Testing after a Pregnancy Loss

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MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3229
Testing after a Pregnancy Loss

Hi all,

One of the frequent questions that I field tends to be about testing after a loss. The standards by the American College of Obstetrics (ACOG) suggests no testing until after two or more *consecutive* losses. What my experience in talking with women has been is that many doctors do not offer testing until after 3, 4, or 5 losses. Some NEVER mention it to their patients.

The most common question we have in our minds after experiencing a pregnancy loss is "why"? It is true that many times there really isn't an evident answer. Physicians often point out that 50 % of pregnancy losses are the result of chromosomal abnormalities. Agreed. This percentage is especially more likely to be a cause in early loss.

What often goes unaddressed however is the obvious -- what about the other 50 %??

Preventing Pregnancy Loss points out the following staggering statistic: "An estimated 700,000 pregnancies are lost every year to treatable but undetected disorders."

Please understand that I am not posting this here to upset anyone. With my own (multiple) losses I was not offered testing despite having a doctor that I truly respect and trust. Through researching, I'm not sure in my situation that honestly it would have made a difference as there are certain factors unique to my situation that I believe contributed.

That said, I will likely not know that for sure.

I do want to share this information with other women here in order that you can read and research for yourself. Unfortunately, despite all the strides made in pregnancy health issues we still have to become armed with information to become our own advocates.

I do know that there are many now onsite that have had testing and -- in some cases have received treatment which enabled them to sustain a subsequent pregnancy. Of course there is no way of insuring that testing can pinpoint a reason or prevent future loss... but it may in some.

Darci Klein, founder of "Prevent Pregnancy Loss" and author of To Full Term: A Mother's Triumph over Miscarriage, exemplifies the loss experience shared by far too many women... far too many of US. (I will tell you that this book is both difficult to read and extremely validating over the emotional road of loss -- along with her positive notes as well! Despite reading it a few years ago it continues to touch me even today.) With Darci's story - after advocating for testing, she was diagnosed with two treatable disorders, Factor V Leiden and cervical incompetence.

What has been your experience? Were you offered testing following your loss(es)? If so, what type of testing did you have (if you recall)? This page offers some explanation on the types of testing that may be available.

deborah74's picture
Joined: 12/14/05
Posts: 698

THANK you so much for sharing this and your story Missy. I don't frequent this board as often as before but its been two years since my loss and i'm still needing support. Its comforting to know I can turn to this board at any time.

I asked my RE for testing, after a year of ttc afterwards... no further testing was offered for my m/c. However I already had a lap/hysteroscopy done one year later and it showed me to be healthy. I asked my gp about having toxomplasis (sp) testing done and i was refused it, told Its common for women with losses to look for reason but there is no reason other my baby was not formed properly.

I continue to ttc without success and it scares me to think I could loose my next chance.

Thank you for the book referral, I will check it out.


Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
M/C, Preg, and Child ment


Do not give up!!! I could not get pregnant even with help from an RE and went on to adopt our son from Korea. He is a blessing who will be 5 in July. He came home ion April 2005 months and about 9 months later I found out I was pregnant with Alex. He just turned two in November.
They say to relax and it will happen, of course at the time I wanted to shoot anyone who said that to me. But, I think once the pressure was off nature took over.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Missy, thanks for the book suggestion!!

After my first loss I did not ask for any testing, or feel the need for any. I felt it was just an unlucky fluke. My doc did test for rh incompatibility (as I am rh-). The second time I asked about testing, he said they typically do not test until 3 losses, because miscarriage is so common, but that if I really wanted testing done, we could. I trust him implicitly (as I have had a problem pregnancy-placenta previa prior, and he was great). I opted not to have testing done. But since we have been ttc for 9mo since our last loss, I recently had a 7dpo progesterone test done, and it showed to be a bit on the low side, which may have contributed to our losses. He did say after the first loss to do early betas and progesterone, but I really felt fine not doing those things, so I did not. This time around, I will for sure! Smile

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

IMHO, I think doctors wait is b/c we are finding out sooner and sooner that we are pregnant. In the past, women had losses all the time but did not know it b/c the technology was not there to detect it that early. These days we can find out after only 9-10 days after we conceive that we are pregnant. It is a blessing and and curse at the same time to find out so early.

No matter what, a loss is not your fault!!!

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

I agree Missy, truly a blessing and a curse.

AJsmommy's picture
Joined: 05/08/07
Posts: 289

I was offered testing after my first loss. I guess it was offered because it was a second trimester loss. My little boy had Trisomy 13. For my second loss, it was too early to do any testing (chemical) but my doctor speculated that it was probably a similar issue. He thinks it's just bad luck but even so he wants me in for betas and progesterone as early as possible next time. I appreciate that he is pro-active even though I agree that my losses were probably just bad luck.

Krlauren's picture
Joined: 09/18/08
Posts: 125

Thank you for posting this! I just had bloodwork done yesterday and posted this yesterday on a different board. I've had two losses, the first was an early loss and recently I lost our son just a couple days shy of 20 wks. Just like AJsmommy; I believe they were compliant with testing due to the fact that it was a later loss. I have a follow up in 2 weeks regarding the 10 tests they drew blood for. I will have to post an update then, however, from what I can tell most of the testing was for blood clotting.

Unfortunately, we do not have an explanation for our son's death. When I delivered him he was perfectly formed and beautiful. Per the Dr's opinions we decided not to do an autopsy and also declined a chromosone test. I only regret not doing a chromosone test, however, the dr. said that my earlier pre-natal tests came back favorable and that there were no physical signs of chromosone abnormalty.

In any case, I do not suspect we will ever know what happened but I wanted to complete these tests in order to lessen our fear in any future pgcy.

sunnycrest's picture
Joined: 11/13/05
Posts: 57

I had an M/C at around 6 weeks and was not offered any testing. However after my recent loss which was at 16 weeks they have done full testing of me, DH and a post mortem on my baby. We are waiting for the results on June 15th.