7 Steps to Prevent Miscarriage During IVF

by | Jul 16, 2023 | IVF

What is a Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It can occur naturally or as a result of medical intervention like IVF. Miscarriages can be emotionally devastating for couples, as they face the loss of their long-awaited pregnancy. It’s important to remember that experiencing a miscarriage doesn’t mean that you won’t have a successful pregnancy in the future.

 

Signs of Miscarriage After IVF Transfer:

It’s crucial to recognize the signs of a possible miscarriage after an IVF transfer. While the symptoms may vary from person to person, here are some common signs to watch out for:

  1. Vaginal bleeding: Light spotting or heavy bleeding can indicate a miscarriage. It’s important to note that spotting alone doesn’t necessarily mean a miscarriage, but it’s still worth discussing with your healthcare provider.
  2. Cramping and abdominal pain: Mild to severe cramping and abdominal pain, similar to menstrual cramps, can be a sign of a miscarriage.
  3. Decreased pregnancy symptoms: If you notice a sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms, such as breast tenderness, morning sickness, or fatigue, it could indicate a miscarriage. However, it’s important to remember that symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
  4. Passing tissue or clots: Passing tissue or clots from the vagina is a significant sign of miscarriage. It may be accompanied by bleeding and intense cramping.

If you experience any of these signs, it’s crucial to reach out to your healthcare provider immediately for guidance and support.

Read to Know: Miscarriage: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Causes of Miscarriage After an IVF:

Understanding the potential causes of a miscarriage after IVF can help you make informed decisions and minimize risks. Here are some common factors that contribute to miscarriages:

  1. Chromosomal abnormalities: Chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo are one of the leading causes of miscarriage after IVF. These abnormalities can occur during the fertilization process or as the embryo develops. They can lead to improper implantation, and developmental issues, and ultimately result in a miscarriage.
  2. Uterine abnormalities: Certain uterine abnormalities, such as fibroids, polyps, or structural issues, can increase the risk of miscarriage. These conditions can interfere with the implantation of the embryo or affect the blood supply to the developing pregnancy.
  3. Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances, particularly in progesterone levels, can contribute to miscarriages after IVF. Progesterone plays a vital role in supporting the uterine lining and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Insufficient levels of progesterone can lead to a failed implantation or early pregnancy loss.
  4. Immune system issues: Sometimes, the immune system can mistakenly identify the embryo as a foreign entity and mount an immune response against it. This immune response can prevent the embryo from implanting properly or cause inflammation that leads to miscarriage.

 

7 Steps to Prevent Miscarriage during IVF:

Experiencing a miscarriage can be heartbreaking, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk during the IVF process. While these steps may not guarantee a successful pregnancy, they can help improve your chances:

  1. Seek pre-IVF counseling: Before undergoing IVF, consider seeking counseling to discuss your emotional and mental readiness for the procedure. Dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss can take a toll on your well-being, and having professional support can make a significant difference.
  1. Choose an experienced fertility clinic: Selecting a reputable fertility clinic with a successful track record is crucial. Research clinics thoroughly, read patient reviews, and consider seeking recommendations from other couples who have undergone IVF. A competent and experienced clinic can provide better guidance and support throughout your journey.
  1. Genetic testing: Consider genetic testing of embryos before transferring them into the uterus. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can identify chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders in embryos. This process increases the chances of transferring a healthy embryo and reduces the risk of miscarriage.
  1. Address uterine abnormalities: If you have been diagnosed with uterine abnormalities, discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Surgical interventions, such as hysteroscopy or myomectomy, can correct structural issues and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
  1. Hormonal support: Supplemental hormonal support, particularly progesterone supplementation, can be beneficial in preventing miscarriage. Your healthcare provider may recommend progesterone supplements during the early stages of pregnancy to support the uterine lining and promote a healthy pregnancy.
  1. Immune system evaluation: Consider seeking an evaluation from a reproductive immunologist to assess your immune system’s response to pregnancy. Specialized immune tests can identify any immune system issues that may increase the risk of miscarriage. Based on the results, your healthcare provider may recommend treatments or medications to help regulate the immune response.
  1. Emotional support: Going through the IVF journey can be emotionally challenging. Seek support from your partner, family, friends, or support groups who understand what you’re going through. Sharing your feelings and experiences can provide comfort and strength during difficult times.

 

Does IVF Reduce the Risk of Miscarriage?

IVF does not guarantee a successful pregnancy, and unfortunately, it also does not eliminate the risk of miscarriage. While IVF can significantly improve the chances of conceiving for couples facing fertility issues, it does not directly impact the risk of miscarriage. Miscarriage can occur irrespective of the method used to conceive.

Read to Know: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Chances of Miscarriage by Week After IVF:

Understanding the chances of miscarriage by week after IVF can provide valuable insights into the process. Here’s a breakdown of the statistics:

  1. Weeks 4-5: The risk of miscarriage during this period is relatively high, ranging from 15% to 25%. These early weeks are critical as the embryo is implanting and establishing itself in the uterine lining.
  2. Weeks 6-7: The risk of miscarriage drops to around 10% during this period. The embryo’s development progresses, and the risk gradually decreases.
  3. Weeks 8-13: By the end of the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage decreases significantly, to about 5%. The placenta develops, and the pregnancy becomes more stable.

It’s important to note that these statistics are general estimates and may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as maternal age and overall health.

 

Chances of Miscarriage After IVF Genetic Testing:

  • The Role of Genetic Testing: Genetic testing plays a crucial role in IVF, allowing for the identification of chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders in embryos before they are transferred. This screening process can help improve the chances of a successful pregnancy and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
  • Impact on Miscarriage Rates: The introduction of genetic testing has had a positive impact on reducing the risk of miscarriage after IVF. By selecting chromosomally normal embryos for transfer, the chances of a successful pregnancy increase, leading to lower miscarriage rates. However, it’s important to remember that genetic testing cannot completely eliminate the risk of miscarriage.

 

Miscarriage Rates of Frozen Embryo Transfer:

  • Understanding Frozen Embryo Transfer: In addition to fresh embryo transfer, IVF also offers the option of frozen embryo transfer (FET). During FET, embryos that were not transferred immediately after retrieval are cryopreserved and stored for future use. This approach provides flexibility and allows for better timing and preparation.
  • Miscarriage Rates Compared to Fresh Transfers: Research suggests that miscarriage rates for frozen embryo transfers may be slightly lower compared to fresh transfers. The reasons behind this difference are not yet fully understood, but it may be attributed to factors such as a more favorable uterine environment during FET cycles.

 

Conclusion

While IVF offers hope to couples struggling with infertility, it does not eliminate the risk of miscarriage. Understanding the chances of miscarriage by week after IVF can help manage expectations and provide support during the early stages of pregnancy. Genetic testing can play a significant role in reducing miscarriage rates by identifying chromosomally normal embryos for transfer. Additionally, frozen embryo transfers may have slightly lower miscarriage rates compared to fresh transfers. However, it’s crucial to remember that every journey is unique, and individual circumstances can influence outcomes.

 

F.A.Q

Q: What is the most common cause of miscarriage in IVF?

A: The most common cause of miscarriage in IVF is the presence of chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo.

Q: What week is most common to miscarry in IVF?

A: Miscarriage in IVF can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but the first trimester (up to week 12) is the most common time for miscarriages to happen.

Q: What are the top tips to avoid miscarriage?

A: While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent miscarriage, there are some tips that may help reduce the risk, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking and alcohol, managing stress levels, and following the advice of your healthcare provider.

Q: How can I maintain my IVF pregnancy?

A: To maintain an IVF pregnancy, it is important to follow the recommendations of your fertility specialist or healthcare provider. This typically includes attending regular prenatal check-ups, taking prescribed medications, following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise (if approved by your doctor), and avoiding activities or substances that may be harmful to the pregnancy.

Q: Why is IVF pregnancy high-risk?

A: IVF pregnancies are considered higher risk compared to natural pregnancies due to various factors, including the age of the mother, the presence of underlying fertility issues, the increased likelihood of multiple pregnancies (e.g., twins or more), and the potential for complications associated with the IVF procedure itself.

Q: Are IVF miscarriages common?

A: IVF miscarriages can occur, but the rates vary depending on factors such as the age of the mother, the quality of the embryos transferred, and any underlying fertility issues. While the risk of miscarriage may be slightly higher in IVF pregnancies compared to natural pregnancies, the exact frequency can vary.

Q: What are the signs of miscarriage in IVF?

A: Signs of miscarriage in IVF pregnancies can include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain or cramping, passing tissue or clots from the vagina, and a decrease in pregnancy symptoms. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider if you experience any concerning symptoms.

Q: How many IVF pregnancies end in miscarriage?

A: The rate of miscarriage in IVF pregnancies can vary, but studies suggest that it may range from around 10% to 25%. The specific rate depends on various factors, including the age of the mother, the quality of the embryos, and any underlying fertility issues.

Q: Can IVF reduce the risk of miscarriage?

A: While IVF cannot completely eliminate the risk of miscarriage, it may help address certain underlying fertility issues that can contribute to miscarriages, such as chromosomal abnormalities or implantation problems. By optimizing the conditions for embryo development and carefully selecting embryos for transfer, IVF can potentially improve the chances of a successful pregnancy and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Q: What are 5 risk factors for a miscarriage?

A: Several factors can increase the risk of miscarriage, including advanced maternal age (typically over 35), a history of previous miscarriages, certain medical conditions like diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), chromosomal abnormalities in either partner, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or illicit drug use.

Q: What activities increase the risk of miscarriage?

A: Engaging in certain activities can potentially increase the risk of miscarriage, although it’s important to note that miscarriages are often caused by factors beyond a person’s control. Activities that may pose a risk include heavy lifting or strenuous physical exertion, exposure to harmful chemicals or toxins, and participating in activities with a high risk of falls or injuries. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Q: Does lack of sleep cause miscarriage?

A: While there is no direct evidence to suggest that lack of sleep alone causes miscarriage, chronic sleep deprivation and high levels of stress may have an impact on overall health and well-being, which can indirectly affect pregnancy outcomes. It’s crucial for individuals undergoing IVF or trying to conceive to prioritize healthy sleep habits and manage stress levels for optimal overall health.

Q: What is the weakness of IVF?

A: IVF, like any medical procedure, has certain weaknesses and limitations. Some potential weaknesses of IVF include the possibility of multiple pregnancies with associated risks, the emotional and psychological challenges individuals may face during the process, the financial burden of treatment, and the fact that IVF may not always result in a successful pregnancy. It’s important to discuss these aspects with a healthcare provider to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure.

Q: What to avoid after IVF transfer?

A: After an IVF transfer, it is generally recommended to avoid activities or behaviors that may potentially interfere with the implantation or early development of the embryo. This can include avoiding vigorous exercise, heavy lifting, hot baths or saunas, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications or herbal supplements that haven’t been approved by your healthcare provider. It’s best to follow the specific instructions provided by your fertility specialist.

Q: What age is IVF most successful?

A: IVF success rates can vary depending on several factors, including the age of the woman. Generally, IVF success rates tend to be higher for younger women, particularly those under the age of 35. As a woman’s age increases, the quantity and quality of her eggs decline, which can affect the success of IVF treatment. However, it’s important to consult with a fertility specialist to understand the individual factors that may impact your chances of success.

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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