How Common is Miscarriage? Miscarriage statistics are pretty harrowing, with as many as 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in miscarriage before 12 weeks (the first trimester). But with loss of pregnancy being such a common occurrence, why is it not talked about enough? In all walks of life, miscarriage is almost considered a taboo subject; however, while it is every parent-to-be’s worst nightmare, it is something that should be discussed to raise awareness of the risk and also to help prevent miscarriage in future.

Why Do Women Miscarry?

Reasons for miscarriage can vary and for many couples the cause is sadly unknown. Most miscarriages in the first trimester are a result of chromosomal abnormality, which means that the unborn baby possesses either too many or not enough chromosomes, so it cannot develop properly and therefore can be rejected by the mother’s body. The reasons for chromosomal abnormality are often uncertain, but it is not necessarily a sign that there is something wrong with the mother or father, as many couples are able to try again with success following this type of miscarriage.

Problems with the placenta are also a cause of miscarriage. In the first trimester, the placenta may not develop properly, causing issues with or preventing it from providing the foetus with oxygen and nourishment, removing waste or protecting against infection. Like chromosomal abnormality, this can impede proper development of the foetus.

Some chronic health conditions in the mother can also play a part in causing miscarriage. These include lupus, diabetes and kidney disease, as well as an under or overactive thyroid. You can also experience miscarriage as a result of infections such as chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhoea, syphilis and malaria. Another potential cause is food poisoning which, although common, can increase the risk of miscarriage; however, there is plenty of advice available on which foods to avoid when pregnant to lower the risk.

There is also a chance that issues with the ovaries, cervix or womb can increase miscarriage rates. Fibroids, a condition that sees the development of non-cancerous growths in and around the uterus; an abnormally shaped womb; a weak cervix; and polycystic ovary syndrome, where you develop enlarged ovaries, are all said to carry the risk of miscarriage.

Does Age Affect Chances Of Miscarriage?

Although the overall average odds of miscarriage is 1 in 5, this can be broken up into age groups, with the rate increasing with age. The NHS states that, in women under 30, 1 in 10 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That gets slighter higher with women aged 35 to 19, at 2 in 10, and for women aged over 45, more than half of pregnancies result in miscarriage.

Does Miscarriage Affect Future Chances Of Conceiving?

If you have a miscarriage, this does not necessarily mean you will have a problem conceiving in future. The majority of women find that they can go on to have a successful pregnancy following a miscarriage, which suggests that miscarriage is unlikely to have an impact on fertility in most cases.

If you want to try to conceive again after a miscarriage, it is recommended that you wait until the bleeding stops to have sex in order to prevent infection. You might want to try for pregnancy after the first period or later to give your body enough time to recover from miscarriage; however, mentally and emotionally, you may feel as if you want to give yourself more time to recover before trying again. If you get pregnant in the first cycle, that is not going to make you more likely to miscarry but there may be confusion over the dates of pregnancy as the first cycle is likely to be irregular.

Recurrent Miscarriage And Causes

Experiencing one miscarriage is traumatic, but if more occur then this can be devastating and leave you wondering if there is something wrong with you or your partner. Two or more miscarriages in a row may suggest that there are other underlying problems which need to be investigated, but luckily there are options available to help you figure out the problem.

Recurrent pregnancy loss can occur due to genetic issues, an imbalance in pregnancy hormones, abnormally shaped uterus or cervical weakness, or disorders which make you more susceptible to blood clots.

Reproductive immunology is one of the most useful recurrent miscarriage treatment options which could provide an answer. Studies suggest that a fetus can be rejected by immune cells in the body. These cells and the cytokines (chemicals) they product attack the fetus and the placenta, causing damage that might end in miscarriage, small for dates baby, premature labour, premature rupture of the membranes, preeclampsia or even abruption or the placenta. This treatment involves analysing the immune system and administering immune therapy, which may help reduce the risk of repeated miscarriages.

What A Fertility Expert Can Do To Help

If you have experienced a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages, whether consecutively, for the first time or after a successful pregnancy, you may want to seek the help of a fertility expert. Your consultant will try to determine the reasons for your miscarriage by looking at your medical history, running the appropriate tests and advising and administering treatment.

Dr Gorgy, Fertility Consultant and Co-Director at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, says, ‘We understand the devastation that a miscarriage can cause. Our experts are on hand to help you get to the root of the cause of your miscarriage, and help prevent further miscarriages in order for you to have a successful pregnancy.’

At The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, we are here with you every step of the way. To find out how we can help you, call our London clinic on 020 7224 1880.