Problem defined

Historically, a woman was said to suffer from recurrent miscarriage if she had had three consecutive miscarriages with the same partner, and had no more than one live birth. If this definition is used, then 1% of the population is affected.

However, in recent years, in part due to new scientific findings, and in part due to patient pressure, women who have suffered only 2 consecutive miscarriages with the same partner, and have had no more than one live birth, are also considered recurrent miscarriers, and many clinics, including our own, will investigate such women. This increases the proportion of the population labelled as recurrent miscarriers to 3-5%.

It is unusual for women to miscarry after 14 weeks of pregnancy. It is therefore prudent to evaluate a woman who has suffered such a miscarriage, even if it was her first pregnancy. Such a woman may have a weak cervix, or other investigations may yield a treatable cause.