Updated February 2014

Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy statistics

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks. The main sign of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding. This may be followed by cramping and pain in the lower abdomen [1]. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tubes instead of in the womb. Sometimes an ectopic pregnancy can also develop in the abdominal cavity. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious life-threatening condition and will end in miscarriage [1].

  • It is difficult to know exactly how many miscarriages take place because often a miscarriage occurs before the mother realises she is pregnant. However, it is estimated that a miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of recognised pregnancies, with 85% of spontaneous miscarriages occurring in the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12) [2]. In the UK, early pregnancy loss accounts for over 50,000 admissions annually [2].
  • Habitual or recurrent miscarriage consists of three or more consecutive miscarriages [2]; 1 in 100 women will experience recurrent miscarriage [3].
  • Risk factors include: age (miscarriage is most frequent in women aged > 35 years), smoking, excess alcohol intake (even low amounts), illicit drug use, uterine surgery or abnormalities, connective tissue disorders (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus) and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus [2].
  • A woman with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more has a 25% (1:4) more risk of having a miscarriage that a woman with a normal BMI for her height [4].
  • From a mental health point of view, up to and 1 in 5 women who experience miscarriage have anxiety levels similar to people attending psychiatric outpatient services, and up to one-third of women attending specialist clinics as a result of miscarriage are clinically depressed [5].

England and Wales

  • Between 2012 and 2013, there were 39,800 miscarriages that led to a hospital stay (a rate of 5.9 miscarriages per 100 deliveries) [6]. This is a drop from 42,538 miscarriages leading to a hospital stay in 2011-2012 (6.4 miscarriages in every 100 deliveries) [7].
  • Miscarriages are more common in teenagers 14 years old or younger (15.2 miscarriages per 100 deliveries), and women aged 40 years or older (15.8 miscarriages in 100 deliveries) [6].
  • Between 2012 and 2013 there were 11,199 ectopic pregnancies leading to a hospital stay (1.7 ectopic pregnancies per 100 deliveries) [6].
  • Between 2012-2013 there were 11,199 ectopic pregnancies leading to a hospital stay (1.7 ectopic pregnancies per 100 deliveries) [6]. 
  • The rate of ectopic pregnancies has increased slightly in the last 5 years (1.6 per 100 deliveries in 2006-2007 compared to 1.7 per 100 deliveries in 2012-2013) [7].

Scotland

  • In 2013, 4,815 miscarriages were recorded for the whole of Scotland, the equivalent of 4.6 per 1,000 women aged from under 20 to 35+ years [8].

Sources

[1] NHS Choices, Miscarriage. NHS CHoices, London. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Miscarriage/Pages/Introduction.aspx (2014, accessed 9 December 2014).

[2] Patient.co.uk. Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/miscarriage-spontaneous-abortion (2013, accessed 9 December 2014).

[3] NHS Choices. Miscarriage: introduction. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Miscarriage/Pages/Introduction.aspx (2014, accessed 9 December 2014).

[4] Public Health Wales. A healthier North Wales: a healthy and safe weight for pregnancy. Cardiff PHW, 2013. Available from: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/66628 (accessed 9 December 2014)

[5] Rai R, Regan L, Recurrent miscarriage. Lancet 2006; 368(9535): 601-11

[6] Health and Social Care Information Center. NHS maternity statistics: England, 2012-13 (main tables). London HSCIC, 2013. Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/2021/Website-Search?productid=13418&q=NHS+Maternity+Statistics&sort=Relevance&size=10&page=1&area=both (accessed 9 December 2014).

[7] Health and Social Care Information Centre. NHS maternity statistics: England, 2011-2012. London HSCIC, 2013. Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/2021/Website-Search?productid=10061&q=miscarriage&sort=Relevance&size=10&page=3&area=both (accessed 9 December 2014).

[8] Information Services Division Scotland, Births in Scottish hospitals. Table 12: miscarriages by maternal age. Edinburgh: ISD Scotland, 2013. Available at: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Maternity-and-Births/Births (accessed 9 December 2014).


In this section


Employment
Lifestyle statistics

Miscarriage statistics

Pre-eclampsia statistics

Premature birth statistics

Stillbirth statistics

Toxoplasmosis statistics


Green open bracket


On this page


Incidence of miscarriage

Relative risk of miscarriage

Risk of miscarriage at various ages

Repeated miscarriage



printPrint page
send to friendSend to a friend
back to topBack to top

Green closed bracket