Early miscarriage is when a pregnancy is lost in the first 3 months (first trimester) of pregnancy. This is the most common type of miscarriage.
Late miscarriage is when a pregnancy is lost after 12 weeks (first trimester) but before 24 weeks. About 1–2% of pregnancies end in a late miscarriage.
Stillbirth is the loss of a pregnancy after 24 weeks. It happens in approximately 0.5% of births in England.
A complete miscarriage is when the pregnancy tissues comes away from your womb completely and there is no need for medical intervention.
Missed miscarriage (also known as a silent or delayed miscarriage)
A chemical pregnancy is when a pregnancy ends in miscarriage before 5 weeks of pregnancy. The pregnancy may be confirmed by a blood test or a home pregnancy test but is not yet visible on an ultrasound scan. Learn more about chemical pregnancy.
A molar pregnancy is when a fetus doesn’t form properly in the womb. It is a very rare complication of pregnancy. Find out more about molar pregnancy.
Recurrent miscarriage is when a miscarriage happens 3 or more times in a row. This is very rare, affecting 1% of couples.
Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy where the baby develops outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This happens in approximately 1% of pregnancies.
Medical terms can be confusing. We have a list of medical descriptions in our list of miscarriage terminology.
Your emotional health
Miscarriage can be devastating. You may be struggling with grief, anxiety and shock, but you do not need to go through this alone. There are lots of organisations that can provide advice and support.
If you’re worried that you or your partner are struggling to cope after losing a baby, please talk to your GP. They will be able to help you get the support you need.
You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or you can email them at [email protected]. Our midwives are trained in bereavement support.
Find out more about support after a miscarriage.
For many women, a miscarriage may have happened so early that they weren’t aware that they were pregnant. Read our miscarriage statistics for more information, including the statistics related to age.
Find out more about the causes of a miscarriage.
Find out more about how common miscarriage is.
A chemical pregnancy is when a pregnancy ends in miscarriage before five weeks of pregnancy.
Missed miscarriage (also known as a delayed or a silent miscarriage) can come as a big shock as there are none of the usual signs of miscarriage, such as bleeding or pain.
An incomplete miscarriage is when a miscarriage begins, but the pregnancy doesn’t completely come away from the womb.
Around 1 in 200 women experience recurrent miscarriage. Doctors define this as the loss of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies.
Most miscarriages occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriages that happen in this period are called early miscarriages.
Late miscarriage refers to a miscarriage that happens when a baby dies between 14 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is a condition that happens when a fertilised egg attaches itself somewhere outside the uterus.
A molar pregnancy is when a fetus doesn’t form properly in the womb. It is a very rare complication of pregnancy.
NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Miscarriage https://cks.nice.org.uk/miscarriage (Page last reviewed: May 2018 Next review due: December 2023)
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2016) Early miscarriage https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2010) Late Intrauterine Fetal Death and Stillbirth https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/gtg_55.pdf
NHS Choices. Miscarriage. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/ (Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018 Next review due: 01/06/2021)
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2012) Recurrent and late miscarriage: tests and treatment of couples https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-recurrent-and-late-miscarriage---tests-and-treatment-of-couples.pdf
NICE (2019). Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage: diagnosis and initial management. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng126Hide details
ℹLast reviewed on February 10th, 2020. Next review date February 10th, 2023.