First trimester miscarriage evaluation

Semin Reprod Med. 2011 Nov;29(6):463-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1293200. Epub 2011 Dec 8.


Miscarriage is a relatively common occurrence for otherwise healthy women. Despite its frequency, evaluation for cause is rare. The most common cause of miscarriage is sporadic chromosome errors. Chromosomal analysis of the miscarriage offers an explanation in at least 50% of cases. Conventional cytogenetic evaluation can only be done on fresh tissue, so it is critical that the treating physician consider genetic testing at the time of the miscarriage. Ultrasound can estimate the gestational age at the time of miscarriage and identify major abnormalities in some embryos. A careful pathological examination can add to the evaluation by ruling out rare disorders with the highest recurrence risk. A multidisciplinary approach to miscarriage evaluation is essential to understanding the cause and risk of recurrence. A thorough evaluation of a miscarriage, in combination with emotional support, can often provide the necessary reassurance and confidence as the patient prepares for her next pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aborted Fetus / blood supply
  • Aborted Fetus / metabolism
  • Aborted Fetus / pathology*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous* / diagnosis
  • Abortion, Spontaneous* / diagnostic imaging
  • Abortion, Spontaneous* / genetics
  • Chorionic Villi / pathology
  • Chromosome Aberrations* / embryology
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16
  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Decidua / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Monosomy
  • Mosaicism / embryology
  • Placenta / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / genetics
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First / metabolism
  • Trisomy
  • Ultrasonography

Supplementary concepts

  • Chromosome 16, trisomy