Our expert says:
An antibody is part of the body's defence mechanism. Lupus anticoagulant (LA) and anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) are part of a larger group of antibodies called antiphospholipid antibodies. An abnormally high level of these antibodies is found in about 15% of women who experience recurrent miscarriage, and is called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) or Hughes syndrome. (You may also hear it called "sticky blood syndrome".)
How can these antibodies cause a problem?
It may be that they affect the blood supply in the placenta or that they cause abnormal implantation of the placenta in the wall of the uterus (womb). More research is needed in order to identify exactly how these antibodies cause pregnancy problems.
Investigations involve taking a blood sample from the female partner to identify if the antibodies are present. In order to establish a clear diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome it is essential to have two positive tests, taken at least six weeks apart.
Treatment is usually with low dose aspirin (75mg daily), starting before conception or early in pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend heparin injections once you are pregnant and the baby's heartbeat has been seen on scan.
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