Skip Navigation LinksHome > March 2007 - Volume 50 - Issue 1 > Causes of Fetal Wastage
Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31802f11f6
First Trimester Pregnancy Complications

Causes of Fetal Wastage

SIMPSON, JOE LEIGH MD

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Abstract

Fetal wastage has many causes, but genetic factors are by far the most common. The earlier the pregnancy loss occurs, the greater the likelihood of genetic causation. Among first trimester abortions, 50% to 80% show chromosomal abnormalities, usually aneuploidy. This is greater than all other causes combined. Chromosomal numerical abnormalities can be recurrent and sporadic; failure to take this into account is a major pitfall in many reports addressing causation. Moreover, many causes of fetal wastage that are traditionally considered to be “nongenetic” are actually the result of perturbations of gene products-proteins. Among nongenetic causes of first trimester fetal wastage, the best established are thyroid abnormities; antifetal antibodies; and the inherited and acquired thrombophilias. The latter are more established in the second trimester. Uterine anomalies can lead to second trimester losses. Infections seem uncommon, and alloimmune causes are not validated.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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