A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation, and occurs in 10 to 15 percent of all known pregnancies. When pregnancy loss occurs two or more times in a row, it may be called recurrent miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss.

Overview and Symptoms

Even with all of the medical advancements surrounding fertility, recurrent miscarriage remains somewhat of a mystery. 

Some conditions in the mother have been linked to a greater risk of repeated miscarriage, including Lupus and other autoimmune disorders, severe kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. It does not seem to be related to advanced maternal age (though the mother's age is associated with spontaneous miscarriage), and rarely is it something hereditary.

There is no evidence that recurrent miscarriage is linked to exercise, intercourse, stress, cleaning products, paint, or low-level exposure to almost anything in the environment.


A woman who has experienced two consecutive first-trimester miscarriages (or a late second-trimester miscarriage) should see a specialist for further testing. This often includes a physical exam and blood work on both partners to look for clotting anomalies, autoimmune disease, and to evaluate endocrine function and thyroid levels, among other things.

These tests will provide answers in only about 50 percent of cases. But even if you don't get a definitive answer, most couples with recurrent miscarriage will go on to have a successful pregnancy.

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The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BIDMC provides outstanding care for all women throughout their lives, in a friendly, comfortable and safe environment.

Obstetrics and Gynecology