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Miscarriage and Statistics UK

  • It is estimated that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  • Among women who know they are pregnant, it is estimated that 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  • The majority of miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (3 in every 4 miscarriages happen during this period).
  • About 1 in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages (three or more in a row). More than 60% of these women go on to have a successful pregnancy.

Can miscarriages be prevented?
The majority of miscarriages cannot be prevented. In most cases the cause of a miscarriage is unknown. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a miscarriage. Leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding smoking, avoiding alcohol and avoiding using drugs while pregnant or planning a pregnancy can help. Being a healthy weight before getting pregnant, eating a healthy diet and reducing your risk of infection can also help.

What is a recurrent miscarriage?
If you have had 3 or more miscarriages in a row it is known as recurrent miscarriage. If you have recurrent miscarriages then medical staff will offer you some tests. The tests may help you to understand why you miscarried. However in 50 % of cases a reason will not be found. Even if a reason is found it may not be something that can be treated. However understanding why you have repeated miscarriages may help.

What should I do if the early pregnancy service is closed and I have symptoms of a miscarriage?
Approximately 1 in 5 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. Some women benefit from treatment but others don’t need it. Your GP will refer you if required to the early pregnancy assessment service. The early pregnancy assessment service will advise, what is best for you. However, in some instances a miscarriage can result in complications which require urgent treatment. If you have any of the following symptoms and the early pregnancy service is closed you should contact your nearest emergency department (Accident and Emergency).

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
    If you have bleeding that becomes very heavy(soaking more than one maternity-sized pad in an hour), or you feel unwell or faint, and are unable to cope with the bleeding. This means you are losing too much blood.
  • Abdominal pain
    You have one-sided pain or tenderness in your tummy, pelvis or in your shoulder tip, feel dizzy, have a fast heartbeat, or have pain when you go to the toilet.These may be signs of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy needs urgent treatment to protect your health.
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge / fever/ abdominal pain
    You feel feverish and generally unwell, as if you have flu, have pain in your tummy which is getting worse, or your vaginal discharge smells bad.These may be symptoms of an infection.


Last Updated: 31 January 2019