6 Really Common Things That Can Cause A Miscarriage

Here's what you need to know


Malia Jacobson |

Random embryonic gene glitches are the single most common cause of miscarriage. Beyond that, even doctors are sometimes baffled – but they do know that these factors can contribute.

1. Age

The miscarriage rate surges to 40 percent for mothers over age 40, whose eggs are much more likely to be damaged.

What you can do: ask for a full pre-conception check-up. If you’ve already miscarried more than once, your ob-gyn may test for (and treat) age-related hormonal dips in progesterone, a hormone that’s key to maintaining a healthy uterus.

READ MORE: What You Need To Know About Endometriosis And Your Fertility

2. Smoking

Smokers have twice the rate of miscarriage as non-puffers and each daily smoke during the first trimester ups your risk. Why? Nicotine and other toxic chemicals in ciggies can damage the placenta and cause bleeding.

What you can do: if you haven’t already done so, kick the butts – including e-cigarettes – and try to avoid secondhand smoke as well.

3. Caffeine

Research on coffee consumption is mixed, but one large-scale study found drinking more than 200mg of caffeine per day (two standard cups) doubles your risk, possibly by restricting blood flow to the placenta.

What you can do: stick to a maximum of one cup of coffee per day or switch to decaf.

READ MORE: 17 Weird Things That Can Mess With Your Fertility

4. Alcohol

According to one new study, knocking back four or more drinks per week during the first 20 weeks may increase miscarriage risk by 2.7 times, since lots of booze could harm a developing baby.

What you can do: all major medical organisations say that the safest bet is to completely lay off the sauce. But talk to your doc; some allow an occasional glass of vino.

5. Phthalates

Day-to-day exposure to these chemicals (found in many plastics) is linked to an elevated miscarriage rate before 13 weeks, new research finds.

What you can do: switch to products marked “phthalate-free”; eat fresh foods (they’re less likely to be covered in plastic wrap or packaging); and avoid plastic products labeled “V” or “PVC”.

READ MORE: How Your Vagina Changes In Your 20s, 30s, 40s And 50s

6. Untreated medical conditions

Endometriosis (a common gynaecological condition), high blood sugar, diabetes and thyroid disease can all hamper proper development of the uterine lining, making it hard for an embryo to implant and grow.

What you can do: if you’ve had multiple miscarriages, ask your ob-gyn to check for these ailments, which can often be controlled with meds.

These frequently blamed things won’t hamper a healthy pregnancy

— Massage Not only will a rub-down not cause a miscarriage (or, later, trigger contractions), experts say it can improve mood and lower stress. Swedish massage, which relaxes muscles and improves circulation, can be especially good for moms-to-be. Just be sure to choose a certified prenatal massage therapist.

— Stress The high cortisol levels that come with chronic stress can prevent ovulation, but once you’ve conceived, feeling frazzled won’t end the pregnancy.

— Exercise As long as you have your doc’s blessing, new research shows both low- and moderate-intensity workouts (such as swimming, running, and cycling) are okay.

Have you or someone you know suffered a miscarriage? Our experts answer some of your most pressing miscarriage questions and give advice on how to cope with the physical and emotional loss.

READ MORE ON: Fertility Health Health Advice