Recurrent miscarriage can also be referred to as recurrent pregnancy loss, habitual abortion or multiple miscarriages.
Recurrent miscarriage is about 15-20%. Early losses that occur even before a missed period may be as high as 30-50%. In women who have a history of two or more previous losses, the risk increases to about 40%. The risk of miscarriage is increased with advancing maternal age. Evaluation should be instituted after 2 losses especially in the infertility population. About 5% of women will have at least 2 consecutive miscarriages while only 1% experience 3 or more.
If you are trying to get pregnant, recurrent miscarriages can be physically and emotionally difficult for you and your partner to handle.
The female reproductive system is made up of the following parts:
Each month an egg is released from an ovary and is taken up by the fallopian tube. If it gets fertilised by sperm, the embryo travels to the uterus and implants in the uterine membrane. From here, it develops into a baby.
Recurrent miscarriages can take a toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. It is usually associated with eager anticipation, hope and disappointment, followed by uncertainty, fear, anxiety and grief. You will also have to face the physical and emotional consequences of intense hormonal ups and downs.
Some of the causes of a recurrent miscarriage are:
Increasing maternal age is an independent risk factor for recurrent miscarriage. While you can have a 15% risk between ages 30 to 34 years, your risk can increase to 51% and 93% between the ages of 40 to 44 years and ?45 years, respectively.
The number of previous miscarriages is another determining factor for recurrent miscarriages; with the risk increasing to about 40% following three earlier pregnancy losses.
The symptoms of a miscarriage are:
Miscarriage can be of many types such as:
Your doctor may first review your medical, genetic, surgical and family history, and perform a thorough physical examination. If you have a high risk of genetic abnormalities, your doctor may order karyotyping of both parents. An ultrasound, saline ultrasound, MRI, hysteroscopy or hysterosalpingogram X-ray may be ordered to evaluate your uterus for abnormalities. Further tests such as amniocentesis (testing of the amniotic fluid), chorionic villus sampling (testing of the placenta) or preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD (egg and sperm are extracted, allowed to fuse in the lab and one cell of embryo is tested) may be ordered.