A miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends within the first 23 weeks. A miscarriage is termed ‘early’ if it happens before 13 weeks of pregnancy and ‘late’ when it happens after this. It is estimated that miscarriages may affect as many as one in seven women who are aware they are pregnant, and many more who are not aware they have become pregnant. The chance of miscarriage increases with a woman’s age, affecting around 25% of pregnancies in women over 40.
The most common cause of miscarriage is a chromosomal abnormality within the embryo; this is something that cannot be detected within the laboratory. In many cases, women will have a perfectly normal pregnancy following miscarriage, but there are around 1% of women who suffer from recurrent miscarriage, defined as having three or more miscarriages one after the other. At the Agora, we can carry out a number of tests to find out what might be causing miscarriages.
What are the usual signs of a miscarriage?
Symptoms include bleeding from the vagina, as well as stomach pains and cramping (although light bleeding is common during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and may not mean you are having a miscarriage). If you think you may be having a miscarriage you should contact the Agora during normal office hours and we will arrange to see you straight away. However, if you are in pain, bleeding heavily, or worried that you may be having a miscarriage, and it is outside of normal working hours, we advise that you contact your own GP or go to the Accident & Emergency department at your local hospital as soon as possible.
What is the risk of miscarriage following fertility treatment?
The risk of miscarriage following fertility treatment is around the same as it is after natural conception. The clinic will arrange for you to have an early pregnancy ultrasound to check for any problems at around seven weeks (three weeks after your positive pregnancy test) following IVF treatment. However, you should contact us or your own GP immediately if you are worried about any aspect of your health.
How soon can I resume fertility treatment after a miscarriage?
Your period should return between two and six weeks after a miscarriage, but we would advise you to wait at least three months before starting fertility treatment again.
For more information, you can download our patient information leaflet about miscarriage.