Miscarriages aren’t the most pleasant thing to think about, but they are common in the first trimester.
The odds of having one increase as you age: studies have found that about 9 percent of recognized pregnancies for women ages 20 to 24 ended in miscarriage. The risk rises to about 20 percent between ages 35 to 39, and to more than 50 percent by the age of 42.
Most of the time, for no reason other than the bad luck, some chromosomal or genetic information from the sperm or egg is lost during conception. When the needed genetic information isn’t there at the developmental stage that the fetus needs it to continue growing, you will miscarry. Certain infections also appear to play a role in some miscarriages.
For women with no vaginal bleeding, most estimates suggest that the odds or having a miscarriage after seeing a heartbeat are about 4 percent. For women with vaginal bleeding but also a detected heartbeat on ultrasound, risk of miscarriage is about 13 percent according to one study.
Many women miscarry more than once in their lives. About 1 in 36 women will have two miscarriages due to nothing more than chance. Most often they are unpreventable, and no cause is found.
Once a miscarriage is underway, unfortunately, there is not anything to be done to stop it. If you do experience any kind of bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, though, call your health care provider right away. If you worry that drinking, smoking, eating hot dogs or staying out late caused your miscarriage—don’t. Unless you’re a chronic alcoholic, crack addict or smoke a pack a day, your behavior is unlikely to be the cause.