Sadly, miscarriage is fairly common. It is estimated that around one in eight pregnancies will end in miscarriage amongst women who are aware they are pregnant. Many more miscarriages occur before someone is even aware they’re pregnant. But is there a link when it comes to miscarriage and fertility?

Pregnancy after miscarriage

For someone who has had a previous miscarriage, the risk of having another one is slightly higher at one in five. But most women who have had a miscarriage, or even more than one, go on to have a healthy pregnancy if they keep trying.

If you’ve had three or more miscarriages, this is known as ‘recurrent miscarriage’, and could be a sign that you have an existing condition that is affecting your fertility.

What causes miscarriage?

Problems that can cause recurrent miscarriage include issues with blood clotting (antiphospholipid syndrome, also known as Hughes syndrome); genetic problems (chromosomal abnormalities), and cervical weakness.

Other conditions may be associated with recurrent miscarriage, although there isn’t enough research to confirm they can actually cause it. These include an unusually shaped womb; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); fibroids; immune system issues, and infections, such as rubella, listeria, toxoplasmosis and sexually transmitted infections.

Many of these conditions are treatable. So even if they are impacting your fertility, pregnancy after miscarriage could still be possible with the right treatment.

Does miscarriage impact fertility in the long run?

When exploring the subject of miscarriage and fertility, it is important to remember that miscarriage doesn’t cause infertility. It’s more a case of whether recurrent miscarriage could indicate an underlying fertility issue.

For women who have been through recurrent miscarriages, a consultation with a fertility specialist is recommended. Blood tests, genetic screening, ultrasounds, hormone tests, an MRI scan or biopsy of the womb lining may be suggested to help find underlying reasons why it has not been possible to carry a pregnancy to full term.

Depending on the results of the tests, it may be that the solution is a simple one. For example, women with antiphospholipid syndrome may be able to reduce their risk of miscarriage with a daily treatment of low dose aspirin and heparin.

Is there a way to prevent miscarriage?

The causes of miscarriage are very often not evident, so there is sadly nothing that can be done to directly prevent it. However, there are a few ways to reduce some of the risk factors.

Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid for at least a month before trying to conceive may reduce the risk of early miscarriage, as well as brain and spine defects within the developing child. Whilst this recommendation isn’t related directly to pregnancy after miscarriage, following a healthy lifestyle and cutting out the likes of alcohol and nicotine and reducing caffeine intake can all help contribute to a healthier pregnancy generally.

Miscarriage, especially recurrent miscarriage, can be difficult to come to terms with. But even when the cause is not clear, there is still a good chance of having a successful pregnancy. Women with a history of unexplained recurrent miscarriage have a 75% chance of giving birth to a healthy baby.

Are you looking for advice on miscarriage and fertility?

If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about your personal experience with miscarriage and fertility, our highly experienced and friendly team are ready to help you.

Hull & East Riding Fertility is a private fertility clinic founded in 1986. We are East Yorkshire’s only registered clinic providing specialist infertility investigations and personalised treatment, both for self-funded and NHS patients. We also offer a range of investigatory and fertility treatment planning services at our satellite fertility clinics in York. For self-funding patients, a GP referral isn’t necessary, although all patients are entitled to basic NHS funded fertility investigations.

We would be delighted to welcome you at any of our clinics. Please get in touch to let us know how we can help you.