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Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. It occurs in about 15% of all pregnancies. Many miscarriages take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, sometimes even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Miscarriage is often an upsetting event and with repeated miscarriages, a woman or a couple can find themselves on an emotional roller coaster.


The recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) Program assists women and couples experiencing three or more miscarriages, a late pregnancy loss or women over 35 with 2 miscarriages. A team of health professionals, including doctors, nurses, technologists and counselors work together in the RPL Program. As well, this team often teaches other health care colleagues about recurrent pregnancy loss. The Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program provides care for women and couples from throughout British Columbia.

Some Questions We Will Try to Answer For You

· What are the causes of your miscarriages?
· What tests or procedures are recommended?
· What are possible treatments?
· Is there emotional support?
· What about the next pregnancy?

Some Reasons For Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

· Chromosome Problems
· Hormonal Factors
· Problems with the uterus
· Immune system disorders

There is sometimes more than one reason for recurrent pregnancy loss so investigations need to be complete. There may be other causes we cannot yet identify.

Possible Tests and Procedures
(Many are done at the Women's Health Centre)

· Blood tests
· Hysterosalpingogram: (an x-ray of the uterus and tubes)
· Endometrial biopsy: (a sample of the lining of the uterus)
· Hysteroscopy: (looking inside the uterus)
· Laparoscopy: (looking inside the abdomen)

Investigations can often take about two months. When all the information is gathered, the physician will then discuss possible treatment options with you.
What To Expect

The Women's Health Centre clerk will call you to set up an appointment when we receive a referral letter from your family physician or specialist. The nurse clinician will then contact you to discuss your history and gather information.

Allow about two hours for your first appointment. We strongly encourage women to bring their partner (or support person). The physician will review your history and do a physical exam. Possible tests and procedures will be discussed. There will be lots of time to ask questions.

Emotional Support

The loss of pregnancy can result in feelings of grief. For many, the emotional healing that follows a pregnancy loss takes longer than the physical healing. Your feelings of grief may be different from those of your partner and the healing process may progress at a different speed.

Counseling may help one or both of you. You can attend the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss program support group or attend a group in your community.

What About the Next Pregnancy?

Future pregnancies would be planned, diagnosed early and watched carefully. The sooner prenatal care is started, the sooner you can receive any special care that you may need. Many women and couples find that the next pregnancy is a time of heightened anxiety and fear. Early close monitoring may help to relieve some of this. Our counselor may also be of assistance. Ongoing obstetrical care will be arranged through your referring physician at about 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Research about recurrent pregnancy loss is ongoing so that new diagnostic and treatment methods are gradually being developed. The Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program is committed to research in this area. You may wish to consider being part of one of these research projects.


The Women's Health Centre has books and pamphlets about miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss for you to read. The Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program can also provide a list of individual counselors and community support groups.

Finally - For the Future

Even if a couple has had many pregnancy losses, a healthy successful pregnancy still may be possible. The Recurrent Pregnancy Loss team is dedicated to working with you to help achieve a successful pregnancy.