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Breaking Down Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: A Comprehensive Guide

| 17 Jul 2023 | 1206 Views |


Oh, how wondrous is the miracle of life!” So, we often say. Yet, for many couples, the road to parenthood is fraught with challenges. Repeated miscarriages, known medically as recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), is one such heartrending hurdle. At India IVF Fertility Clinic, we accompany you on this journey, shedding light on the mysteries of recurrent pregnancy loss, helping you to navigate its choppy waters.

What is Recurrent Pregnancy Loss?

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, or RPL, is defined as the consecutive loss of two or more pregnancies before the 20th week of gestation1. Each loss is a journey of hope ended in sorrow, but understanding the reasons behind RPL is the first step towards prevention and effective treatment.

What Is The Likelihood Of Having Repeated Miscarriages?

One miscarriage is common, happening in about 15% of recognized pregnancies2. But repeated miscarriages? Less common. Around 1-2% of women will experience recurrent pregnancy loss. Although that might sound like small beans, it’s a sizable number of couples grappling with the heartache of pregnancy loss.

The Common Causes of Miscarriage/Pregnancy Loss

Like any complex machinery, pregnancy is a process with many moving parts. When one part falters, it can lead to miscarriage. Here are some common causes:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities: Like mismatched puzzle pieces, an incorrect number of chromosomes in the embryo can prevent it from developing correctly.
  • Structural issues with the uterus or cervix: Think of this as the housing problem of the womb, where structural issues can interfere with the growth and sustainability of the pregnancy.
  • Medical conditions in the mother: Certain illnesses like uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, or autoimmune diseases can increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Lifestyle factors: Smoking, drug use, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption – all these lifestyle factors can contribute to pregnancy loss.

Can Other Genetic Problems Cause Repeated Miscarriages?

Exploring Other Genetic Factors

While chromosomal abnormalities are the most common genetic cause of miscarriage, other genetic issues can play a part too. For instance, a parent may carry a balanced translocation, where no genetic material is gained or lost, but parts of the chromosomes have switched places. This can lead to an embryo with an unbalanced translocation, which can cause miscarriage.

How Medical Conditions Influence the Risk of Repeated Miscarriages?

Medical conditions in the mother, like autoimmune diseases, clotting disorders, or thyroid issues, can significantly influence the risk of repeated miscarriages. In particular, a condition called Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) is known to cause recurrent miscarriages.

How common are unexplained repeated miscarriages?

Unexplained recurrent miscarriages, where no clear cause is found even after thorough testing, account for around 50% of all recurrent pregnancy loss cases3. It’s like trying to solve a mystery without any clues. But fear not, even in such cases, with the right support and treatment, a successful pregnancy is still possible!

Diagnostic Tests for Couples with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Diagnosing the cause of RPL involves a battery of tests. These may include:

  • Genetic testing: To check for any chromosomal or genetic abnormalities.
  • Blood tests: To detect any underlying medical conditions.
  • Imaging tests: To identify any structural issues with the uterus or cervix.

The Chances of a Successful Pregnancy After Repeated Miscarriages

Even after repeated miscarriages, hope is not lost. The chances of a successful pregnancy after repeated miscarriages is surprisingly high, with around 60-70% of couples experiencing successful pregnancies following recurrent pregnancy loss4. So, don’t lose heart!

Unexplained Recurrent Miscarriages: When No Cause is Found

When it comes to recurrent miscarriages, not knowing the cause can feel like a double blow. However, even when no cause is found, treatments can still increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Treatment Options for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Treatment for RPL depends on the cause. Some possible treatments may include:

  • Correcting reproductive organ issues: Surgery may be needed to correct any structural issues with the uterus or cervix.
  • Medication: Certain conditions may be managed with medication to enhance the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Chromosome Translocations and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

When parents carry a balanced translocation, the risk of an unbalanced translocation in the embryo is high, leading to increased risk of miscarriage. Genetic counseling can help couples understand their risks and consider their reproductive options.

Treating Reproductive Organ Issues

Surgery to correct any abnormalities in the uterus or cervix can often significantly reduce the risk of recurrent pregnancy loss.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Pregnancy

Antiphospholipid Syndrome, a disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks normal proteins in the blood, can cause recurrent miscarriages. Proper management with medication can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.


Navigating the stormy seas of recurrent pregnancy loss can be a heart-wrenching journey. Yet, with understanding and proper treatment, there’s a beacon of hope for a successful pregnancy. At India IVF Fertility Clinic, we walk with you every step of the way on this journey, offering expert care and guidance to turn the tides in your favor.


Recurrent pregnancy loss refers to the consecutive loss of two or more pregnancies before the 20th week of gestation.

Approximately 1-2% of women will experience recurrent pregnancy loss.

Common causes include chromosomal abnormalities, structural issues with the uterus or cervix, medical conditions in the mother, and certain lifestyle factors.

Yes, genetic issues, such as chromosomal abnormalities or balanced translocations in parents, can lead to repeated miscarriages.

Medical conditions like autoimmune diseases, clotting disorders, thyroid issues, and Antiphospholipid Syndrome can increase the risk of repeated miscarriages.

Approximately 50% of all recurrent miscarriages remain unexplained after thorough testing.

Even after recurrent pregnancy loss, the chances of a successful pregnancy are high, with around 60-70% of couples experiencing successful pregnancies.

Treatment options may include surgery to correct reproductive organ issues, medication to manage certain conditions, and genetic counseling for parents with balanced translocations.

About The Author
Dr. Richika Sahay

MBBS (Gold Medalist), DNB (Obst & Gyne), MNAMS, MRCOG (London-UK), Fellow IVF, Fellow MAS, Infertility (IVF) Specialist & Gynae Laparoscopic surgeon,[Ex AIIMS & Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi]. Read more

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