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Causes of Miscarriage Q&A

Paulette Brown, M.D.
Paulette Brown, M.D.

One in four pregnancies results in a miscarriage. Dr. Paulette Browne, from the Shady Grove Fertility Fair Oaks, VA office, recently hosted a live,“Miscarriage, The Silent Fear” on the popular fertility app, Glow, to answer questions about the causes of miscarriage and what steps to take if you have experienced a miscarriage. Read the top five questions and answers about miscarriage.

  1. What are the most common causes of miscarriage? 
    Miscarriage can be caused by a variety of identifiable reasons including but not limited to hormonal issues, infection, or physical problems within the mother. These spontaneous “failures” as they may seem are hard to predict but can be explained scientifically. An anatomic miscarriage is one in which the uterus is partitioned by a septum or fibroid, which is a fluid-filled tube. These anomalies are derived from problems within the anatomy of the mother, and can be present from birth or acquired over time. Hormonal causes could be disease in the thyroid in which the thyroid hormone is not produced properly, impeding normal fetus development. The miscarriage may be immunologic, meaning failures within the immune system prohibit a successful pregnancy. Examples of this could be an anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome or thrombophilia, a blood clotting issue that prevents blood and nutrients from reaching the embryo or fetus.A chromosomal abnormality may also be the cause of miscarriage, in which the embryo either has too many or too few chromosomes.
  2. Can PCOS increase the likelihood of having a miscarriage? 
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been proven to increase the rate of miscarriage in spontaneous conceptions, likely for hormonal reasons. By using fertility medicine to time your body’s natural processes better and straighten out your hormones, you can help reduce the probability of miscarriage. There is an over-the-counter supplement called Myoinsitol that assists with hormone regulation. You should always speak with your physician prior to beginning any supplement.
  3. “I had a miscarriage and haven’t been able to conceive again. What are the chances of getting pregnant and having a successful pregnancy?”
    Depending on how long you have been trying, your chances will vary. If it has been 6 to 12 months of trying with no avail, you should consider seeing a fertility specialist and having a fertility work-up. Your chances of a successful pregnancy are based on many factors that we can evaluate. If you have had two or more consecutive miscarriages, you may also want to have a work-up to evaluate recurrent pregnancy loss. About 60 pregnancy of women who have had two miscarriages go on to conceive successfully.


  4. Does having one miscarriage make it more likely that you will have another?
    Having one miscarriage does not necessarily increase your risk of another as most are due to chromosomal abnormalities within the embryo, which is random based on the particular egg. However, if the problem is anatomic or based on a chromosomal problem in the parents, then the risk is still there.
  5. What are the chances of miscarriage at the point of pregnancy in which the baby is moving and measured on time?
    Once the pregnancy has reached the second trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significantly lowered. Once a heartbeat is seen via ultrasound, the risk comes down to about 7 percent.

Miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy can be devastating—and often a loss a woman or couple suffers alone. Read about how to overcome the emotional aspect of miscarriage.


If you have experienced two or more miscarriages, we recommend a consult to see a fertility specialist. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please call 1-877-971-7755.

To participate in the weekly Glow Q&A sessions, download the Glow app. See the full transcript from this Q&A.


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