Pregnancy loss is defined as the result of an inability to carry a pregnancy to full term (40 weeks). Miscarriages may occur during the first three months of pregnancy because of some fetal abnormalities. In other situations, they may occur as the result of a cervix that does not allow the pregnancy to stay in the uterus during the second three months of pregnancy.
Fifteen to 20 percent of all pregnancies result in an early pregnancy loss. Most of the time, this is not a problem that occurs in subsequent pregnancies. Recurrent pregnancy loss is only considered to be a medical problem that needs evaluation after three consecutive miscarriages.
There are many causes of recurrent pregnancy loss. Testing is aimed at identifying a cause that can be corrected, including infection, insufficient cervix or abnormal uterus. Evaluations include cultures, measuring cervical length, pelvic ultrasound and, occasionally, chromosomal analysis.
What are the chances that I will lose my next pregnancy?
It depends on whether the previous losses were due to a condition that might still be present (an abnormal uterus, for example). If so, appropriate treatments may decrease the chance of another loss.