Fertility Answers - Helping Build Families

Recurrent Miscarriage

Hope after recurrent miscarriage

About 15% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage–a heartbreaking statistic for hopeful parents. But when pregnancy loss happens multiple times in a row, there could be an unseen fertility issue with either the male or female partner. Our Louisiana infertility physicians specialize in accurate diagnosis and treatment of recurrent miscarriage, offering hope to women and couples who are eager to have a successful pregnancy and baby.

The most common cause of miscarriage is a problem with gene crossover at the time of conception. Such genetic mistakes occur by chance, and no fertility treatment can prevent them. While such a loss can be difficult to accept, it’s important to remember that miscarriage is nature’s way of ensuring that babies are born with the capacity to live long, healthy lives.

Women often miscarry without even realizing they were pregnant. About half of fertilized eggs stop developing before they have a chance to implant in the uterine lining. If they do implant and pregnancy is confirmed early with sensitive hormone tests, as many as 60% of cases end in miscarriage, which often feels just like a heavy period. The risk of miscarriage decreases dramatically after the eighth week of pregnancy.

With the miscarriage rate so high, it’s not uncommon for women to have two early miscarriages that happen by chance. In fact, about one in every 36 women will have two miscarriages in their lives that are unrelated to any fertility issues. Miscarriage may be more common after a previous pregnancy loss, or less common after one or more normal pregnancies.

Recurrent miscarriage is diagnosed when a woman loses two or more clinical pregnancies consecutively, before 20 weeks of gestation.

Causes of recurrent miscarriage

If you are diagnosed with recurrent miscarriage, our Louisiana infertility physicians will order a specific set of fertility tests to determine the cause and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to improve your chances of a successful pregnancy.

Recurrent miscarriages have many causes.

  • Genetic problems causing fetal abnormalities may be related to abnormal genes coming from one or both partners.
  • Abnormal hormone levels may prevent normal development of the uterine lining, disrupting implantation or embryonic development.
  • Structural issues with the female reproductive organs, such as an abnormally shaped uterus, a uterine septum or fibroids, may make it difficult for embryos to implant and grow.
  • A cervix that does not stay closed as the baby grows heavier can result in recurrent miscarriage.
  • Infections, such as rubella (German measles), herpes simplex and chlamydia, may affect fetal development.
  • Environmental toxins, including tobacco, caffeine and alcohol, have been linked to pregnancy loss.
  • Immune system issues can cause miscarriage or inhibit the body’s normal protection of a growing embryo.
  • Clotting disorders can affect a developing pregnancy and cause a miscarriage. Such disorders can be inherited, which means they are passed down from parents, or acquired, which means they develop on their own.
  • Women who have thyroid issues, adrenal gland issues or diabetes may also be at higher risk for recurrent miscarriage, as these conditions are often related to hormonal imbalances.

In some cases, no reason for recurrent miscarriage can be identified. Thankfully, many of these causes of miscarriage can be successfully treated, helping women go on to have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. The key to becoming pregnant and staying pregnant is understanding the causes of recurrent miscarriage so that your fertility specialist can target those specific factors with a customized treatment plan designed just for you.

Time to see a specialist

If you have experienced two or more miscarriages, don’t wait to get help. And take heart: About 60% of women who have recurrent miscarriage will go on to have a successful pregnancy the next time, even without any testing or treatment.

To learn more about recurrent miscarriage, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our Louisiana infertility physicians.