Information and support on miscarriage

Suffering a miscarriage can be a very sad, scary or lonely experience. This section of our site is designed to answer questions and provide support to you, a family member or friend, through this difficult time.

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks.

Miscarriages are often referred to as ‘early’ or ‘late’.

An early miscarriage is one which occurs between the date of a missed period, up until 13 weeks of pregnancy . 

Early miscarriages are more common than you may realise, often occurring before the mother even realises she is pregnant.  As a result, many early losses happen to mothers who simply assume the bleeding is a normal period.

A late miscarriage occurs between weeks 14 to 24 of pregnancy.  This is much less common.

The loss of a baby after 24 weeks is called a stillbirth.  

Unfortunately, we still don’t know why every miscarriage happens.  That’s why 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.

We do, however, have a good understanding of some types of pregnancy loss and you can find all the information you’ll need on this site, along with stories from other women who’ve experienced miscarriage for themselves.

Whilst as many as 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lifetime, don’t forget that only 1 in 100 have multiple miscarriages and the vast majority of women go on to have healthy babies.

Read about the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research.

How to get a referral to the Tommy's National Miscarriage Centre

Referral information for the Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre clinics

Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research has recurrent miscarriage clinics in three different sites in the UK:

  • Birmingham Women’s Hospital
  • University Hospital Coventry
  • St Mary’s Hospital London

All of the clinics will accept patients who have had 3 miscarriages and an appropriate General Practitioner (GP) referral from anywhere within the UK (there is more specific information on criteria for each clinic below). This will provide you (and your partner) with the opportunity to be part of research towards finding the cause of repeated miscarriages. 

The clinics are centres of excellence and work hand in hand with the research centres by offering women the opportunity to have new tests and take part in new trials.

Tommy’s strong view is that all women should get referral after 2 miscarriages and our clinicians and centre directors are working towards this goal. However, until it is made normal NHS funded practice, we are unable to offer it as standard across the clinics. Currently only the clinic in Coventry has an arrangement that allows women with 2 miscarriages to be referred and then only from the local area (see more below).

If you have had 3 miscarriages and wish to be referred to a Tommy’s clinic, you do not have to live within the area of any of the clinics; a GP referral can be made to whichever centre is convenient to you. 

Your referral can be made on the basis that the Tommy’s centre offers tests and treatments not offered by your local hospital. This can be the reason for your request for out-of-area referral.

Choice is enshrined in the NHS charter.

There is not a specific referral form that needs to be used; your GP can use their own.

NHS funded tests available by clinic

Test

Purpose

Birmingham

London 

Coventry

lupus anticoagulant test  to test for anti-phospholipid antibodies (sticky blood conditions)  Y  Y  Y
anti-cardiolipin antibody test to test for anti-phospholipid antibodies (sticky blood conditions)   Y  Y  Y
thrombophilia screen  to test for congenital sticky blood conditions      Y
thromboelastogram analysis  to test for global bleeding tendencies    Y  
detailed pelvic ultrasound scanning  to look for abnormalities in the womb or ovaries  Y    
rubella test  to ensure immunity to German measles or rubella  Y    
TSH, T3 and T4 tests  to identify any problems with the thyroid gland  Y*    
vitamin D test  to identify vitamin D deficiency  Y*    
coeliac disease screen - TTG antibody test to investigate autoimmune serology, whereby healthy cells inside the body may be attacked by abnormal cells      Y  Y
HbA1C test to investigate for diabetes   Y*    Y
 fetal karyotyping to identify any structural or genetic problems of the foetus   Y*  Y*  Y*
parental karyotyping performed if the above test reveals any genetic issues, to identify any genetic abnormalities in either partner    Y*  Y*  Y*

*if indicated

Referral details by clinic

Tommy’s@Birmingham

Criteria

  • 3 or more early miscarriages
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)
  • women do not need to be from the local area

Contact details for referrals

The Tommy’s Miscarriage Clinic @ Birmingham

c/o Miss Haleema Sadia, Medical Secretaries

Birmingham Womens NHS Foundation Trust

Mindelsohn Way

Edgbaston

Birmingham

B15 2TG

0121 623 6834

haleemasadia@nhs.net

haleema.sadia@bwnft.nhs.uk

Tommy’s@London

Criteria

  • 3 or more early miscarriages
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)
  • women referred should be <42 years old
  • women do not need to be from the local area

Contact details for referrals

Professor Lesley Regan

Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

St Mary's Hospital

Recurrent Miscarriage Office

Ground Floor, Mint Wing

South Wharf Road

London

W2 1NY

Tommy’s@Coventry

Criteria

  • 2 or more miscarriages if local to Coventry
  • 3 or more early miscarriages if from outside this area
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)

Contact details for referrals

Professor Quenby

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Clifford Bridge Road

Coventry

CV2 2DX

Tel: 02476967528

Fax: 02476967584


More details on how to take part in our clinical trials here.

Hide details

Read more on miscarriage

  • Sad woman looking out of window.

    After a miscarriage

    Recovering from a miscarriage can be tough, so look for support from those close to you, and from your doctor.

  • A researcher in the lab.

    Causes of miscarriage

    Miscarriage is by far the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK, and it’s also the least understood.

  • The letters FAQ written on black chalkboard.

    Frequently asked questions about miscarriage

    If you or someone close to you have experienced miscarriage, it's natural to have lots of questions. We have them covered.

  • Health professional talking to woman.

    How your miscarriage will be managed.

    Your treatment for miscarriage will depend on the type of miscarriage you have.

  • I think I'm having a miscarriage

    I think I'm having a miscarriage

    Don’t be afraid to seek help or advice quickly if you experience any of the symptoms of miscarriage in during your pregnancy. It is helpful if you can make a note of when symptoms began.

  • Sad couple holding hands.

    Miscarriage support

    If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, we’re here to help and support you.

  • Woman looking at dictionary.

    NHS terms explained

    Medical lingo can be confusing. We hope to clarify some of the medical terms commonly used in relation to miscarriage.

  • Preventing miscarriage

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

  • Woman holding abdomen in pain.

    Symptoms of miscarriage

    Miscarriage is more common than you may realise. The majority of miscarriages happen before others, and sometimes even the mother herself, are aware of the pregnancy.

  • Woman looking sad.

    Types of miscarriage

    If you do suffer a miscarriage, there can be a confusing array of medical terms used to describe it and to describe the treatment that you may receive for it. We still don’t understand why every miscarriage happens, but for those we do, a particular name for that miscarriage may be used.

Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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Comments

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Aug 2016 - 16:21

    Hi. Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about your bleeding. The doctor is right. Spotting or light bleeding without pain is not uncommon before 12 weeks and is often not serious. However, the symptoms you describe could be a sign of a miscarriage and therefore a scan in the early pregnancy unit would be recommended.

  • By Deirdre@Tommy's on 19 Jul 2016 - 09:33

    I am so sorry to hear what an awful time you have been through. I can only imagine how you must be feeling! It is completely normal top be feeling the way you do and it’ll take some time to be able to process it all.
    I feel that it would be of real benefit for you to call us on 0800 0147800 and speak to one of us (we are all friendly midwives) for some more in-depth information and support. We run the service Mon- Fri 9am-5pm. We also have an email service info@tommys.org where we can email back and forth and send you far more in depth information, links, telephone numbers and advice – so please do get in touch as soon as you feel that you can!
    There is so much that you need addressing that I want to really be able to help you and this is perhaps not the best medium for us to do so. Please copy and paste what you have written and email us (if you do not wish to call us) and then we can properly talk/be in touch. Please do not suffer alone!
    I am also in tomorrow and can call you/email you if you send over your details.
    Take care

    Sophie
    Tommy’s Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Jul 2016 - 21:30

    Hiya I found out 17 weeks that my baby heart beat stop hospital said looked as if the baby stop going at 14 weeks
    At 13 weeks I was suffering really bad with headaches and every now then stomach cramps could the headache be related to my miss carriage

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Jul 2016 - 07:44

    I am devastated. Had an horrendous experience in hospital last week. Now suffered my 3 rd recurrent miscarriage since October. ( I am 40) On each I should have been 8 or 9 weeks but loose the baby at 6 1/2 or 7.
    Have had tablets on 2 occasions , thus time was supposed to be the op so I did not have the trauma of witnessing the passing of the sac. It all went wrong and over two days of being nil by mouth, I kept being cancelled as they didn't have room. Once I was taken down to theatre only to be told it was a mistake. The consultant then came to tell me the anaesthetists had gone home. During the day I had 2 anaesthetists come and explain what would happen, make me answer the same questions and sign the same form. At 3 on the first day, a Doctor came to ask me how the procedure had been!
    I ended up so stressed, hungry and dehydrated that I took the tablets again when offered late in the night. I was told by the on call team it was either me or a child with appendicitis.
    Whilst waiting, a consultant discussed aps. A lot of this seems to make sense as I suffer hemaplaegic migraines, thyroid and stroke in the family, suffering issues with memory and my 6 year old was born early, low birth weight and I had severe preeclampsia.
    I was told by another doctor I was just unlucky. Right now, I feel sad, angry, mistreated and don't know how to get over this.
    I lost huge clots after having to pass my baby yet again down the toilet, thus time in hospital into the grey trays, so they could 'monitor.'
    I lost so much that I didn't even make it to the toilet but it was literally falling out of me and they took me back in a wheelchair. It was undignified and not why I was supposed to be there.
    A week in, I am still bleeding, can't eat and haven't been able to go to the toilet.
    I am struggling to see how I can put myself through this again.
    When I went to be rescanned I asked about the tests but none knew the time frame between miscarrying and being tested for aps. Please can someone tell me?

  • By Deirdre@Tommy's on 7 Jul 2016 - 11:03

    Hi,
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Pregnancy after a miscarriage can be a very worrying time but you are as likely to have a full term pregnancy this time as someone who never had a miscarriage. There's some information on this page below on what you can do to decrease your risk but it is all around having a healthy lifestyle, which you may have had in your first pregnancy and still had a miscarriage (most miscarriages are unexplained, which is why we want to fund extra research in this area): https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/pregnancy-loss/miscarriage/preventing-miscarriage

    If you are very anxious it might be helpful to talk things through with us on our Pregnancyline 0800 0147 800. The call is free and the line is open 9-5 Mon to Fri. Hope this helps, The Tommy's Midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 30 Jun 2016 - 20:08

    I had a miscarriage around February 2016 and now pregnant again June 2016, I'm only a month gone last item I was around 8 weeks in worried about having a mother miscarriage, can anyone give me some advice? Really don't want another one :(

  • By Tommy's on 29 Jun 2016 - 13:16

    We are so sorry to hear about what you have been through. It is difficult to answer your question without knowing further details into your medical history, if you would like to email the Tommy’s midwives on info@tommys.org then we will be able to give you more detailed advice about the care that you have received. Please feel free to email us at any time.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Jun 2016 - 12:51

    Hi I have had previous miscarriages 4 to be exact I've just recently found out that I am pregnant and very scared about having a miscarriage is there any things that could help me preventer .......

  • By Deirdre@Tommy's on 23 Jun 2016 - 12:04

    We are so sorry to hear about what you have been through. It is difficult to answer your question without knowing further details into your medical history, if you would like to email the Tommy’s midwives on info@tommys.org then we will be able to give you more detailed advice about the care that you have received. Please feel free to email us at any time.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Jun 2016 - 00:50

    Hi, i have miscarried five times over a ten year period, i got to my 12 week scan and was told i miscarried at 9 and half weeks should my babu/fetus as they call it of been imvestigated to find any abnormalities in my baby. I just got offered a cremation for my baby and often wondered if they should of investigated qhy my babys heart stopped.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 - 21:20

    I had a complete miscarriage on Sunday, heavy bleeding large clots, went to our woman's center and my ob was on call. Gave me a whole bag of pitocin and methegin. Should I be having pain in my left shoulder and a headache now?

  • By Deirdre@Tommy's on 13 Jun 2016 - 10:09

    Please call our midwives on 0800 0147 800 to talk . They are on the line 9-5 Mon to Friday. Or you can email us on info@tommys.org and give your number, they will call you back.
    Tommy's

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Jun 2016 - 18:38

    I discovered I was pregnant 2 weeks ago . Two positive test. One was clear blur digital said 2_3 weeks pregnant. I have been bleeding for a week now. starting off brown in colour. then pinkish then heavy red blood. hospital visited on Thursdayblood and urine test confirmed poitive. Friday visited epu where I had internal scan/and ultrasound. no signs of pregnancy are found . have to go back on Monday for my hormone level to be tested it is currently 2400. I have been told if they drop it's possible I have lost my baby. but I am so confused as I have done another test today positive reading and gain saying 2_3 weeks . have I miscarried or what could be going on as I'm going insane .

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Jun 2016 - 21:11

    Just had a miscarriage in the last couple of days ... feel very alone and tearful.... and still bleeding quite alot. Friends are very kind and supportive but feel i cant really express how i feel as they also have their own stuff to deal with ... any support groups or one 2 one groups u know of any info of please. Sacha

  • By Deirdre@Tommy's on 1 Jun 2016 - 12:41

    Dear Shanella
    Would you like to call our midwives on 0800 0147 800 to talk about this? They are on the line 9-5 Mon to Friday.
    Hope this helps,
    Tommy's

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 May 2016 - 14:10

    hi, i had a misscarriage at the beginning of the year and it was my first pregnancy. It was a blighted ovum misscarriage according to the doctors. Am just wondering what is it really? Also, am pretty scared to be pregnant again.
    Many thanks
    Shanella

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