It can be heartbreaking to miscarry one baby after another. Each new pregnancy brings both hope and anxiety. And each new loss may be harder to bear, especially if you feel that time is running out. The experience can place great strain on even the strongest relationships. You and your partner might react differently from each other and that can cause great tension. Family and friends may find it harder to support you with each miscarriage; they may even think you’re getting used to the loss and able to cope. And all the time there may be a sense that your life is on hold while you try – and try again – for a baby.

What is recurrent miscarriage?

Recurrent miscarriage means having three or more miscarriages in a row. It affects about one in every hundred couples trying for a baby. Sometimes a treatable cause can be found, and sometimes not. But in either case, most couples are more likely to have a successful pregnancy next time than to miscarry again.

Testing after recurrent miscarriage

If you have had three miscarriages in a row, you should be offered tests to try to find the cause. This should happen whether or not you already have one or more children. Testing is not usually offered after one or two early miscarriages (up to 14 weeks) because these are often due to chance. But you might be offered tests after two early miscarriages if you are in your late 30s or 40s or if it has taken you a long time to conceive. If you had a late (second trimester) miscarriage, where your baby died after 14 weeks of pregnancy, you should be offered tests after this loss.

Why does recurrent miscarriage happen?

Your risk of recurrent miscarriage is higher if:

  • You and your partner are older; the risk is highest if you are over 35 and your partner over 40;
  • You are very overweight. Being very underweight may also increase your risk. Each new pregnancy loss increases the risk of a further miscarriage. But even after three miscarriages, most couples will have a live baby next time.