TODAY | December 09, 2011
CURRY: All right, Savannah , thank you. Dr. Rebecca Brightman is an ob-gyn and clinical instructor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine . Dr. Brightman , good morning.
Dr. REBECCA BRIGHTMAN (Clinical Instructor, Mount Sinai School of Medicine): Good morning, Ann.
CURRY: We just heard it, Savannah just mentioned, they're planning to name the child, hold a funeral. A lot of people don't realize just how emotional it is to go through a miscarriage. And the numbers are about 20 to 30 percent of women will experience miscarriage at some point. Was Michelle even more vulnerable just simply for the fact that she had already had 19 children?
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Absolutely. You know, a woman is at risk of having a miscarriage with any pregnancy. Twenty to 30 percent of pregnancies can result in miscarriage, and that number tends to increase as women get older. So by virtue of the fact that she's in her 40s, sure.
CURRY: But it -- the fact that she had 19 previously, did that increase her risk or not?
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: No. No. No, she's actually fortunate that she had had so few to date.
CURRY: So few miscarriages to date.
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Absolutely.
CURRY: And when a miscarriage happens in the early stage, as was happened -- as happened for Michelle ...
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Mm-hmm.
CURRY: ...what does it tell us?
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: It tells us -- you know, the majority of the time when someone miscarries like this, usually there's something chromosomally wrong. In about 75 percent of the situations there was something chromosomally wrong with that fetus.
CURRY: And that is a increase -- that is an increased risk when you're at the age of 45 or even older.
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Yes. Yes.
CURRY: All right, so with so many relatively easy pregnancies, then to have these last two pregnancies be a problem, what would you advise her as a doctor, would you advise any woman in this circumstance?
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Well, it's one thing -- you know, women , particularly as they get older, are at increased risk of having certain complications during pregnancy, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. And clearly her last pregnancy was complicated by something we call pre-eclampsia, which is the situation of high blood pressure . And once a woman does have a pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia, her subsequent pregnancies are at risk of that same complication.
CURRY: Although I had pre-eclampsia when I -- with my first baby and I did not have it for my second.
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: True.
CURRY: And I was much younger when I was pregnant, so I think it can sort of depend. Younger women do also get pre-eclampsia.
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Younger women and older women , women on either side of the age spectrum. But having one pregnancy complicated by pre-eclampsia does put a woman at increased risk.
CURRY: So are you saying that for Michelle now, with the pre-eclampsia situation and now with the loss of this miscarriage, that this indicates something to her -- this probably should indicate something to her about her ability to continue having babies?
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Well, I think it's something to think about because, clearly, her pregnancies are at increased risk and she wants to be there for her kids at home and not put her health at risk, because she wants to be there for her other children.
CURRY: Well, clearly her other children, hopefully, you know, will help comfort her, and so we wish her the best.
Dr. BRIGHTMAN: Absolutely.
CURRY: And thank you so much for this perspective this morning.