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Categories > Pregnancy and Childbirth > Pregnancy complications

Minimize your risk of miscarriage

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of losing a genetically normal baby. One study found that women who smoked were about twice as likely to miscarry—regardless of age or if they drank alcohol.
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages. Having an alcoholic drink twice a week doubled the risk of miscarriage in one study, while drinking every day tripled the risk.
  • Pass on the caffeine. Consuming large amounts of caffeine—more than four cups of coffee a day or its equivalent—increases the risk of late first-trimester or second-trimester miscarriage. The risk seems to rise with the amount of caffeine consumed.
  • Protect your abdomen. Avoid contact sports that put you at risk of colliding with someone or falling on your abdomen.
  • Get your doctor’s permission before taking any medication. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs have been associated with miscarriage.
  • Don’t get unnecessary prenatal tests. Some prenatal tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling, may slightly increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • Avoid handling raw meat and used cat litter. Both can contain an organism called Toxoplasma that can cause miscarriage.
  • Avoid contact with toxic materials, such as harsh cleaning solutions, paint fumes, certain garden fertilizers and pesticides.