The first trimester of any pregnancy can arguably be considered the most critical. If anything is to go wrong during a pregnancy, it is most likely to happen during this time period, which covers weeks 1 through 13. There are several causes for miscarriage during the first trimester, many of which are outside of your control.
The vast majority of first trimester miscarriages are unexplained. No concrete reason will be found for these miscarriages, often referred to as chemical pregnancies. In fact, if it were not for home pregnancy tests that can give positive results very early in the pregnancy, most women with chemical pregnancies would not even know for certain that they had been pregnant. This type of miscarriage was often dismissed in the past as simply being a late period.
Among first trimester miscarriages that are explained, the most frequent cause is some sort of chromosomal abnormality. Such abnormalities may be caused by a problem during the division of cells in the growing embryo, or a defect in the sperm or egg that existed before fertilization. This type of miscarriage is completely out of the mother’s control.
There are also other causes of miscarriage during the first trimester that are out of the mother’s control. One of these is improper implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall. If the embryo fails to properly implant, it cannot grow and thrive, so a miscarriage occurs. Another factor that you cannot always control is infection. Certain types of infections, such as urinary tract infections, may cause a first trimester miscarriage.
While there are steps that you can take to lessen your chances of developing urinary tract infections, there is no way to completely erase the chances of getting one. Maternal age is also a factor in some miscarriages during the first trimester, and there is of course no way to change your age. Cervical incompetence may also cause many first trimester miscarriages, but if this condition is caught in time, medical intervention may save the pregnancy.
However, there are a few things that you can do that may lessen your chances of having a first trimester miscarriage. Just as you should take special care of your body while you are pregnant, you should take special care of your body before trying to become pregnant. Exercising and eating a healthy diet prior to trying to conceive can increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy. Adding a prenatal vitamin or other daily vitamin that is rich in folic acid is also recommended before you try to conceive. Once you do conceive, you should avoid activities that could endanger your baby, such as drinking, smoking, and dangerous physical activities like skydiving or riding roller coasters.
Sometimes there is truly nothing you can do to avoid a miscarriage during the first trimester. However, if you take the best possible care of yourself before and after conceiving, you can at least rest assured in the knowledge that you did everything right. First trimester miscarriages are not usually repeated, and many women go on to have one or more successful pregnancies. Even if you do experience multiple first trimester miscarriages, with your obstetrician’s help, you may still be able to have a successful pregnancy.