Recurrent miscarriage

Key Points

  • A miscarriage is the early loss of a pregnancy.
  • Recurrent miscarriage is when this happens three or more times.
  • Around 1 woman in every 100 has recurrent miscarriages.
  • Most couples who have had recurrent miscarriages still have a good chance of a successful birth in future.
  • If you have had recurrent miscarriages, you may be offered blood tests and/or a pelvic ultrasound scan to try to identify the reason for them.
  • In spite of careful investigations, it is often not possible to find the reason for recurrent miscarriages.
  • Your doctors will not be able to tell you for sure what will happen if you become pregnant again.

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About this information

This information is for women and couples who have had three or more miscarriages. It is based on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG, London) guideline The Management of Recurrent Miscarriage (last revised in May 2003).
It tells you:

  • What we know about the reasons for recurrent miscarriages
  • About recommendations the guideline makes on the most effective ways of investigating and treating women who have recurrent miscarriages.

It aims to help you and your doctor make the best decisions about your care. It is not meant to replace advice from a doctor about your own situation.

It does not look at reasons or treatment for single miscarriages.

  • Some of the recommendations here may not apply to you; this could be because of some other illness you have, your general health, your wishes, or some or all of these things. If you think the treatment or care you get does not match what we describe here, talk about it with your doctor or with someone else in your healthcare team.

What is recurrent miscarriage?

A miscarriage is when you lose a pregnancy at some point in the first 23 weeks. When this happens three or more times doctors call this recurrent miscarriage. For women and their partners it is a very distressing problem.

Around one woman in every 100 has recurrent miscarriages. This is about three times more than you would expect to happen just by chance, so it seems that for some women there must be a specific reason for their losses. For others, however, no underlying problem can be identified; their repeated miscarriages may be due to chance alone.

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