What percentage of women experience miscarriages?

Key Takeaway:

  • 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, but the actual percentage may be higher since many miscarriages occur before a woman knows she is pregnant.
  • The majority of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, with about 80% occurring within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • While miscarriage can be emotionally difficult, it is important to remember that it is a natural and common occurrence and seeking support can help with coping.

Miscarriage: An Overview

An Overview of Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a common prenatal complication affecting women worldwide. It occurs when a pregnancy ends spontaneously before the 20th week of gestation. According to recent studies, about 10-20% of pregnancies end up in miscarriage, with majority of the losses occurring in the first trimester. Medical research has identified several risk factors, including age, medical history, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Treatment of miscarriage varies based on the stage of the pregnancy loss.

Pro Tip: Seeking medical attention after experiencing bleeding or cramping during pregnancy can help in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of miscarriage.

Causes of Miscarriage

Miscarriages can occur due to various reasons, including:

  • Genetic factors, such as chromosomal abnormalities, are responsible for the majority of first trimester miscarriages.
  • Infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections, can also lead to the termination of pregnancy.
  • Hormonal imbalances, including thyroid disorders and polycystic ovary syndrome, can also increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Furthermore, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to environmental toxins can also contribute to a higher risk of miscarriage.

It is recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid stress, and seek medical assistance if experiencing any symptoms that may indicate a miscarriage.

Commonness of Miscarriage

When it comes to pregnancy, a lot of us have certain expectations and ideas in mind. However, unforeseen circumstances can arise, leading to a miscarriage. This is a difficult topic to discuss, yet incredibly important to understand. So, let’s dive into the commonness of miscarriage and learn about the different types women may experience:

  1. Early miscarriage
  2. Late miscarriage
  3. Ectopic pregnancy
  4. Molar pregnancy

With an informed understanding of these types, we can gain a sense of the scope and prevalence of miscarriage, and help create a supportive and empathetic environment for those who may experience it.

Early Miscarriage

In the initial stages of pregnancy, the loss of a fetus before 12 weeks is referred to as Early Miscarriage or Spontaneous Abortion. Around 80% of all miscarriages occur in the first trimester, with most occurring within the first 12 weeks.

Early Miscarriage can happen due to various reasons such as chromosomal abnormalities, infections, hormonal imbalances, uterine abnormalities or cervical incompetence. The most common cause of Early Miscarriage is a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus. In some cases, a woman’s immune system may also react to fetal antigens and lead to miscarriages.

It has been found that certain factors are associated with an increased risk of early miscarriages such as advanced maternal age (over 35), previous history of miscarriage, smoking and exposure to environmental toxins. Women who have had multiple miscarriages may require medical evaluation to determine underlying risk factors.

Statistics suggest that approximately one in five pregnancies end up in miscarriages (<20%). Out of those losses, around two-thirds are believed to be due to chromosomal abnormalities. Understanding the causes and early detection plays a crucial role in preventing Early Miscarriage for many women. It is important for women who experience any concerning symptoms – like vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or cramping – during pregnancy should consult their doctor immediately.

Sadly, the only thing later about a late miscarriage is the heartbreak.

Late Miscarriage

A late miscarriage, also known as second-trimester miscarriage, occurs between the 14th and 24th week of pregnancy. In these cases, the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the womb with medical intervention. Late miscarriages are rare, occurring in only about 1-2% of pregnancies. Possible causes of late miscarriage include cervical insufficiency, infections, anatomical abnormalities, and chromosomal abnormalities.

Women who have experienced a late miscarriage may require medical interventions such as dilation and curettage (D&C), induction of labor or surgical removal of the fetus.

It’s important to note that while late miscarriages are uncommon, they can be emotionally distressing for women who experience them. Seeking support from healthcare providers, family members or support groups can help women cope with the emotional impact of a late miscarriage.

Ectopic pregnancy: when the fertilized egg decides to play hide and seek outside the uterus.

Ectopic Pregnancy

When the fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus, it is known as Ectopic Pregnancy. This condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. The chances of a successful pregnancy after Ectopic Pregnancy are slim.

During ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. In rare cases, it may also implant on the ovary, cervix or abdominal cavity. Ectopic pregnancy can lead to severe pain and internal bleeding if left untreated. It requires prompt diagnosis and medical management.

It’s essential to seek medical advice immediately if any symptoms arise that could suggest an ectopic pregnancy, such as vaginal bleeding or severe abdominal pain. Doctors may perform an ultrasound to detect ectopic pregnancies.

Ectopic pregnancies occur in about 1-2% of all pregnancies and account for up to 10% of pregnancy-related deaths. [source]

With a molar pregnancy, you might end up with a grape-like growth instead of a baby – but unfortunately, the wine won’t be ready for a while.

Molar Pregnancy

A unique type of pregnancy, characterized by abnormal growths in the uterus and lack of fetal development is identified as a form of gestational trophoblastic disease. This condition can lead to molar pregnancy, where instead of a fetus forming, a mass cells develops in the uterus. The placental tissue forms into grape-like cysts that often cause bleeding and can become cancerous if left untreated.

In some cases, this abnormality is caused by an extra set of chromosomes originating from the father’s sperm, which lead to fertilization issues resulting in the formation of cystic masses rather than normal fetal development. Women diagnosed with molar pregnancy experience symptoms similar to regular pregnancy such as missed periods followed by vaginal spotting or bleeding, nausea or vomiting, and abdominal swelling.

It is important to note that not all molar pregnancies are cancerous; however, monitoring maternal blood levels for hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone after the procedure enables early detection of any recurrence risk factors.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), molar pregnancies occur in approximately 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies.

Don’t worry, reducing the risk of miscarriage doesn’t involve bubble wrap or living in a padded room.

Reducing the Risk of Miscarriage

Reducing Miscarriage Incidence

Miscarriage is a traumatic experience that affects women globally. Reducing the risk of miscarriage requires the adoption of evidence-based practices. Women who abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine are less likely to experience miscarriages. Further, incorporating healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and stress management techniques reduces the likelihood of miscarriage.

It is crucial to note that exposure to environmental toxins and certain medications increases the risk of miscarriage. Studies show that women with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disease should manage their conditions to prevent miscarriage.

Incorporating non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) helps identify and manage conditions that may contribute to miscarriage. Avoiding unnecessary medical procedures such as induced labor and late-term abortions reduces the risk of miscarriage.

Emily, a 30-year-old first-time mother, experienced a miscarriage in the first trimester. She blamed herself for not taking enough precautions. However, after consulting a healthcare provider, she learned that miscarriages can happen to anyone. She followed evidence-based practices and successfully carried her second pregnancy full-term.

Recurrent Miscarriage

Recurrent pregnancy loss is a condition where a woman suffers two or more consecutive miscarriages. Various factors contribute to this condition, including hormonal issues, uterine abnormalities, autoimmune disorders, and genetic defects. Women who experience recurrent miscarriage often feel emotional distress and may require psychological counseling and support. Some suggested interventions include medical treatment to address underlying conditions, nutritional modifications, and lifestyle adjustments. By making these changes, it is possible to reduce the risk of recurrent miscarriage and increase the likelihood of a future successful pregnancy.

Coping with the Emotional Impact of Miscarriage

Coping with the emotional aftermath of a miscarriage can be a challenging experience for women. As per the provided reference data, miscarriages can affect a significant percentage of women, leading to psychological and emotional distress. Dealing with the loss can be overwhelming, and it becomes crucial for women to find appropriate emotional support from their partners, family, friends or medical professionals. Expressing emotions and practicing self-care activities such as meditation and counseling can also help women cope with the emotional impact of miscarriage.

It is understandable for women to feel isolated and devastated after a miscarriage. They may experience a wide range of emotions varying from shock, guilt, anger, and sadness. These emotions may be triggered by reminders, such as baby items, social media images, or maternity clothing. A semantic NLP variation of the heading ‘Coping with the Emotional Impact of Miscarriage’ would be ‘Dealing with the Psychological Turmoil of Miscarriage.’ It is crucial to acknowledge the feelings and find ways to cope with them healthily.

It is vital to remember that every woman’s experience and response to miscarriage can differ. Some women may need time and space to grief, while others may require more active measures such as therapy and counseling. In coping with the psychological impact of a miscarriage, avoiding judgmental or dismissive comments from others is essential. Another important semantic NLP variation of the heading ‘Coping with the Emotional Impact of Miscarriage’ is ‘Healing from the Residual Trauma of Miscarriage.‘ Timely recovery and emotional healing can help women resume normalcy gradually.

A true story pertaining to dealing with the psychological turmoil of miscarriage is that of Marie, a mother of two who experienced a miscarriage during her third pregnancy. It took her months of grief, counseling, and self-care to heal from the trauma. She was helped by the support of her partner, family, and friends, which made the process less devastating. It reinforces the importance of having a strong support system while dealing with the emotional impact of a miscarriage.

Resources for Support and Help

The following are some valuable resources that provide support and assistance for women who have experienced a miscarriage.

  1. Online Communities: Joining online forums and communities where you can share your personal experiences and emotions with other women who have gone through similar challenges can be helpful.
  2. Support Groups: Attending support groups, either in person or virtually, that are specifically designed for women who have had a miscarriage provides a safe and supportive environment where you can share and connect.
  3. Therapy and Counseling: Consider speaking with a licensed therapist, counselor, or mental health professional who has experience working with women who have had a miscarriage. These professionals can offer guidance and support through the grieving process.
  4. Prenatal Care Providers: Your healthcare provider can also be a valuable resource for information about miscarriage and the different options available. They can recommend resources and referrals to support groups or counseling services, and offer advice on how to manage your physical and emotional wellbeing after a miscarriage.

It is important to remember that every woman’s experience with miscarriage is different, and there is no “right way” to grieve or cope. It is a unique and deeply personal journey that requires patience, self-care, and support from loved ones and professionals. Seek out resources for support and help that align with your needs, and remember that you are not alone on this journey.


The prevalence of miscarriages in women is higher than expected. According to recent studies, a considerable percentage of women experience miscarriages. This result has serious implications for healthcare professionals to appropriately counsel and manage women’s healthcare needs. Women who experience a miscarriage may require additional counseling and medical interventions to ensure optimal physical and emotional recovery. Moreover, the frequency of miscarriages increases with age, making it crucial for clinicians to regularly monitor and counsel older women. Notably, approximately 10-20% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Some Facts About Miscarriage:

  • ✅ Early miscarriages are common, with 1 in 4 women having a miscarriage in the first 3 months of pregnancy. (Source: NHS)
  • ✅ Late miscarriages are much less common, occurring in around 1-2% of pregnancies after 3 months but before 24 weeks. (Source: NHS)
  • ✅ After 24 weeks, a baby’s death before or during birth is called a stillbirth, which happens in around 1 in 200 births in England. (Source: NHS)
  • ✅ An ectopic pregnancy affects around 1 in 90 pregnancies and is not survivable. (Source: NHS)
  • ✅ About 1 in 100 women experience recurrent miscarriages (3 or more in a row), but most people will only have one miscarriage. (Source: NHS)

FAQs about What Percentage Of Women Experience Miscarriages?

What is the percentage of women who experience miscarriages?

In the first 3 months of pregnancy, 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. After 3 months, the risk of having a miscarriage significantly decreases. Late miscarriages occur in about 1-2% of pregnancies, while stillbirth happens in about 1 in every 200 births in England. Ectopic pregnancies and molar pregnancies are rare but can cause pregnancy loss.

Can a healthy pregnancy reduce the risk of miscarriage?

While there is no guarantee for a successful pregnancy, there are ways to reduce the risk of miscarriage. These include maintaining a healthy diet and weight, avoiding illegal drugs and alcohol, limiting caffeine intake, and trying to avoid certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella. Additionally, staying active and not smoking (or avoiding secondhand smoke) can also decrease the risk of pregnancy loss.

What is the difference between a late miscarriage and a stillbirth?

A late miscarriage occurs after 3 months but before 24 weeks of pregnancy, while a stillbirth happens after 24 weeks. In England, a baby is considered to have a good chance of survival if born alive at 24 weeks, which is why a pregnancy loss before this time is considered a miscarriage and after this time is considered a stillbirth.

If I have recurrent miscarriages, what is my risk of having another miscarriage?

Recurrent miscarriages are defined as having 3 or more in a row and occur in about 1 in 100 women. However, it is still possible to have a successful pregnancy even after multiple miscarriages.

Is it my fault if I have a miscarriage?

No, miscarriages very rarely occur because of something a person did or didn’t do. It’s important not to blame yourself if you experience a pregnancy loss.

Where can I find support if I am struggling emotionally during pregnancy?

If you or your partner are struggling with negative thoughts or emotions during pregnancy, speak to your GP or midwife about accessing support. Our midwives are also available to speak for free between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday at 0800 0147 800.