Miscarriage is a common pregnancy occurrence, but there are pregnancy milestones that cause your risk to drop. Learn when your risk of miscarriage changes.
Miscarriage, the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy within the first 20 weeks, is a devastating, but very common occurrence. It's estimated that, 30-40 percent of all conceptions end in miscarriage, according to Helain Landy, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital. More than 80 percent of miscarriages happen in the first trimester of pregnancy. Sometimes, they happen so early in a pregnancy, that you don't yet know you're pregnant or you don't experience any of the common symptoms. These are called missed miscarriages.
The good news is that your risk of miscarriage goes way down at the end of the 1st trimester, according to Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG. So, once you reach 14 weeks, the risk of a miscarriage drops dramatically. Additionally, once you have had a first-trimester ultrasound to confirm that your fetus is the appropriate size and has a heartbeat, the risk of miscarriage drops as well.
You should know that most women (more than 85 percent) who miscarry are able to get pregnant again and give birth to healthy babies, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). 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.