Various factors increase the risk of miscarriage, including:

  • Age. Women older than age 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than do younger women. At age 35, you have about a 20 percent risk. At age 40, the risk is about 40 percent. And at age 45, it's about 80 percent. Paternal age also might play a role. Some research also suggests that women who become pregnant by older men are at slightly higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Previous miscarriages. Women who have had two or more consecutive miscarriages are at higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Chronic conditions. Women who have a chronic condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes, have a higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Uterine or cervical problems. Certain uterine abnormalities or weak cervical tissues (incompetent cervix) might increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a greater risk of miscarriage than do nonsmokers. Heavy alcohol use and illicit drug use also increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Weight. Being underweight or being overweight has been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Invasive prenatal tests. Some invasive prenatal genetic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, carry a slight risk of miscarriage.
Jul. 09, 2013

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