Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks gestation. Miscarriages, and recurrent miscarriage, are highly traumatic, frustrating experiences which leave women and their partners despairing of their chances of having a baby.
Recurrent miscarriage is defined as three consecutive miscarriages. Sporadic pregnancy loss is a non-recurring miscarriage. Most sporadic pregnancy losses can be attributed to foetal chromosome abnormalities that occur at random. Fewer than 5% of women have two consecutive miscarriages and only 1%-2% suffer three or more miscarriages consecutively.
It’s not always possible to identify and treat recurrent pregnancy loss. Sometimes the cause of recurrent miscarriage is identifiable and treatable, leading to successful future pregnancies. Unfortunately, in most cases either a diagnosis cannot be reached or treatment isn’t possible.
We run a comprehensive pregnancy loss service, looking after women who have experienced miscarriages with or without fertility treatment. You will have a consultation with a specialist and based on your history and investigations, treatments may be available to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Investigations to identify the cause of recurrent miscarriage include:
Investigation of the uterine cavity
We use 3D saline infusion sonograms or hysteroscopy to identify problems such as congenital uterine abnormalities (eg uterine septum, unicornuate uterus), fibroids, polyps and scarred cavity. Hysteroscopy surgery is available to treat most of these conditions.
About 4% of miscarriages happen because of chromosomal problems affecting either the male or female partner. The affected person has no physical or health problems because of this, but abnormal eggs or sperm causes miscarriage. We use a blood test to diagnose this.
Hormonal tests check ovarian reserve and look for things like thyroid disorders and prolactin excess. Medical treatments are available for most of these conditions.
Haematological and immune tests
Women with certain blood clotting disorders are predisposed to recurrent early miscarriages, as well as preterm labour, small babies and pre-eclampsia. If you have a personal or family history suggestive of these conditions, we recommend testing early in your efforts to become pregnant.