Miscarriage FAQ

How often do miscarriages occur?

Sources vary on the frequency of miscarriages. The March of Dimes reports that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; some estimates are as high as 1 in 3. For more information see the statistics page.

What causes a miscarriage?

When a baby is created, it takes half of its genes   from the mother’s egg (that ovulated that month) and the other half from the father’s sperm.  At the exact moment of conception, all of the genes  mix and come together. Sometimes errors occur when the genes  combine and important information is lost. This is a common cause of miscarriage, and about 50% of the time there is no explanation. For more detailed information see the causes of miscarriage page.

Could stress or working too hard have caused my miscarriage?

Many women experience stressful events during pregnancy, and they have perfectly healthy babies in spite of the trauma . Countless others continue their normally hurried work pace without slowing down, and while they may feel tired, they are not at risk of a miscarriage. See the myths of miscarriage.

Why do some doctors call miscarriages “abortions”? 

Do not confuse the word abortion  with the term that describes the elective procedure, which is called a “therapeutic abortion.” The word “abort” simply means “to end prematurely,” so abortion and miscarriage are medically interchangeable terms. Doctors refer to a miscarriage  as a “spontaneous abortion .”  

Will I ever be able to have a baby if I’ve suffered a miscarriage? 

Approximately 90% of women who have had one miscarriage, go on to have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby next time. 

I’ve had two miscarriages, what are my chances of having a healthy baby?

An estimated 60% of women who have suffered two miscarriages have a healthy subsequent pregnancy. Even for women who have three miscarriages in a row, there is more than a 50% chance of a healthy baby in the fourth pregnancy.

Is there anything I can do to increase my changes of having a healthy baby next time I become pregnant?

Avoiding possible causes of miscarriage when considering or planning for your next pregnancy is important. Especially focus on those that you can control such as quitting smoking , treating genital infections, refraining from recreational drug use , and controlling diabetes . For more see the causes of miscarriage.

My family thinks I should “be over” my miscarriage by now, but I’m still grieving. Is this normal?

There is no set time for grief to take place. As a parent, you never entirely get over the loss of your baby. However, it is generally noted that grief can last between 6 months and 4 years.  That does not mean that the pain is over when the grief is over, it means that you have been able to accept your loss and move toward healing. See the grief page for more.


Answers adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun © Copyright 2004.

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