What are the Different Types of Pregnancy Loss?

Understanding Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, Stillbirth, and Neonatal Loss

Although first-trimester miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, several other types exist.


Despite the name, a chemical pregnancy is not a false pregnancy or a false positive on a pregnancy test. In fact, it is a very early miscarriage. Doctors believe chemical pregnancies are usually caused by chromosomal abnormalities. 

You may be surprised to learn that some women who have a chemical pregnancy never even knew they were pregnant, as the bleeding from the pregnancy loss often occurs around the same time as a woman's period. That being said, home pregnancy tests are so good now at detecting hCG levels, that many women often find out they are pregnant very early. 



Ectopic pregnancies happen when a fertilized egg implants someplace other than in the uterus, such as in one of the fallopian tubes. Sometimes risk factors exist, but other times the cause is unknown. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include severe abdominal cramping and dizziness.



First-trimester miscarriage, sometimes called spontaneous abortion, is very common but also heartbreaking for most moms. It is normal to have a lot of questions about signs of miscarriage, diagnosis, miscarriage causes, treatment, and risk factors. Be sure to talk to your doctor, so your questions are answered and your worries are addressed. 



A blighted ovum is a miscarriage in which the baby does not develop, but a gestational sac continues to grow, and the woman may continue to experience pregnancy symptoms. A blighted ovum can be a missed miscarriage treated via D & C or may end naturally.



A missed miscarriage is a pregnancy loss, usually in the first trimester, in which the doctor diagnoses the miscarriage based on lab results or other clinical evidence, but the woman has not had definite miscarriage symptoms like bleeding or cramping. 



Molar pregnancy is a rare condition that causes pregnancy tissue to overgrow, and the fetus does not develop normally. Molar pregnancies never develop normally. The cause is a chromosomal abnormality that occurs at the time of fertilization. This type of pregnancy requires close followup with a woman's obstetrician after treatment.



Late miscarriages, such as those in the second trimester, can happen for a number of reasons. Some of these causes might be chromosomal abnormalities, cervical insufficiency, congenital birth defects, placental problems, or other factors.



Incompetent cervix is a medical condition in which the cervix dilates too early in the pregnancy, resulting in pregnancy loss or premature birth. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of an incompetent cervix, as well as what this condition means for future pregnancies. 



Stillbirth is the death of a baby in the womb before birth. If you have had a stillbirth, find answers to the most common questions about why stillbirths happen and issues that arise in the aftermath of having a stillborn baby.



Neonatal death refers to the loss of a newborn baby younger than 28 days old, which can be considered a pregnancy loss. The most frequent causes of neonatal infant loss are prematurity and birth defects.



Selective abortion is a divisive issue and a delicate matter for parents to consider when prenatal screening results in a diagnosis of a severe chromosomal condition with a poor medical prognosis.


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