When you're trying to get pregnant, there are few things more heartbreaking than a miscarriage. But it's a heartbreak that is incredibly common, affecting one in five women. While some causes of a miscarriage are out of your control, the good news is that there are still many things you can do to reduce your risk -- and increase your chances of having a healthy and successful pregnancy.
Understand the Odds
All the experts agree: miscarriage, a pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks, is common. One in five women can expect to experience a miscarriage at least once in her lifetime, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an OB-GYN affiliated with Mount Kisco Medical Group in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., and author of V is for Vagina. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, mostly in the first 13 weeks. (Often women don't even know they are pregnant and experience the miscarriage as a heavy period.) For women under age 35, the risk is 15 percent. For women between the ages of 35 and 45, the risk increases to 20 to 35 percent. Over 45, it spikes to 50 percent. If you've had one miscarriage already, your risk is 25 percent.