Dealing with Miscarriage and Other Forms of Pregnancy Loss

Threatened Miscarriage
Threatened Miscarriage. Photo © A.D.A.M.

Pregnancy Loss:

Pregnancy loss is defined as the loss of a pregnancy at any point before birth. It can be at a very early point in the first trimester due to miscarriage or near the end of pregnancy as a stillbirth. Each type of pregnancy loss is different and is experienced differently for each family suffering the grief of that loss.


Miscarriage is usually defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation, about the half way point, before your baby can survive outside of the uterus. The vast majority of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Sometimes they are caused by a blighted ovum, or egg that failed to develop.

Tubal Pregnancy:

Tubal pregnancy is also know as an ectopic pregnancy. This is a pregnancy that grows outside of the uterus, most frequently in the fallopian tube. Since other structures are not capable of carrying a growing baby, the pregnancy is doomed. This can be a very serious and often life threatening situation for the woman.

Preterm Labor:

Preterm labor does not always lead to preterm birth, but when it does, there is a greater chance of neonatal death.

When a baby is born early, it is unable to survive as well and faces extra challenges from the premature birth. Even with vast amounts of technology we cannot always save these early babies.


After the midpoint of pregnancy, around 20 weeks, if your baby dies for any reason before birth, it is said to be still born.

The stillbirth rate is about 1% of all pregnancies. Birth is usually induced right away, though not always.


After a pregnancy loss you may feel very numb and not know what to do. Seek help from a group of parents in similar situations, your hospital should be able to help point you in the right direction. There are other ways such as memorial services and grief counseling that work well. Others find that individual counseling is helpful. Doing what is best for your family will be what you need.

Family Issues:

If someone you know has had a pregnancy loss, you may not know what to say or do. You may worry about how to act around them or be unsure of what they want you to to help them. The best advice is to always ask what you can do to help.

Having Another Baby:

Many families go on to try again. Having a pregnancy after any type of pregnancy loss is often very scary for you and your family.

You may need to have extra visits with your doctor or midwives to help you emotionally deal with being pregnant again. Be calm and patient with yourself and each other.

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