Can negative Rh factor cause miscarriages?

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

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Your question:
I am 24 and I have had two miscarriages six months apart. I have A-negative blood. Is the reason why I have miscarried because of my blood type? Also is there anything I can do when I try to conceive again to prevent me form miscarrying?

The expert answers:
Your blood type is unlikely to be a contributor to the miscarriages. It is very important that you receive Rhogam after any miscarriage to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn, but that condition is unrelated to your early losses.

Most miscarriages are random events. It is actually very difficult for all the chromosomes to divide and then line up exactly correctly. If that doesn't happen, then a miscarriage is likely to result. This occurs in 15 to 20 percent of all conceptions. Most people don't realize how common miscarriages are. Many of your friends have probably suffered miscarriages as well. Most of the time, when you try again, things will work out fine.

In your case, a second miscarriage occurred. This will happen to about 8 percent of couples, even if there is no specific problem with their ability to have a healthy pregnancy. At your age, there is an excellent chance that your next attempt at pregnancy will be okay.

All doctors recommend a work-up for recurrent miscarriages if a couple suffers three in a row. Doctors differ in their recommendations for women who have had two miscarriages. Since your chances of success with your next attempt are good, some doctors recommend trying again without any special testing first.

Others recommend some basic lab tests and ultrasound or X-rays. Emotionally, you may find it hard to try again without some assurances that the things that can be tested are okay. Talk to your own gynecologist about what he or she would recommend next.