Miscarriage epidemiology and demographics

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Determining the prevalence of miscarriage is difficult. Many miscarriages happen very early in the pregnancy, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Treatment of women with miscarriage at home means medical statistics on miscarriage miss many cases.[1] Prospective studies using very sensitive early pregnancy tests have found that 25% of pregnancies are miscarried by the sixth week LMP (since the woman's Last Menstrual Period).[2][3] The risk of miscarriage decreases sharply after the 8th week, i.e. when the fetal stage begins.[4]Clinical miscarriages (those occurring after the sixth week LMP) occur in 8% of pregnancies.[3]

The prevalence of miscarriage increases considerably with age of the parents. Pregnancies from men younger than twenty-five years are 40% less likely to end in miscarriage than pregnancies from men 25-29 years. Pregnancies from men older than forty years are 60% more likely to end in miscarriage than the 25-29 year age group.[5] The increased risk of miscarriage in pregnancies from older men is mainly seen in the first trimester.[6] In women, by the age of forty-five, 75% of pregnancies may end in miscarriage.[7]


  1. Everett C (1997). "Incidence and outcome of bleeding before the 20th week of pregnancy: prospective study from general practice". BMJ. 315 (7099): 32–4. PMID 9233324.
  2. Wilcox AJ, Baird DD, Weinberg CR (1999). "Time of implantation of the conceptus and loss of pregnancy". New England Journal of Medicine. 340 (23): 1796–1799. PMID 10362823.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wang X, Chen C, Wang L, Chen D, Guang W, French J (2003). "Conception, early pregnancy loss, and time to clinical pregnancy: a population-based prospective study". Fertil Steril. 79 (3): 577–84. PMID 12620443.
  4. Q&A: Miscarriage. (August 6 , 2002). BBC News. Retrieved January 17, 2007. Also see Lennart Nilsson, A Child is Born 91 (1990)(At eight weeks, "the danger of a miscarriage . . . diminishes sharply.")
  5. Kleinhaus K, Perrin M, Friedlander Y, Paltiel O, Malaspina D, Harlap S (2006). "Paternal age and spontaneous abortion". Obstet Gynecol. 108 (2): 369–77. PMID 16880308.
  6. Slama R, Bouyer J, Windham G, Fenster L, Werwatz A, Swan S (2005). "Influence of paternal age on the risk of spontaneous abortion". Am J Epidemiol. 161 (9): 816–23. PMID 15840613.
  7. Nybo Andersen A, Wohlfahrt J, Christens P, Olsen J, Melbye M (2000). "Maternal age and fetal loss: population based register linkage study". BMJ. 320 (7251): 1708–12. PMID 10864550.

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