Some pregnancies end in loss.
- Even though most pregnancies are problem-free, about one in four pregnancies ends in loss.
- The risk of miscarrying in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is between 15 and 20 percent. It is less common for a loss to occur later in pregnancy.
It is important that women seek medical care right away in the case of a miscarriage or stillbirth.
- When a woman miscarries (the pregnancy ends before 20 weeks’ gestation) or has a stillbirth (gives birth to an infant with no signs of life at or after 20 weeks’ gestation), she needs immediate medical care to prevent complications.
- There are increased risks of bleeding and/or infection, which may put the woman’s health in danger.
If a woman has experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant, a visit with her health care provider can provide support and information.
A health care provider may be able to:
- Help cope with grief. The death of a fetus or baby may be the first major crisis many individuals or couples go through. Grief is a normal, healthy, healing, and loving response to the loss of a loved one.
- Explain why the pregnancy ended or why the baby did not survive.
- Discuss with the woman and her partner if and when they may want to become pregnant again.
- Explore the risk of this happening in a future pregnancy.
- Assist with accessing support or formal therapy.
- Help describe their loss to other siblings, family members, friends, and co-workers.