When To Investigate A Miscarriage
Everyone experiences a miscarriage differently. Whether it's early on or late in pregnancy, a shock or expected, it can be a physical and emotional ordeal. For couples who have been struggling to conceive, or have experienced miscarriages in the past, it can feel especially painful. But when should pregnancy loss be investigated? And which tests are offered to women in this situation?
Unfortunately, miscarriages are common, happening in 1 in 4 pregnancies. Many women may miscarry before they even realise they are pregnant.
But recurrent miscarriages, defined as the loss of three or more consecutive miscarriages, are less common, happening to 1 in 100 women.
When to investigate
After a miscarriage, it is understandable that couples want to know exactly why it has happened to see if it could be prevented the next time around. But if this is the first or even second miscarriage under 10 weeks of pregnancy, you probably won't be offered an investigation.
"Miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy can be a devastating loss for parents and their families. Making sense of what has happened can take time and it is a deeply personal experience that affects everyone differently," Professor Lesley Regan, a miscarriage expert and president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), acknowledges.
"It's important that all women who suffer a late miscarriage are offered a referral to a specialist clinic for investigation. However, because early miscarriages are so common, the RCOG recommends couples are only offered investigations if they've had three or more first-trimester miscarriages."
This policy may seem frustrating, but early miscarriage is common and usually not a sign that something is wrong. Happily, most women will go on to have a successful pregnancy even after two miscarriages.
However, if you've experienced three or more consecutive early miscarriages, or a single miscarriage after 12 weeks, speak with your GP about getting investigated. They can arrange a referral to a specialist miscarriage clinic who will look into possible causes through a series of tests.