Infection and Multiple Miscarriages
Miscarriage, medically known as spontaneous abortion, is a difficult experience for a woman. Although many miscarriages occur within the first weeks of pregnancy without the woman knowing she was pregnant, a large majority happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Statistically, two out of every ten pregnancies will end in miscarriage and women who do experience miscarriage usually go on to have a successful pregnancy afterward.
However, there are women who experience two, three or more miscarriages in a row, never managing to carry the pregnancy to completion. When this happens, the recurrent miscarriages become a signal that there are fertility issues that should be addressed in order for the woman to be able to carry a pregnancy to term.
Infection, Antibiotics and Multiple Miscarriages
Although there are myriad reasons for miscarriage, nearly 50 percent are on the "unknown cause" list. Of the miscarriages that do have causes ascribed to them, one factor that is prevalent in recurrent miscarriages is infection. If a woman has an infectious condition that causes a miscarriage and she is never treated for it, then the chances of a subsequent miscarriage increase and her pregnancies will be high risk, usually putting the outcome in jeopardy. However, with the use of aggressive antibiotic therapy, the rates of miscarriage due to infection have dropped from 73% in the 1940s to 35% in the 1970s to 5% to 20% today.
Most Common Infections Causing Multiple Miscarriages
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and bacterial infections like listeriosis, are all implicated in miscarriage. Isolated studies indicated the following bacterial as causes of miscarriage:
· toxoplasma gondii
· Group B streptococcus
· E. coli
· STDs - syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea
There are many other forms of bacteria that are implicated in miscarriage; however those listed are most familiar to the general population. If, following a miscarriage, the seminal fluid or the endometrial biopsy specimen is positive for any of the bacteria, any subsequent pregnancy that occurs without the infection being cleared up puts the mother and baby at risk for miscarriage again. Oral antibiotics may have some effect, but the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics tends to provide better results in treating and eradicating infections.
Untreated STD Infections Cause Miscarriage
An untreated STD during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery, although the risk varies with the type of disease.
· HIV - There was a time when pregnancy and HIV were a dangerous combination. However, with the drugs available today, a woman can carry a baby to term and the risk to the baby is minimized considerably, provided the mother seeks treatment. It is a recommendation that all women be screened for HIV in early pregnancy regardless whether there are symptoms or not.
· Syphilis - can and often does cause miscarriage as well as life threatening complications for the baby if the baby is born with congenital syphilis. Antibiotics are the most effective and best way to deal with this infection.
· Viral Hepatitis - Especially Hepatitis B poses serious risk for the baby, although it doesn't increase the risk of miscarriage. Because it is viral, antibiotics are not used in treatment.
· Herpes - Causes maternal problems and problems for the baby if there are active lesions.
· Bacterial Vaginosis - Although not really an STD, if left untreated is a risk factor for second-trimester miscarriage or preterm labor.
· Gonorrhea - Left untreated is a high risk for preterm labor and complications for the baby. It can and often does lead to PID.
Although some of these infections go as far as preterm labor in their ramifications, the fact is that preterm labor can end up in miscarriage of the pregnancy. Bacterial infections can be effectively dealt with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy over a period of days or weeks. Frequently, by knocking out the infection entirely, a woman can go on to have a healthy, normal pregnancy even if she had been plagued with multiple miscarriages prior.
Infection is not the only cause of multiple miscarriages. To learn more about other possible causes, read the article on this site.