Does a past miscarriage increase the chances of it happening again?

Q: I had a miscarriage during my last pregnancy. What are the chances of it happening again?

A: Miscarriage is a devastating, but very common, pregnancy occurrence. You should know that most women (more than 85 percent) who miscarry are able to get pregnant again and give birth to healthy babies. Since most miscarriages occur totally randomly, having one does not increase your risk of experiencing a subsequent pregnancy loss. Your chance of miscarrying again is about the same as that of any other mom-to-be -- about 15 percent for most women under 35 (miscarriage risk increases with maternal age).

But even after two miscarriages, your risk of having a third only goes up slightly -- and many doctors won't start testing for health conditions that affect miscarriage (like uterine problems, hormone imbalances, or chronic medical conditions) until after you've had two or three. Research shows that nearly 75 percent of women who've had three miscarriages in a row -- rare as that is -- go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies.

Copyright 2009

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