Recurrent or late miscarriage can be very distressing. Experiencing several or late miscarriages is often devastating for couples. If you’ve experienced three or more early miscarriages or one or more late miscarriages, then arrange an appointment with a specialist to begin investigations into possible causes.
What is a miscarriage?
If you conceive, but lose your baby before 24 weeks, it is medically described as a miscarriage. If it occurs in the first three months of pregnancy – which is very common – it is known as an early miscarriage. In fact, up to 20% of pregnancies conclude with an early miscarriage.
What is a late miscarriage?
A late miscarriage happens when the baby dies between 14 and 24 weeks of pregnancy and it is also known as a second trimester or mid-trimester loss.
What is recurrent miscarriage?
If a miscarriage happens three or more times in a row, then it is known as recurrent miscarriage and this can impact one in 100 couples that are trying for a baby.
Unfortunately, there can sometimes be no reason found for recurrent or late miscarriage, although many couples go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future. There are some commonly identified factors that might be causing problems with the pregnancy:
- Age: if a woman is aged over 40, the chance of miscarriage is massively increased. The age of the father is also thought to be a factor
- Weak cervix: the weakness of the cervix is known to be a cause of late miscarriage and is not something that can be ascertained prior to pregnancy.
- APS: Antiphospholipid syndrome is a condition where your blood is more likely to clot and is thought to be a cause in some miscarriages
- Thrombophilia: a genetic condition where your blood is more likely to clot
- Other genetic factors: certain genetic abnormalities can result in miscarriage
- Foetus abnormalities: this might be a cause of a miscarriage but typically isn’t a factor in recurrent miscarriage
- Infection: severe or even mild infections can lead to a miscarriage, but its role in recurrent miscarriage isn’t wholly determined
- Other potential factors include the shape of the uterus, diabetes, thyroid conditions, autoimmune conditions and lifestyle factors such as being overweight, smoking and excessive drinking
Experiencing a previous miscarriage also makes the chance of recurrent miscarriage much higher and seeking a diagnosis is often the next step as it can give you advice on the likelihood and possible treatment options for a successful future pregnancy.
Investigations can include blood tests for genetic conditions such as APS or thrombophilia, tests for the shape of your uterus or tests for possible infections.
Who is our recurrent miscarriage service for?
This service is for women who have undergone recurrent miscarriages.
How often will you need to attend appointments?
All the investigations can be performed at the time of first consultation. A second follow-up appointment may be needed to discuss the results if they are abnormal. One of the blood tests, if abnormal, may in certain circumstances need to be repeated in 12 weeks’ time to confirm abnormality.
What does our recurrent miscarriage service involve?
Our recurrent miscarriage service involves a comprehensive appointment with one of our consultants. You are advised to bring all the information regarding previous miscarriages in the form of discharge summaries or scan reports which you might have. It will also be helpful to bring results of any blood tests you have had to avoid duplication.
An ultrasound scan to check uterine anatomy will be offered if you already have not had it done. Blood tests to check for different causes of recurrent miscarriage will be discussed and offered to you. Your partner’s blood may need to be tested based on your history and investigations.