Women, who have had miscarriages, know the heartbreak that follows. Now, a study has revealed blood tests conducted after a miscarriage can investigate the underlying cause and help healthcare professionals offer preventive treatment to avoid similar occurrences in the future, thus assuaging some of the anguish.

The study was published in the British journal The Lancet by Danish gynecologist Henriette Svarre Nielsen and her team of researchers in continuation of a project dubbed COPL for Copenhagen Pregnancy Loss launched in 2020.

AFP spoke to the study lead researcher Nielsen recently, who said a blood sample taken from the mother shortly after a miscarriage, as early as the fifth week of pregnancy, can help determine if the fetus had a chromosome abnormality.

How chromosomal abnormality causes miscarriage

In 50-70% of cases of the total global miscarriage statistics, a chromosomal abnormality was identified as the common culprit. There is no definitive answer to why this event occurs, but theories suggest the mother's immune system recognizes any genetic problem(s) the growing baby may have and ends the pregnancy as a protective response.

The risk of pregnancy loss increasingly occurs later in a woman's childbearing years, as per Very Well Health.

The research team specifically targeted miscarriages occurring as early as the fifth week of pregnancy in order to obtain blood samples from the patients to examine them for any chromosomal abnormalities.

"This is 2023. We are way beyond just counting as the criteria," Svarre Nielsen of Hvidovre Hospital, where the research was conducted, told AFP.

The study involved all women who have suffered a miscarriage and visited the Hvidovre hospital emergency room, with a high acceptance rate of 75%. The researchers then went on to separate the fetus' DNA, and sequence, and analyzed it to see if it carries a chromosome anomaly.

This approach allowed doctors to assess the severity of different anomalies.

This method would also enable researchers to predict future miscarriages, and also the likelihood of a baby being born with Down Syndrome due to extra copies of chromosome 21.

"They would also be able to predict the risk" of future miscarriages, lab technician Lene Werge explained to AFP.

Pregnancy loss can be the result of a hormonal imbalance, endocrinal illnesses, coagulation problems, or lifestyle issues. If an explanation is found, doctors can determine the risks and chalk up a treatment plan.

COPL involves a large cohort of 1,700 women, and is expected to produce a unique database on a wide range of illnesses.

Silent miscarriage is a condition that occurs when the fetus stopped developing or died but the placenta and embryonic tissue remain. Pixabay