Health Watch: Insulin resistance a factor in miscarriages

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage each year, and it's always a heartbreaking experience.

"I felt kind of alone, even though I know my husband was there with me and my family knew about, it but I felt alone because they weren't experiencing what I was experiencing," says Devani Conner.

After three miscarriages, Conner sought help from Doctor Trolice at the IVF Center. He understands what it's like to be in her shoes.

"My wife and I went through 10 years of infertility," Dr. Trolice said. "Ten years of struggle, of watching my patients cry during the day and my wife cry at night. And finally, we resolved by adopting our five children."

Some miscarriages can be caused in part by hormonal problems, older age, and poor lifestyles like obesity and smoking. But 50 percent is unexplained.

Now, a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility says that insulin resistance might be a culprit.

"What we're seeing is that in patients who have abnormal blood sugar control as well as prediabetes, and another word for that is insulin resistance, that may be associated with miscarriage," Dr. Trolice said.

High insulin levels are toxic to the placenta. Dr. Trolice says women who have had a miscarriage should be screened for blood sugar control.

"And if that's abnormal, we get that more normalized with medication," Dr. Trolice said.

Along with medication, women can also adjust their diet to increase their chance of having a healthy baby.

Although it's been known that insulin resistance is linked to miscarriage, this study was the first to understand that the insulin severely damaged placenta cells.

The common diabetes drug Metformin can now be prescribed to help women at risk.
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