Epidemiological studies have suggested that the condition of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) may be multifactorial, with both genetic predisposition and environmental factors potentially involved in its pathogenesis. The aim of this study is to elucidate the associations between maternal folate, alcohol and energy metabolism-related gene polymorphisms and the risk of RPL. This case–control study, which involved 116 cases with two or more instances of RPL and 306 fertile controls, was performed in the city of Sapporo, Japan. The associations between eight single nucleotide polymorphisms of folate, alcohol and energy metabolism-related genes [methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase (MTR), 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase reductase (MTRR), alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B), aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), beta-3-adrenergic receptor (ADRB3) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG)], and RPL were assessed. Without consideration of cigarette smoking or alcohol use, the risk of RPL significantly decreased in women with the MTHFR rs1801133 TT, MTR rs1805087 AG or ALDH2 rs671 AA genotype (P < 0.05). The risk of RPL associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol use decreased significantly in women carrying the MTHFR rs1801133 T allele [odds ratio (OR), 0.51; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.27–0.95]. Similarly, the risk of RPL significantly decreased in women carrying the MTR rs1805087 G allele (OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.23–0.85). Our findings suggest that maternal gene polymorphisms related to folate metabolism may decrease the risk of RPL. Molecular epidemiological studies are needed to unequivocally elucidate the multifactorial effects of both genetic and environmental factors on human fecundity.