A pregnancy that ends abruptly in miscarriage can be devastating, and may also bring up concerns about the prospect of future fertility. You may wonder, “will this happen again?” or, “was there anything I could have done to prevent this?” The unfortunate truth is that miscarriage is common. Approximately 20 percent of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 75% occurring within the first 12 weeks. However, the actual number is likely higher due to the fact that many women miscarry before they even know they are pregnant.

Fortunately, there is a bright side. Having one or more miscarriages does not mean you will be unable to carry a baby to term successfully.

What causes a miscarriage?

Approximately 50 percent of all miscarriages are the result of a genetic abnormality in the embryo.  In these cases, the miscarriage is nature’s way of preventing an abnormal birth. The rest may be caused by an anatomical, immunological, or hormonal issue, or for causes that remain unknown.

Will a miscarriage impact my future fertility?

In most cases, your chances of conceiving and successfully carrying a baby to term after a miscarriage are typically very good. When a pregnancy is lost early, a miscarriage is unlikely to create issues with the uterus that will impact future pregnancy. In some types of miscarriage, tissue must be removed through a procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D&C). As long as this procedure is performed properly, it should have no lasting impact on the mother’s uterus.

Can a miscarriage be prevented?

You can do very little to prevent a miscarriage in the first trimester. If you have known health concerns that may lead to miscarriage, make sure your doctor is following your pregnancy closely from the start. Once you are in your second or third trimester, your doctor may be able to help you avoid a possible pregnancy loss.

If you’ve experienced recurrent miscarriages (two or more miscarriages), we encourage you to seek medical support from a fertility specialist. Take control of your reproductive health to improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy. To learn more about miscarriages and fertility or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please contact the Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at Magee-Womens Hospital today.