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 one 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.
UK miscarriage statistics
- It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- Among women who know they are pregnant, it is estimated that 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- The majority of miscarriages happen in the first trimester - about 3 in every 4 miscarriages happen during this period.
- Many miscarriages in the first trimester are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the baby but it is thought that a significant number have other underlying causes.
- In women with a BMI over 30, the risk of miscarriage is 1 in 4.
- 1 in every 80-90 pregnancies is ectopic, which is around 12,000 pregnancies a year.
- About 1 in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages (three or more in a row). More than 60% of these women go on to have a successful pregnancy.
Miscarriage and age statistics
The age of the mother also influences the risk of miscarriage:
- In women under 30, 1 in 10 pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
- In women aged 35-39, this increases to up to 2 in 10 pregnancies.
- In women over 45, more than half of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
- In 2016, the average age of mothers increased to 30.4 years, compared with 30.3 years in 2015.
Research into why miscarriage happens is the only way we can save lives and prevent future loss. In 2016, Tommy’s opened the UK’s first national centre dedicated to miscarriage research.
Media requests about miscarriage
Our clinicians, scientists and researchers are available to speak about miscarriage for press and media. If you are interested in speaking to a clinician from the Tommy's miscarriage research centre, contact Hannah Blake, telephone: 07730 039361 or email [email protected]
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2. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Miscarriage overview, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/
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4. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Miscarriage causes, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/causes/
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6. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Overweight and pregnant, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/overweight-pregnant/
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8. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Ectopic pregnancy overview, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Ectopic-pregnancy/
9. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Miscarriage causes, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/causes/
10. NHS Choices [accessed 10/01/2018] Miscarriage overview, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/
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12. Regan L (2001) Miscarriage, What Every Woman Needs to Know. Orion; New Ed edition. LondonHide details
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