Recurrent Miscarriage

For a person to give birth to a healthy baby, there are millions of processes which all have to go right, making birth a truly miraculous event. Life can be fragile and any slight change in the conditions or genetic make-up of a baby can result in a miscarriage. Miscarriage is deeply upsetting and when it occurs multiple times, it can really take a toll, both physically and mentally.

Unfortunately there are not always clear reasons why miscarriages happen. Around 1 in 5 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Recurrent miscarriage is defined in the UK as having 3 miscarriages in a row (in Europe the definition relates to 2 consecutive miscarriages). Although rare, around 1 in 100 women will sadly experience recurrent miscarriage and it tends to be more common amongst older women.

At The Surrey Park Clinic, we would investigate causes of miscarriages after 2 consecutive miscarriages.

What are the main causes of recurrent miscarriages?

It is not always clear why recurrent miscarriages occur. A reason is usually identified for around half the people experiencing recurrent miscarriage and the causes usually relate to:

  1. a genetic condition within the embryo making it not viable or
  2. the conditions within the womb are not suitable.

Here are some of the main causes of recurrent miscarriage:

  • Blood Clotting conditions e.g Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). This is an abnormality of the immune system which affects the blood. It results in blood being more likely than normal to clot (a thrombophilia). These unwanted blood clots (called thromboses) can affect the blood supply to the placenta and developing baby. About 5 to 20 out of every 100 women with recurrent miscarriage have APS.
  • Womb/Uterus Abnormalities account for around 19 out of every 100 women experiencing multiple miscarriages. These include scarring, inflammation, infection, lumps (polyps or fibroids). An unusual shaped womb can also cause recurrent miscarriages.
  • Cervical insufficiency: During labour, a woman’s cervix normally opens to enable delivery of the baby. Some women find their cervix opens too early which can result in a miscarriage usually in the second trimester of pregnancy.
  • Parental Gene or Chromosome Abnormalities: Sometimes parents have mild abnormalities of their chromosomes, which do not affect the parent. When combined or divided to create a baby, these mild abnormalities can cause a major chromosome problem for the developing baby which may result in miscarriage.
  • Hormone problems: Lacking the right levels of hormones needed for pregnancy can be another cause of recurrent miscarriage, especially abnormalities in thyroid hormones.
  • Lifestyle factors: smoking, drinking excessive alcohol regularly or being very overweight  or underweight can increase the risk of  miscarriages.

What tests will I need?

At The Surrey Park Clinic you would have a consultation with one of our specialist Consultants who would review your medical and family history. They would then recommend the appropriate tests for your individual situation to understand the cause of the recurrent miscarriages. These may include blood tests for clotting abnormalities, hormone tests, pelvic ultrasound scans and sometimes tests on your partner too. You will have a meeting to discuss the results and any treatment will be tailored to your specific circumstances.

Usually a cause can be detected for half of recurrent miscarriages. If there is no medical cause for the miscarriages, try not to be disheartened, there is a very good chance you will go on to have a full-term pregnancy. Our team will provide close support and surveillance and we have counsellors and psychotherapists available to support you should you wish to access these services.

What is the outlook for future pregnancies?

It is very difficult to give any guarantees but if there is a clear medical reason for the recurrent miscarriages, then appropriate treatment should greatly improve your chances of carrying a baby to term.

If there is no identifiable cause then statistics show that 3 out of 4 women will go on to have a live born baby. This rate does decline however if you are older and the more miscarriages you have experienced.

Next Steps

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our fertility and miscarriage specialists, then please call or follow the link below to book an initial consultation.

Book an Appointment

Many of our appointments including scans, blood tests, menopause or gynaecological consultations are available to book on-line by following this link. Alternatively, for fertility and all other appointments, please call 01483 454016