Pregnancy Losses In Young Australian Women Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION: Little research has examined recognized pregnancy losses in a general population. Data from an Australian cohort study provide an opportunity to quantify this aspect of fecundity at a population level. METHOD: Participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health who were aged 28-33 years in 2006 (n = 9,145) completed up to 4 mailed surveys over 10 years. Participants were categorized according to the recognized outcome of their pregnancies, including live birth, miscarriage/stillbirth, termination/ectopic, or no pregnancy. RESULTS: At age 18-23, more women reported terminations (7%) than miscarriages (4%). By 28-33 years, the cumulative frequency of miscarriage (15%) was as common as termination (16%). For women aged 28-33 years who had ever been pregnant (n = 5,343), pregnancy outcomes were as follows: birth only (50%); loss only (18%); and birth and loss (32%), of which half (16%) were birth and miscarriage. A comparison between first miscarriage and first birth (no miscarriage) showed that most first miscarriages occurred in women aged 18-23 years who also reported a first birth at the same survey (15%). Half (51%) of all first births and first miscarriages in women aged 18-19 ended in miscarriage. Early childbearers (<28 years) often had miscarriages around the same time period as their first live birth, suggesting proactive family formation. Delayed childbearers (32-33 years) had more first births than first miscarriages. CONCLUSION: Recognized pregnancy losses are an important measure of fecundity in the general population because they indicate successful conception and maintenance of pregnancy to varying reproductive endpoints.

publication date

  • January 2009