Early miscarriage

Most miscarriages occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriages that happen in this period are called early miscarriages.

A miscarriage is called an ‘early’ miscarriage or a 'first trimester' miscarriage if it happens within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur during this period.

Causes of early miscarriage

Most early miscarriages are caused by genetic problems within the developing baby but a poorly formed placenta can also cause problems.

  • Chromosomal problems

Chromosomes are blocks of DNA which contain the instructions for developing every single part of your baby.  They are found inside every single cell of the body.  When something goes wrong at conception or during the development  of the baby’s chromosomes, it can cause genetic abnormalities.  If these problems are incompatible with life, or normal development, you may lose the baby.

It’s estimated that up to  nearly half of early miscarriages are associated with chromosomal problems in the baby.  But these problems don’t mean there is any problem with your own chromosomes or your partner’s chromosomes. Most couples who experience miscarriage as a result of chromosomal problems go on to have a healthy baby in the future.

  • Placental problems

The placenta is an organ which links your blood supply to the baby’s.  This life-giving link is essential to a developing baby, so if there is a problem with the development of the placenta, it can also lead to miscarriage.

Read more about miscarriage

Sources

 

  1. NICE (2012) Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage: diagnosis and initial management in early pregnancy of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, clinical guideline CG154, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  2. Stillbirth (Definition) Act 1992, Definition of stillborn child, Section 1(1), London The Stationery Office, 1992
  3. RCOG (2008) Early miscarriage: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, , 2008
  4. RCOG (2008) Bleeding and Pain in early pregnancy: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2008
  5. RCOG (2012) Recurrent and late miscarriage: tests and treatment of couples, information for you, London Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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Comments

  • By Roisin (not verified) on 16 Feb 2019 - 10:56

    Hello, I’ve had two miscarriages in 4 months. I’m scared of this happening again after all the pain we’ve been through. Have you any research centres in N.ireland or ireland?
    Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Feb 2019 - 11:04

    Hi Roisin, Thank you for your comment.

    We as so sorry to hear about your recent miscarriages, this must be a very difficult time for you and your family. We don't currently have a research centre in Northern Ireland but we can always give you information about our centres in London, Coventry and Birmingham. Please email the Tommy's Midwives on [email protected] Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Gretchen (not verified) on 5 Feb 2019 - 14:52

    Am 6 weeks preggy and experiencing now a lil brown stain in my liner and have miscarriage last year. What should I do that it won't happened to me what happened last year.

  • By Wanita Jackson (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 12:42

    My daughter has just had a miscarriage in the Maldives, shes in the hospital where they want to do a D&C but she wants to come home and have it in the UK what's the danger? what should i advise her?

  • By Sabila Fred (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 20:54

    Hi my wife has got miscarriages many time at 13 to14 weeks so far 4 miscarriages and I need solution from you. Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jan 2019 - 13:42

    Hi,
    I am so sorry to hear about what you and your wife are going through at the moment. If you have been through 4 miscarriages then you can be referred to a recurrent miscarriage clinic where they can do some tests and investigations to see if they can support you both in a future pregnancy.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Aysha (not verified) on 11 Dec 2018 - 13:58

    Can u have miscarriage on 12 weeks and 2 days

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 15:38

    Hi Aysha, Thank you for your comment.

    It is possible to have a miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy up until 24 weeks. After 12 weeks, the risk of miscarriage does drop, so the chance of this happening is reduce, but there is still always a risk that they can happen. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

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