Understanding and preventing miscarriage

It’s generally thought that most miscarriages can’t be prevented. But we hope to change this with more research.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know why every miscarriage happens. This can be very difficult to accept and can sometimes lead to women and couples unnecessarily blaming themselves. We have answered some common questions that we hope will prevent this. It is important to know that miscarriages very rarely happen because of something you did or didn’t do. 

Because we don’t always know why miscarriages happen, it is very difficult to prevent them. The most common known cause of early miscarriages (the most common type of miscarriage) is chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, and these happen by chance and unfortunately can’t be prevented.

We have a Miscarriage Support Tool that you can use to get personalised support and find out your chance of a successful next pregnancy.

Lifestyle changes

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to guarantee a healthy pregnancy. But there are some things that will lower the chance of having a miscarriage. These include:

Antenatal care

It’s also important to go to all your antenatal appointments and any other medical appointments you are offered during pregnancy. This is so your midwife can:

  • check how your baby is growing
  • pick up some conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes – these might not have any early symptoms that you would notice but routine blood pressure checks and urine tests can pick up on them, even if you feel fine
  • check the health of your baby through blood tests and ultrasound scans
  • talk to you about how you’re feeling emotionally and help you access support if needed.

If you don’t want to go to your appointments because you're worried about having blood tests, tell the midwife about your fears. They can help support you. If you can't go to an antenatal appointment, let your midwife or the hospital know so you can make another one.

Tests after a miscarriage

If you’ve had a late miscarriage or 3 miscarriage in a row (recurrent miscarriage), you may be referred for tests to find out why. Doctors cannot always find a cause. But if they do identify an issue, such as uterine abnormality or an infection, you may be offered treatment that can reduce the risk of having another miscarriage. 

Find out more about things you can do now before you try for a baby and while you’re pregnant to help protect your baby’s future health and bring down your risk of problems in pregnancy.

Our research

Tommy’s is funding the cost of the UK’s first national Miscarriage Research Centre and aims to halve the number of miscarriages by 2030 by funding medical research.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss or preterm birth – and most parents never find out the real reason why. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.

Find out more about our Tell me why campaign.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2016) Early miscarriage https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf

Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Antenatal care – uncomplicated pregnancy https://cks.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-uncomplicated-pregnancy (Last revised in February 2019 Next planned review by February 2021)

Review dates
Reviewed: 29 April 2020
Next review: 29 April 2023

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.