understanding miscarriage

Miscarriage is hugely challenging for any parent-to-be, and there’s no simple way to make it better. But having all the facts can provide you with the support you need to begin coming to terms with this overwhelming time. And if you’re an expecting mum or dad it’s still essential to know what kind of signs to look out for, however hard it is to imagine something going wrong with your pregnancy. Whichever stage you’re at, we want to give you as much clarity as we possibly can.

causes of miscarriage

Lots of women may experience feelings of guilt after losing their baby, but it’s really important to know that most miscarriages can’t be prevented. Often they happen because your baby isn't developing properly – in the first trimester, this is usually because of problems with the baby’s chromosomes.


Chromosomes are the building blocks your body needs to produce a healthy baby. This means that if the chromosomes themselves are wrong, or the mix of them is, your body might choose to end the pregnancy.


In your second trimester, the risk of miscarriage can go up if you have certain conditions like an overactive thyroid gland or kidney disease. While most mums won’t have any risk factors at all, there are a few, including infections and womb structure complications. Again, these have nothing to do with your lifestyle choices. Always speak with your midwife or health professional to get advice tailored to your individual situation.


So while it’s absolutely understandable for expectant mums to question whether they could’ve done anything differently, in most cases miscarriage is tragically unpredictable. We know this offers little comfort to those who experience it, but the healing process will be smoother without misplaced feelings of guilt.

how to tell if you're having a miscarriage

The only way to be sure about this is to get an ultrasound scan at the hospital. Some mums don't experience any symptoms at all, but the main signs of miscarriage are:

  • cramps and pain in your lower belly
  • weaker pregnancy symptoms (breast tenderness, morning sickness)
  • bleeding.

multiple miscarriages

Having more than one miscarriage is rare – affecting 1 in 100 women – but it can happen. If you've lost three or more pregnancies in a row it might point to an underlying health issue.


While it can be scary to confront this, it could help cure the problem. Some, like Hughes syndrome (a condition that causes blood clots) or a weak cervix, are entirely treatable.


It’s reassuring to know that three quarters of women who’ve had three miscarriages in a row do go on to have healthy babies in the future. So while it certainly won’t feel like it now, there’s still every chance of bringing a child safely to term.

what happens after miscarriage

There’s no wrong way to feel after losing a baby, but being able to process this however’s best for you is what matters most. Carrying your baby is an intensely personal experience and that can make opening up to partners, friends or family difficult. That’s why some women find groups like the Miscarriage Association (helpline number: 01924 200799) a comforting extension of their support system.


For others, the one-on-one approach of counselling might be more effective, but it’s all about what works for you. That’s true for both parents – your experience of bereavement will be completely unique so it’s important to keep a focus on your individual needs.

trying again after a miscarriage

It’s natural to lose interest in trying again for a baby for a while after miscarriage, and ‘a while’ will mean different things to different people. But it can be encouraging to know that the majority of couples who’ve suffered a miscarriage do go on to have healthy pregnancies in the future.


If you do feel ready, you can start trying for a baby once you've had one normal period. It’s also worth bearing in mind that NHS advice suggests avoiding sex until your miscarriage symptoms have gone. But as always, take it at your own pace – ultimately only you will know what feels right in the moment, so there’s no need to feel pressured by the experiences or advice of others.