy, and the acne drug Accutane has also been found to significantly increase the chances that a miscarriage may occur. In addition, some studies have indicated that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin during the early stages of pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Infections - Certain types of infectious diseases can cause a miscarriage, including toxoplasmosis, parvovirus, listeriosis, and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
  • Trauma - If a pregnant mother suffers injury to her abdomen, this can cause potentially fatal harm to the child. Some types of testing, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, may also be traumatic to a fetus and lead to miscarriage.

Risk Factors

During pregnancy, doctors should be aware of factors that may increase the chances of miscarriage and advise the mother of the steps she can take to prevent the loss of the pregnancy. These factors include:

  • Age - Miscarriages are more likely for women over the age of 35.
  • Health conditions - If the mother has diabetes, thyroid problems, or an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, she is more likely to experience a miscarriage. Hormonal issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also increase the chances of an early loss of pregnancy.
  • Obesity - A mother with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher has an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Behavioral issues - Smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illicit drugs during pregnancy may lead to a miscarriage. 
  • Toxic substances - Exposure to radiation or certain types of harmful chemicals can lead to the early death of an infant.
  • Previous miscarriages - The chances of a miscarriage increase if a mother has previously experienced an early loss of pregnancy.

Assistance Following a Miscarriage

There are few things more heartbreaking than the loss of a child. Parents who have experienced a miscarriage may want to know whether something could have been done to prevent the loss of pregnancy. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we can help you determine whether your miscarriage occurred because of medical negligence. We will work with you to determine your options and provide you with the compassionate guidance and help you need during this difficult time. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today at 312-945-1300.

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