Committed for Better Business

When I had my third consecutive miscarriage, I joined the ranks of the roughly 1% of fertile couples who experience recurrent early pregnancy loss, defined as three or more miscarriages in a row. It is an elite club that no one wants to be a member of. My husband, Kirk, and I went through every test imaginable to try to figure out why this kept happening, but to our dismay, no medical explanation was found.

One of my lowest moments came shortly after my third miscarriage when I was walking alone to the lab for more blood work. As I was looking at my medical records, I noticed that under my list of problems was the phrase “habitual abortionist.” It took me a moment to realize that I was the “usual abortionist” in question. I had read that recurrent miscarriage is also called “habitual abortion” and was repulsed by the term, but I naively never expected to be labeled this way. That label conjured up all kinds of negative images in my mind. I was already consumed with self-hatred and guilt over my miscarriages. Being labeled in a way that made me feel that medical professionals I trusted viewed me as someone who “habitually” and deliberately ended my pregnancies felt intolerable.

It was the final straw in my dealings with a doctor’s practice that I felt had treated me with disrespect and disdain for the last time. As low as I felt at the time, that spark of anger I felt on that miserable day was my first step in taking back my power. I promised myself that when I felt strong enough to try to get pregnant again, I would find a doctor who respected me, listened to me, and would work with me instead of seeing me as a problem to be fixed.

I spent the next six months doing a lot of complaint work and internal work. The book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christiane Northrup was a great help to me during this time. I also did a lot of research on what types of treatments can help create a positive pregnancy outcome for women who have had multiple miscarriages when no medical explanation can be found. I found a lot of exciting work in this area, but perhaps the most surprising research findings were the small number of studies that showed incredibly positive results for women who received strong positive support early in pregnancy.

Dubbed the TLC (Tender Loving Care) approach, the results were astounding. One study showed that among couples who experienced recurrent miscarriages where a medical cause could not be determined, women who received supportive counseling and psychological support during pregnancy had a subsequent pregnancy success rate of 86%, compared with a 33% success rate for women who received no pregnancy-specific advice or support. Another study found that TLC support in early pregnancy resulted in women who received such support having a 26% miscarriage rate in their next pregnancy, compared to a 51% miscarriage rate for those women that did not receive TLC support.

I was encouraged by these results and decided to find a doctor brimming with TLC. I was lucky to find a gem of a doctor who spent over an hour with me on my initial consultation visit. She let me cry as she explained the pain of enduring three miscarriages and gently pointed out that she was actually a force that could get pregnant so often and easily. I truly believe that my work with him, and a small nurse-midwife practice also abundant with TLC, were important factors in the success of my fourth and fifth pregnancies.


Clifford K, Rai R and Regan L (1997) Future pregnancy outcomes in recurrent unexplained first trimester miscarriages. Human Reproduction 12, 387-389.

Jauniaux E, Farquharson RG, Christiansen OB, and Exalto N (2006) Evidence-based guidelines for the investigation and medical management of recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction 21, No.9 2216-2222.

Stray-Pedersen B and Stray-Pedersen S (1984) Aetiological factors and subsequent reproductive performance in 195 couples with a history of habitual abortion. American Journal Obstetric Gynecology 148,140-146.

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