Miscarriages, how common are they?
Updated: Mar 28
To have a miscarriage can be a physically and psychologically hard experience, and therefore a sensitive topic to touch upon. However, understanding why it happens, how common it is and learning more about it might help destigmatize it and, hopefully, bring you some ease of mind.
So how common is it, really?
About 20 out of 100 pregnancies will end up in miscarriage, most of these before week 12.
What causes it?
Most miscarriages are caused by genetic reasons or when something goes wrong in the development from an embryo to a fetus and the development of the fetus.
Age is an important factor because the eggs are older. After the age of 40, many of the eggs are overdue in terms of quality and there are fewer of the good eggs. This leads to an increased risk of miscarriage, decreased chance of getting pregnant and having an average pregnancy.
Some women have repeated miscarriages, which means 3 or more. About 1 % of all fertile women have repeated miscarriage.
Miscarriages can appear in different ways
Most commonly, during a miscarriage, a woman will get bleedings and cramps, similar or heavier than a usual period bleeding.
It can also be only small, brownish bleedings.
Sometimes those bleedings can be so intense that it actually becomes dangerous. If your bleeding is so heavy that it becomes impossible to leave the toilet or the pads get over soaked in a short time, an immediate medical check-up is necessary. And in worst-case scenarios, the bleedings will keep ongoing for weeks. This also needs medical attention and possibly treatment. During this time and a little after, it’s important to keep good hygiene, not take baths, only showers, and if you wish to have intercourse, use a condom to keep infections away.
Some can be more of a silent kind. These ones don’t show any bleeding, and you might have no idea that the fetus has stopped growing, or you might have a feeling that something isn't right, maybe your start noticing that the pregnancy symptoms such as tender breasts or nausea suddenly stop.
It is not possible to prevent miscarriages. If the fetus heartbeat has stopped and it is no longer developing, there is no return and no treatment can heal it.
“It is possible to get pregnant soon after a miscarriage. The female body usually heals quickly and hormones will get back to normal as soon as there is no pregnancy material left in the uterus.”
Those with an increased risk during pregnancy are:
older than 30 years old, the older, the higher risk;
medical conditions; e.g.: diabetes
malformations or fibroids in the uterus;
infections like German measles/Rubella, toxoplasmosis or listeria;
If one had multiple pregnancies before;
You won’t get miscarriages from:
Pregnancy journeys are all different and it might take some unexpected turns, but having a miscarriage is not the end of the line. It is possible to get pregnant soon after. The female body usually heals quickly and hormones will get back to normal as soon as there is no pregnancy material left in the uterus. If you're going through a miscarriage, stay close to loved ones and understand that it does not ruin your chances of getting pregnant, and that it happens.
Stay informed, stay in control.