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].


  • 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].


[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

Lifestyle statistics

Miscarriage statistics

Pre-eclampsia statistics

Premature birth statistics

Stillbirth statistics

Toxoplasmosis statistics

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On this page

Incidence of miscarriage

Relative risk of miscarriage

Risk of miscarriage at various ages

Repeated miscarriage

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