Sad woman lying with her head in her partner's lap

Previous miscarriage

Miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week, is more common than most people realize. According to the Mayo Clinic, 10-20% of all reported pregnancies end in miscarriage. Although they can be difficult to cope with, the good news is that they usually do not impact your future chances of conceiving.

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the umbrella term for the unplanned loss of a pregnancy that usually occurs in the first trimester. The Mayo Clinic estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of all reported pregnancies end in miscarriage, though many women will experience one without ever knowing that they are pregnant.

Why do miscarriages happen?

Miscarriage can be difficult to cope with, and even more difficult to understand, as there are a wide range of circumstances that can lead to it. Physical trauma like a serious fall or car crash can cause the pregnancy to fail, as could a pre-existing condition like diabetes. Chromosomal abnormalities within the embryo are also responsible for many miscarriages, as they basically prevent the embryo from developing as it should. Unfortunately, not all miscarriages can be explained so easily, and it seems miscarriage may often be a tragically natural part of life.

How are my chances of getting pregnant again if I have had a previous miscarriage?

Although some women may have hormonal imbalances or other conditions that heighten the likelihood of miscarriage, most miscarriages are independent events linked to random chance. According to the Mayo Clinic, less than 5% of women will experience two consecutive miscarriages, and only about 1% will suffer three. If you believe you're more prone to miscarrying, your doctor can perform genetic tests, blood tests, or ultrasounds that can help determine whether your miscarriage was the result of a specific condition. However, doctors suggest that only women who have suffered multiple miscarriages take these tests, because the likelihood of consecutive failed pregnancies is so low. Though some couples may want to give it some time in between attempts because of the physical or emotional toll of miscarriage, there is no evidence that any waiting period is necessary before trying to conceive again.

Read more
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Pregnancy after miscarriage: What you need to know." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 3/14/2013. Web.
  • "HTSP 101: Everything You Want to Know About Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy." USAID. World Health Organization, n.d. Web.
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