Causes of Early and Late Abortion (Miscarriages)

Abortion or a miscarriage is the expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception before the 28th week of pregnancy and the fetus not being born alive. This can be induced i.e. by own means or spontaneous i.e. unintentional.


Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is abnormal and should be viewed as a serious issue. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester or within the 12 weeks and this is called the early Abortion; after the 13th week of pregnancy is also known as the late abortions.


Causes of Early Abortion:

The leading causes of early abortions are not known but may include fetal and maternal causes.


Fetal Causes:

  • 50% of miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities of the unborn baby.
  • Genetic e.g. down’s syndrome and structural abnormalities e.g. cleft palate and lip


Maternal Causes:

  • Maternal age: over 35 years of age
  • Structural abnormalities: like fibroids, inversion of uterus
  • Infections: like malaria rubella
  • Drugs:  some anti hypertensive, cyctotoxins (drugs for managing cancers)
  • Maternal Diseases: e.g. kidney diseases, diabetes, thyroid dysfunctions.
  • Habits: excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee and smoking.


Causes of Late Abortions:

This is mainly caused by cervical incompetence or maternal diseases like diabetes and very severe hypertension.


Management of abortion:

Early abortion is managed according to the cause.

Medications are given to mothers prior to pregnancy for those with history of repeated early abortions.

Investigations are done during the early weeks of pregnancy to treat or manage diseases like malaria, high BP, diabetes.

Late miscarriages are usually managed by suturing the cervix (cerclage) or by inserting some medications.

Sex is usually prevented during this stage. Some pregnant mothers may be admitted throughout their pregnancy till they deliver in severe or recurrent cases.


To find out more read our Pregnancy Care Do's and Don'ts.

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