What Are the Chances of Problems in a Subsequent Pregnancy?

Subsequent Pregnancies Are Usually Successful

pregnant woman standing in doctor's office waiting room
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If you've had a miscarriage, your chances of having problems with your next pregnancy are small. It's very likely your miscarriage was a one-time occurrence and your future pregnancies will be healthy and full term. Only 1 percent of women will have two or more miscarriages. 

Deciding when to try again is a personal decision and depends on where you are in the coping process. While some couples are afraid and want to wait a while, others prefer to try again as soon as possible.

Be patient because you and your partner may not experience the stages of grief for the same amount of time and in the same way.

Regardless of where you fall on the ready-to-try-again continuum, you are probably curious about what to expect in your next pregnancy as far as odds of success and complications.

Are Miscarriages Common?

Fifteen to 20 percent of recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage and 85 percent of those happen in the first trimester, which is the first through twelfth weeks. However, many miscarriages go unreported because a significant number occur before you realize you're pregnant and uninsured women in the U.S. might not seek medical treatment. 

Are Recurring Miscarriages Common?

The good news is at least 85 percent of women who had a miscarriage have a successful pregnancy the next time. Even if you've experienced loss two or three times, you have a 75 percent chance of success in a subsequent pregnancy.

Recurrent pregnancy loss means you've had two or more miscarriages and only 1 percent of women suffer from this condition. However, 50 to 75 percent of women with repeated miscarriages never find a cause.

Risk Factors for Miscarriage

If you have had one first-trimester miscarriage without a known cause (or if you have a confirmation that the cause was random chromosomal abnormalities), you don't face any higher risk for complications in your next pregnancy when compared to women who are pregnant for the first time.

In general, however, your risk for having one or more miscarriages depends on a variety of factors, including your age, your lifestyle, and your body, such as:

  • being older than 35
  • smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol
  • previous uterine surgery
  • uterus abnormalities
  • a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 increases your risk of miscarriage by 25 percent

Pre-existing conditions can also increase your risk of miscarriage and include:

  • uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
  • antiphospholipid syndrome
  • polycystic ovary syndrome

How Can I Decrease My Risk for Miscarriage?

The good news is you probably don't need to reduce your risk because the odds are heavily in your favor you will not have a miscarriage the second time. The bad news is, you usually can't take make yourself feel better by taking proactive steps to prevent another loss

To increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy, get down to a healthy weight, quit smoking and don't drink alcohol. Start eating healthier food and talk to your clinician about starting prenatal vitamins before conception.

 

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, consult your clinician about how to better manage your condition.

Sources:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Repeated Miscarriage (2013)

American Pregnancy Association: After a Miscarriage - Getting Pregnant Again (2015)

Bhattacharya, et al. "Does miscarriage in an initial pregnancy lead to adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes in the next continuing pregnancy?" BJOG Oct 2008.

Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy after miscarriage - What you need to know (2016)

Tommys.org, "Miscarriage statistics." (2014)

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