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What is miscarriage?

Miscarriages are common experiences during pregnancy. In Australia, a miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation.

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At a glance 

  • Miscarriage is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation
  • It is common, occurring in around 1 in 4 pregnancies
  • Recurrent miscarriage impacts 1-2% of women.
  • You can download our printable Understanding Miscarriage Fact Sheet.

Early miscarriage

An early miscarriage is one that happens in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester). Around 85% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Late miscarriage

Late miscarriage refers to a pregnancy loss between 13-20 weeks gestation or in the second trimester of pregnancy.  Sometimes definitions differ slightly. Pregnancy loss occurring in the second trimester is much less common, occurring in 1 to 2 in 100 women.


Stillbirth is the loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks. In Australia, six babies are stillborn every day.

Recurrent miscarriage

In Australia, recurrent miscarriage is currently defined as 3 or more miscarriages in a row. Around 1-2% of women experience recurrent miscarriage.

How common is miscarriage?

In Australia, statistics on miscarriage are not collected so it’s difficult to know exactly how common it is. Sometimes a miscarriage happens when a woman isn’t aware she is pregnant or believes it to be a late period. We know that miscarriages occur in at least 15% of confirmed pregnancies. The actual miscarriage rate is likely to be much higher – we estimate it to be around 1 in 4 pregnancies.

Based on these rates and the number of births each year, we estimate around 285 miscarriages occur every day in Australia.

Illustrated icon of 4 women with 1 woman highlighted in a different colour. This is indicating the statistic of 1 in 4 women.

Up to 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage

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Around 285 miscarriages occur every day

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In Australia, over 100,000 couples are affected by miscarriage every year

Last Updated: October 20th, 2022