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Maternal Health Conditions That Increase Risk of Miscarriage and Stillbirth


Updated July 16, 2008

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 underlying health conditions.


Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes appear to be linked with miscarriage and higher risk of birth defects. Having diabetes under control before getting pregnant may reduce the risk.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome involves antibodies against chemicals present in normal blood and increases the risk of blood clots. Antiphospholipid syndrome may have no symptoms other than recurrent miscarriages.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)

Women with lupus are at higher risk of developing antiphospholipid antibodies; as mentioned above, untreated antiphospholipid syndrome is linked to recurrent miscarriages.


Multiple studies have found that moms with higher body weight are more likely to have recurrent miscarriages. Losing weight before getting pregnant may reduce the risk.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS, a condition involving numerous hormonal imbalances and ovulation issues, may increase risk of miscarriage. Research has been conflicting on the exact reason why.


Both chronic high blood pressure and pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy) are risk factors for stillbirth and preterm delivery.

Celiac Disease

A handful of studies have shown that undiagnosed celiac disease, or intolerance of wheat proteins, can be a risk factor for recurrent miscarriages.

Kidney Issues

Women with kidney problems often spill protein into their urine, and this appears to be a risk factor for stillbirth and preterm delivery. Pregnancy while on kidney dialysis also is automatically high risk.

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