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Miscarriage in Ireland

Miscarriage in Ireland

What was this project about?

Miscarriage in Ireland

Miscarriage is one of the most common complications in early pregnancy. It is estimated that approximately one out of five women will have a miscarriage throughout their reproductive lives. Despite the high prevalence of miscarriage and the biopsychological burden associated with experiencing miscarriage, there are several gaps in the literature. For example, there is a lack of standardisation of definitions and types of miscarriage worldwide. This high heterogeneity in cut-offs for defining miscarriage is limiting international comparisons of the evidence available. This is distorting the recording of data related to miscarriage in national and international health databases. Furthermore, little is known about the trends of hospital admissions for miscarriage and the non-fatal complications associated with it. In fact, there is no sufficient evidence of the validity of diagnosis of miscarriage in routinely collected health databases. In addition, although approximately 50% of miscarriages are linked to chromosomal anomalies, the underlying causes of miscarriage are still unclear for the remainder. Therefore, it is imperative to understand and identify causes and risk factors of unexplained miscarriage in order to develop effective treatments and promote healthy behaviours among the population.

The most well-established risk factors for miscarriage are advanced maternal age, previous pregnancy loss and parity. However, there is a need to identify risk factors in order to be able to prevent the likelihood of experiencing miscarriage. It is accepted that women who experience miscarriage suffer from psychological morbidity after the loss and in subsequent pregnancies. Nevertheless, further research is needed in order to obtain robust evidence on what specific group of women are more susceptible to develop psychological morbidity after miscarriage, what are the psychological and emotional changes during pregnancy after a miscarriage, and what are the effective non-pharmacological interventions to improve psychological wellbeing as well as future pregnancy outcome.

What was involved?

  • Determination of national trends in incidence and management of inpatient admissions for early miscarriage in the Republic of Ireland
  • Comparison of agreement for the diagnosis of miscarriage between three types of routinely collected hospital-based health records
  • Exploration of the risk factors associated with miscarriage among women attending an early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU)
  • Determination of barriers and facilitators when designing large-scale longitudinal studies
  • Identification of randomised controlled trials that assessed the effect of interventions to reduce stress, anxiety and depression in pregnant women with a history of miscarriage, via systematic review
  • Assessment of university student’s knowledge of basic reproductive health information about miscarriage via a cross-secional survey.

Who was involved?

Project team

Name Affiliation Role
Indra San Lázaro Campillo National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, UCC; Pregnancy Loss Research Group  PhD Student
Professor Keelin O'Donoghue Pregnancy Loss Research Group  Primary Supervisor
Dr Sarah Meaney  National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, UCC; Pregnancy Loss Research Group Co-supervisor

Dissemination activities

Journal articles

  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, McNamara K, O'Donoghue K. Psychological and support interventions to reduce levels of stress, anxiety or depression on women’s subsequent pregnancy with a history of miscarriage: an empty systematic review. BMJ Open. 2017;7:e017802.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, Sheehan J, Rice R, O'Donoghue K. University students' awareness of causes and risk factors of miscarriage: a cross-sectional study. BMC Womens Health. 2018;18(1):188.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, O’Donoghue K, Corcoran P. Ectopic pregnancy hospitalisations: A national population-based study of rates, management and outcomes. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2018;231:174-179.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, O’Donoghue K, Corcoran P. Miscarriage hospitalisations: a national population-based study of incidence and outcomes, 2005–2016. Reproductive Health. 2019;16:51.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, Corcoran P, Spillane N, O'Donoghue K. Risk factors for miscarriage among women attending an early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU): a prospective cohort study. Irish Journal of Medical Science. 2019;188:903-912.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, Sheehan J, Rice R, O'Donoghue K. Reproductive health knowledge about miscarriage: A cross-sectional study of university students. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2021;25(2):282-292.
  • San Lázaro Campillo I, Meaney S, Harrington M, McNamara K, Verling AM, Corcoran P, O'Donoghue K. Assessing the concordance and accuracy between hospital discharge data, electronic health records, and register books for diagnosis of inpatient admissions of miscarriage: A retrospective linked data study. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research. 2021;47:1987-1996.

Project status

Completed: 2016 to 2019 

Further information

Please email Dr Indra San Lazaro 

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,