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Risk Factors for Miscarriage

What You Need to Know About Miscarriage Risk Factors


Updated July 17, 2014

Several risk factors might occur before or during pregnancy that can increase the likelihood of your pregnancy ending in a miscarriage. Some of these are things that you may have no control over, such as age or certain diseases. Other risk factors for pregnancy loss you do have some control over, like life style choices. Here are some facts from our Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Guide.

Medical Risk Factors

Pregnant women in waiting room.
Blend Images - Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
It has long been known that some chronic diseases lead to an increased rate of pregnancy loss. Women who have chronic hypertension or diabetes can have more risk factors in pregnancy that can include miscarriage. There are some other medical reasons why miscarriage might be more likely in your case.


Smoking can reduce the oxygen to the baby and cause chromosomal abnormalities in early pregnancy or other pregnancy related problems like low birth weigh and placenta previa. Even second hand smoke can have detrimental effects on your baby.


Studies go back and forth on whether or not to blame caffeine in pregnancy loss. Some recent studies indicate that higher levels of caffeine might play a part in pregnancy. Some mothers feel like this is one risk factor that they can control, so they do.


Take a look at some of the research and studies on stress and pregnancy loss. While we all feel stress, how much stress in pregnancy is enough stress to be a problem?

Toxic Chemicals

The most common place for a pregnant woman to be exposed to toxic chemicals is at work. Some chemicals are harmful and some aren't. Knowing what you are working with, discussing it will your practitioner and your boss are important factors to preventing toxic chemical related pregnancy loss.


Alcohol and miscarriage are something many people put together. One night of wild drinking before you knew you were pregnant is unlikely to cause a miscarriage, though any drinking can potentially cause fetal alcohol effects (FAE) or the more severe fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). When it comes to miscarriage, drinking five or more drinks per week is more the issue.

Low Folic Acid Intake

Is miscarriage caused by low folic acid intake or chromosomal abnormalities caused from low folic acid intake? Read more about this perplexing chicken and egg question.

Moms Over 35

In addition to the risks of chromosomal abnormalities due to "older" eggs, there is also the likelihood that women over 35 have chronic conditions.

Problems with Weight

Having a weight problem can influence your risks for miscarriage, both being underweight or obese. You should talk to your practitioner about these risk factors.

Previous History of Pregnancy Loss

Having had a previous miscarriage can increase the likelihood that you will miscarry again. The factors that can repeat might be anatomical, hormonal or genetic. Has your practitioner screened you for repeating factors?
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  6. Risk Factors for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss

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