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Risk Factors for Miscarriage, Pregnancy Loss, and Stillbirth

Most pregnancy losses and miscarriages occur without much prior warning, and even a person with no risk factors can have a miscarriage. A few factors are associated with higher statistical odds of a miscarriage, however, like pre-existing health problems in the mother and a few lifestyle factors. Read more about miscarriage risk factors below.
  1. Chemicals and Teratogens (5)
  2. Lifestyle Factors (12)
  3. Pregnancy Medications (11)

Making Sense of Miscarriage Statistics
Confused about miscarriage statistics? You're not alone. Here's how to make sense of the most commonly cited statistics about the risk of miscarriage.

6 Times You Should Definitely Call Your Doctor
It's easy to get confused about when to call the doctor. You don't want to be a bother, or go to the hospital unnecessarily, but how could you live with yourself if you ignored something serious. Here are 6 times you should definitely call the doctor.

Diabetes in Pregnancy Loss
All types of diabetes have been linked with pregnancy loss. Explore the different types of diabetes, their effects on pregnancy, and effective treatments for diabetes during pregnancy.

Why Do Black Women Have More Pregnancy Losses?
African-American women have higher rates of all types of pregnancy loss than whites. Researchers have tried to uncover the reasons behind the racial gap without complete success. Some of the proposed explanations behind the disparity are discussed within.

Can Hypertension in Pregnancy Cause Miscarriage?
Chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, in pregnancy can increase the risk of several different pregnancy complications and may increase risk of stillbirth. But there's no clear link between high blood pressure and first-trimester miscarriage.

Is Tendency Toward Miscarriages Hereditary?
Is it possible for a tendency toward miscarriage to run in families? Research suggests it's a possibility that some causes of miscarriages are hereditary.

Should I Be Tested for Celiac Disease After Multiple Miscarriages?
What's the evidence linking celiac disease to miscarriages? Should you be tested if you're having recurrent pregnancy losses? Find out here.

A Reality Check for Common Miscarriage Claims

People say a lot of things about what does and does not cause miscarriages, and a lot of it can be confusing. Even doctors don't give the same information on a lot of issues. For example, one person might tell you that stress can cause miscarriages, but then another might claim that to be a myth.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. The following are common claims that are out…

Legal Responsibility in Pregnancy Loss: Can You Be Blamed?
The legal rights of women in miscarriage is a complicated issue. There are several things you should learn more about when considering your legal status including factors about your pregnancy, miscarriage and where you live.

Miscarriage Rates Associated with Specific Risk Factors
Many miscarriage statistics focus on women overall, but certain groups face higher risk of miscarriage than others because of pre-existing risk factors. Find out the rates of pregnancy loss for specific groups.

Is It True That Stress Can Cause a Miscarriage?
There is a lot of mixed reporting out there about whether stress can cause miscarriages. Some say that claim is a myth while others will assume it as a given. What's the truth about the risk of stress during pregnancy?

Does Late Implantation Mean Higher Risk of Miscarriage?
Is late implantation really a risk factor for early miscarriage, or is that claim simply a myth? At least one study has found evidence that embryos that implant later might be more likely to miscarry, although the answer is not clear.

Does Using Prenatal Vitamins Prevent Miscarriage?
It is possible, but not proven, that use of prenatal vitamins before conception and in early pregnancy might mean a lower risk of miscarriage. One reason is because of the importance of folic acid.

Does Getting Regular Prenatal Care Affect the Risk of Pregnancy Loss?
Prenatal appointments may seem like just a pointless weigh-in, but those measurements throughout the pregnancy help your doctor to detect potentially serious conditions as early as possible. Regular prenatal care can mean a lower risk of stillbirth and late pregnancy loss.

What Do Statistics Look Like for Ectopic Pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancy statistics suggest that about 1 in every 50 pregnancies is ectopic. A list of known risk factors can mean higher odds of tubal pregnancy.

Does Conceiving via In Vitro Fertilization Mean Higher Risk of Miscarriage?
A pregnancy conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) may carry a higher risk of miscarriage than a spontaneous pregnancy, but researchers believe that this has more to do with the underlying reasons for using IVF rather than the procedure itself.

Chances of Miscarriage After Normal Pregnancy
Numerous factors can affect your mathematical risk of miscarriage. One of those is your previous pregnancy history -- if you have successfully given birth, you may have a lower chance of miscarriage in your next pregnancy.

Distinguishing Miscarriage Risk Factors from Miscarriage Causes
It can be harder than you would think to distinguish between a cause of miscarriage and a risk factor. It helps to understand the difference between correlation and causation when you look at the research.

Do Video Display Terminals Cause Miscarriages?
A study in the 1980s found that working more than 20 hours a week at a video display terminal (VDT) meant increased risk of miscarriage, but subsequent studies have found that VDTs are unlikely to cause miscarriage.

Does Elective Abortion Increase Risk of Future Miscarriage?
There is a lot of mixed information on whether an elective termination (abortion) means an increased risk of future pregnancy complications. If there is an increased risk of miscarriage after abortion, it is most likely to affect women with more than one surgical abortion.

Listeriosis and Pregnancy
Listeriosis is a form of food poisoning that can be risky for pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems. Infection with listeria during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm delivery.

Stress During Preganancy - Can It Cause a Miscarriage
Stress during pregnancy is controversial as a potential risk factor for or cause of miscarriage. Some sources claim the link is a myth, but some research studies support that high stress or anxiety in the mother might be a cause of miscarriages.

Can Sex During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?
Most doctors agree that sexual intercourse during pregnancy is safe and not likely to be a risk factor for causing miscarriage in the vast majority of women.

Can Breastfeeding During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?
There's a lot of conflicting information about the safety of breastfeeding during pregnancy, but there's no evidence that breastfeeding has any link to miscarriage or other forms of pregnancy loss for most women.

Maternal Health Conditions That Increase Risk of Miscarriage …

Most miscarriages are random one-time occurrences, but a few chronic health conditions and diseases can increase your risk of miscarriage. For a few of the diseases, you may not have any symptoms until you experience recurrent miscarriages, so it is important to see a doctor if you suspect you may have an u…

What Causes Ectopic Pregnancies and What Are the Risk Factors?
Ectopic pregnancies are usually tubal (implanted in the fallopian tubes) and can become a medical emergency if left untreated too long. Learn about the risk factors and causes of ectopic pregnancies.

Do Low Folic Acid Levels Cause Miscarriage?
Doctors advise women to get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy because this nutrient reduces risk of neural tube defects, but might folic acid also reduce risk of miscarriage? Some research indicates it might, although it's too early to know for sure.

What Is a Luteal Phase Defect? Can it Play a Role in Miscarriage?
The "luteal phase" is the second half of a normal menstrual cycle, or the time between ovulation and the onset of a menstrual period. Luteal phase deficiency can be associated with low progesterone levels, and some theorize that it could play a role in miscarriage risk.

When Do Most Miscarriages Occur?
The vast majority of miscarriages happen in early pregnancy. The statistics suggest that the risk of pregnancy loss goes down significantly after 12 weeks. Seeing a heartbeat on an ultrasound also puts the pregnancy into a lower risk category.

What Are the Risk Factors for Molar Pregnancy?
Like other miscarriages, molar pregnancy risk factors are usually beyond the woman's control, and a woman need not have risk factors to have a hydatidiform molar pregnancy or gestational trophoblastic disease.

Why Do Older Mothers Have Higher Risk of Miscarriages and Stillbirth?
Miscarriage and stillbirth are more common in mothers older than 35 and even more so in moms over 40. But what causes the increased risk for pregnancy loss?

Risk Factors for Miscarriages - An Overview of Pregnancy Loss Risks
You can rarely influence whether or not you miscarry, but some medical and lifestyle factors do mean a higher statistical odds of pregnancy loss. This overview article offers a breakdown of what does and does not influence risk of miscarriage.

Strenuous Exercise and Miscarriages - Is There a Link?
Most sources claim that exercise does not cause miscarriage and pregnancy loss, but the relationship is unclear. One large scale retrospective study did find a link between high-impact/strenuous exercise and miscarriages.

Pregnancy After 35
Women over 35 are at increased risk for miscarriages. This fact sheet from the March of Dimes addresses the special considerations for pregnancy in this age bracket and cites statistics for various complications.

Passive Smoking and Early Miscarriages
Even secondhand smoke may increase the risk of miscarriages, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. This brief writeup summarizes the findings.

Miscarriage After Fifth Disease
Sometimes, getting Fifth Disease (parvovirus B19) can increase the risk of miscarriages. This article from eMedTV summarizes the risks

What's the Risk of Miscarriage If I Get Pregnant with an IUD?
IUDs are usually effective at preventing pregnancy, but if you become pregnant with an IUD, tell your doctor right away. Ectopic pregnancy needs to be ruled out, and there's an elevated risk of miscarriage and other complications. The IUD will probably need to be removed immediately.

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