First , I would like to apologize to all my readers and especially to those who left comments and were hoping for timely responses. I took a week's vacation at the beach and brought the computer with me to keep up with my blogging, but there was no internet connection where we stayed!?! So much for good intentions. I did not think such places existed anymore! Anyway, I got back today from some fun in the sun (except for the SHARKS!!!) and started simply responding to the plethora of readers' comments rather than tackling something new. Thank you all for NOT taking a vacation while I was gone. However, before I resume the series we started on "Diabetes in Pregnancy," I thought it would be worthwhile to simply publish over the next few days some of my responses to several of the comments. These often get lost at the end of the posts and some actually contain some good information of general interest to many readers...
On August 8, 2007, Anonymous wrote:
Hi. I have a concern. I am about 6 weeks pregnant and started spotting yesterday and then bleeding today. I am concerned because I lost one baby last year. That was my first miscarriage. I have 4 healthy children by my late husband. He was also the father of the 1st miscarriage. Now I am suspecting that I am losing this one. This one is by my current boyfriend. He believes that he is O- and I know that I am A+. The 1st miscarriage was at 8 weeks. but I am concerned that the Rh factor could have something to do with this one. Any ideas or suggestions? I am suppose to go to the doctors again on Monday but am concerned that this may not hold until then.
To Anonymous Aug 8: No, I am afraid it doesn't sound very good. You didn't mention how old you are or if you have any medical problems that have developed since you had your children. Regardless, it is highly likely the miscarriage you had with your late husband after having 4 children with him was the result of a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. That is the most common cause of isolated miscarriages in women who have successfully had children with a partner and the risk for that happening increases with maternal age. You have no control over that.
The problem with your current pregnancy could, again, be simply the result of another baby that has a chromosomal abnormality, but it could also be the result of having a new partner. Your immune system may have to get used to the differences between you and the new partner so that you can succesfully carry a baby with him. Sometimes a single miscarriage takes care of that and the best thing you have going for you is that you have successfully carried babies before. We do know that women with new partners are also at greater risk for developing preeclampsia and that may be related to the same thing. If you would like to learn more about that, check out the series I wrote on "Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy." Incidentally, the differences in your Rh status under these circumstances is probably irrelevant.
Thanks for reading and for the good question! Dr T