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Miscarriage: what it is, why it happens, and how it can affect future pregnancies

According to the Mayo Clinic, 10-20% of all reported pregnancies end in miscarriage, though many individuals will experience one without ever knowing that they’re pregnant.

What’s a miscarriage?

Miscarriage, which is the unplanned loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week, is more common than most people realize. Although miscarriages can be challenging to cope with and hard to make sense of, the good news is that they usually do not impact future chances of conceiving.

Why do they happen?

There are a wide range of circumstances that can lead to miscarriage. Physical trauma like a serious fall or car crash can cause a 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. But, unfortunately, not all miscarriages can be explained so easily, and it seems miscarriage may often be a natural part of life.

What are the chances of getting pregnant again if you’ve had a previous miscarriage?

Although some people 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 people will experience two consecutive miscarriages, and only about 1% will suffer three. If an individual believes they may be more prone to miscarrying, their doctor can perform genetic tests, blood tests, or ultrasounds that can help determine whether a miscarriage was the result of a specific condition. However, doctors suggest that only individuals who have suffered multiple miscarriages take these tests, because the likelihood of consecutive failed pregnancies is so low. Though some couples who are TTC and have suffered a miscarriage may want to give it some time in between attempts to conceive 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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