Recurrent Pregnancy LossRecurrent pregnancy loss occurs when a woman has at least two miscarriages. When a woman has two or more miscarriages, it’s known as recurrent pregnancy loss. This reflects a relatively recent change to the definition of this condition—before then, recurrent pregnancy loss was defined as three or more consecutive pregnancy losses. Recurrent pregnancy loss is fairly uncommon, with approximately 1% to 2% of women having repeated miscarriages.
Causes of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Oftentimes, recurrent pregnancy loss has no known cause. With that being said, miscarriages are commonly caused by chromosomal abnormalities. Researchers are still trying to determine exactly why these abnormalities result in miscarriage, but some studies suggest that when a woman’s immune system identifies a problem in her baby’s genes, it automatically prompts her body to terminate the pregnancy. Other studies suggest that the chromosomal abnormalities themselves cause babies to stop developing before they should.
Chromosomal abnormalities appear to be random. But because these abnormalities are more common among older women, these women are in turn more likely to suffer a miscarriage.
Other potential causes of and risk factors for recurrent pregnancy loss include:
- Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
- Asherman’s syndrome
- Diabetes mellitus
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Septate uterus
Symptoms of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
The symptoms of recurrent pregnancy loss are the same as those of a miscarriage, which can include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Heavy spotting
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Severe abdominal pain
- Back pain
If you’re pregnant and experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. He or she will offer you customized instructions on how to proceed.
Diagnosing Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
In order to determine what is causing a woman to repeatedly miscarry, a physician may perform physical and pelvic examinations and order the following diagnostic tests:
- Blood tests
- Endometrial biopsy
- Genetic testing
- Imaging tests
Treatment for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss will depend on what specifically is causing a woman to miscarry, but may include medication, surgery or other methods. Tampa General Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology experts take pride in offering our patients highly individualized treatment plans, and we’ll work with you to develop the best strategy for your specific needs.