I have a friend who had three miscarriages before becoming pregnant with her son. As any woman who’s had a miscarriage knows, it’s brutal to overcome losing a baby. At one point my friend had to stop trying to get pregnant for an extended period of time because it was just too much for her and her husband to take.
An estimated one in five pregnancies miscarry. Recurrent miscarriage is when this happens three or more times. Around 1 woman in every 100 has recurrent miscarriages
Women who’ve suffered repeated miscarriages are often a lot more worried during subsequent pregnancies because they’ve experienced, first-hand, just how very wrong being pregnant can go.
However, they can take heart in one apparent fact. Women with repeated miscarriages can be reassured that their chance of having a healthy baby is the same as women who have never miscarried, say experts.
As Michelle Roberts reports for the BBC, doctors from all over the world are meeting in Sweden to discuss the latest advances in fertility medicine.
Two new studies presented there followed more than 1,213 women with unexplained recurrent miscarriage:
The first – a Danish study involved nearly 1,000 women – found two-thirds went on to have at least one child, mostly within five years of being diagnosed and referred to a recurrent miscarriage clinic, but often within a year of being seen.
The second study, carried out in the Netherlands with 213 women, found more than 70% became pregnant after a year of trying for a baby, rising to over 80% or eight out of 10 after two years of trying.
And over half of all the women in the study gave birth to a healthy baby, within an average wait of 41 weeks to conceive.
The findings should offer renewed hope to the 1% of couples who have lost at least three pregnancies in a row for no obvious reasons.
Dr Stefan Kaandorp, who led the Dutch study tells the BBC “Our results mean that women with recurrent miscarriage can be reassured that their time to a subsequent conception is not significantly longer than that for fertile women without a history of miscarriage. Recurrent miscarriage is extremely stressful for these women and we hope that our study will give them hope and encourage them to keep trying for the baby they want so much.”
A spokeswoman for the Miscarriage Association says women often expect answers as to why they misscarry. “For them, a diagnosis means treatment and treatment equals a baby. But that is not always the case.”
Sometimes, finding no cause for a miscarriage is a good thing. It means the woman has a good chance of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby as a woman who has never miscarried.
As Roberts reports for BBC, some doctors say they’ll use the findings from these studies to help patients who are dealing with recurrent miscarriages decide if they want to try for another baby.
“The majority of patients I see with unexplained recurrent miscarriage feel like giving up. I spend a lot of my time trying to encourage them that they do have a good chance of going on to have a baby. It is good to have this latest data to put a figure on it.”
Still, as it was with my friend, deciding to try again when you’ve suffered at least three marriages can be overwhelming and scary.
39-year-old Carol tells Roberts she doesn’t know if she can do it again after suffering through four miscarriages.
“At the moment, I feel like I would be happier not to fall pregnant again. I’m not sure I want to go through the stress and trauma again. It’s not just me who is upset and disappointed every time. It’s my husband and my family that feel it too.”
What about you? Have you had several miscarriages that are unexplained? Does this study affect whether or not you’d give pregnancy another try?