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 . 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 .
- 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) . In the UK, early pregnancy loss accounts for over 50,000 admissions annually .
- Habitual or recurrent miscarriage consists of three or more consecutive miscarriages ; 1 in 100 women will experience recurrent miscarriage .
- 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 .
- 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 .
- 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 .
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) . This is a drop from 42,538 miscarriages leading to a hospital stay in 2011-2012 (6.4 miscarriages in every 100 deliveries) .
- 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) .
- Between 2012 and 2013 there were 11,199 ectopic pregnancies leading to a hospital stay (1.7 ectopic pregnancies per 100 deliveries) .
- Between 2012-2013 there were 11,199 ectopic pregnancies leading to a hospital stay (1.7 ectopic pregnancies per 100 deliveries) .
- 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) .
- 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 .
 NHS Choices, Miscarriage. NHS CHoices, London. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Miscarriage/Pages/Introduction.aspx (2014, accessed 9 December 2014).
 Patient.co.uk. Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/miscarriage-spontaneous-abortion (2013, accessed 9 December 2014).
 NHS Choices. Miscarriage: introduction. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Miscarriage/Pages/Introduction.aspx (2014, accessed 9 December 2014).
 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)
 Rai R, Regan L, Recurrent miscarriage. Lancet 2006; 368(9535): 601-11
 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).
 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).
 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).
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Premature birth statistics