The risk of miscarriage is greatest at the beginning of the pregnancy. Exactly what the numbers are is unclear. Some say that 1 out of 10 women get a miscarriage, but there are also figures that indicate that 1 out of 4 or even 1 out of 3 women gets a miscarriage. The figures have become a lot worse compared to the past, but that does not mean that miscarriages now occur more often.
Nowadays we can notice them earlier, for example because pregnancy tests have become more reliable. Women can already have a positive test after 4 days and that was only after a few weeks. In addition, more open about miscarriages is discussed than in the past and that is a nice development. Because even if you get a miscarriage after 1 week of pregnancy, it is always a big loss that needs to be processed.
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage means that the fertilized egg, embryo or fetus is rejected by the body. If the birth takes place before the 16th week of pregnancy, it is a miscarriage. If this happens between the 16th and 28th week of the pregnancy, there is no longer a miscarriage but one untimely birth. One speaks of one preterm birth if the child is born between the 28th and 37th week of pregnancy.
Experience blog: After 20 weeks of pregnancy I lost my daughter!
Chance of a miscarriage per week
Below is an overview of the chance of a miscarriage per week.
- Week 4, 5 and 6: the risk of miscarriage is highest in these weeks: over 12%.
- Week 7, 8 and 9: the probability is about 9 to 10%. If you have had an ultrasound during this period in which you heard the heart of your child, the chance of a miscarriage is smaller.
- Week 10, 11 and 12: 7.5 to 8% of women will have a miscarriage this week.
- Week 12 to 16: the chance is now only 5 to 8%
After the 16th week, the chance of a miscarriage is still very small. These are all numbers, of course, but getting a miscarriage is a terrible experience. Even if the chance is small after 16 weeks of pregnancy, it can still happen.
Read the story of this father who after 38 weeks gestation still lost his daughter.
Why the risk of miscarriage increases in the first weeks?
In the very first weeks, the chance of a miscarriage can already be 50%. This is because the fertilized egg, for example, is unable to nest in the uterine wall. For example, due to illness (flu), excessive alcohol consumption or medication use. Other causes of miscarriage in these first weeks are errors in cell division or in the growth of the fetus. Usually women do not have these miscarriages and probably did not even know they were pregnant.
In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy the organs, blood vessels and tissues are developed. If something goes wrong during this development of the fetus, this causes a miscarriage quickly. Nature has consciously arranged this. The babies probably had a genetic defect that would make them too weak to survive. The chances would have been great anyway that your baby would die at a later stage or just after birth.
Causes of miscarriage
Causes of miscarriage or preterm birth can not be clearly stated. Usually a miscarriage is dismissed as a 'mistake in nature'. Only when a woman has had several miscarriages in succession is an investigation done.
After two miscarriages, the chance of a third miscarriage has already increased by over 25%. After 3 miscarriages this is already 45%. It may be that something is wrong. For example in the chromosomes or there is a disease or abnormalities in the uterus.
Other causes of miscarriage:
- Age: the older you are, the greater the chance of a miscarriage. Up to 35 years, this probability is 10%, but from 35 years this is already 20%. If you want to become pregnant after the age of 40, the chance of a miscarriage is already 40%. This has to do with declining egg quality and less good hormone regulation
- Smoking: by smoking you are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have a miscarriage
- Drink excessive coffee
- Alcohol abuse (thus a lot of drinking alcohol)
- Use of medication (always indicate that you want to become pregnant with your doctor if you use medication)
- Stress: stress can double the chance of a miscarriage.
- Chromosome aberration.