Pregnancy Loss


Many have heard of the term rainbow baby, but how many of you know what the term means?

Rainbow baby is a term used to describe a successful pregnancy after the loss of a previous pregnancy.

Up to 1 in 5 confirmed pregnancies result in a loss either by miscarriage or stillbirth. Up to 4 in 100 pregnancies result in an ectopic pregnancy. Up to 1 in 160 pregnancies result in stillbirth.


What is a miscarriage?

Miscarriage is the loss of a foetus before 20 weeks, however it is most common in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (the first trimester). Miscarriage happens when the pregnancy fails to progress. The body will pass the tissue through the vagina, similar to a period. If there is any retained pregnancy tissue or a missed miscarriage, medication or surgery is an option to empty the uterus of all the remaining tissue.


What is a missed miscarriage?

A missed miscarriage is when the foetus has stopped growing but the body has not released the products of the pregnancy. A missed miscarriage is an infection risk and does require medical assistance. medication or surgery is an option to empty the uterus.

What is a stillbirth?

A stillbirth is the death or loss of a baby before or during delivery. Stillbirth is classed when the foetus is past 20 weeks gestation. An early stillbirth occurs between 20 and 27 weeks, a late still birth occurs between 28 and 36 weeks and a term stillbirth occurs at 37 weeks or more. Unfortunately, when a stillbirth occurs, you still need to birth your baby.


What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This means the embryo will not be able develop into a baby as the fallopian tube is not large enough to support the growing embryo. If the pregnancy is left to develop for too long, you risk needing to have your fallopian tube removed. It most commonly occurs in the fallopian tube, however it can also occur in the abdominal cavity or in the cervix.


What causes a miscarriage?

Most parents do not ever find out the exact cause. However, it is known that miscarriages often happen because the baby fails to develop properly, usually due to a chromosomal abnormality that was spontaneous, not inherited. There is not enough study to prove a link between exercising, stress, working or having sex with the likelihood of a miscarriage.

Some known causes of miscarriages are:

  • hormonal abnormalities

  • immune system issues

  • blood clotting issues

  • thyroid issues

  • diabetes

  • severe infections causing high fevers

  • physical problems with your uterus or cervix

  • amniocentesis

  • chorionic villus sampling

What are the signs & symptoms of miscarriage?

  • lower abdominal pain

  • fluid loss through the vagina

  • blood, clots and pregnancy tissue loss through the vagina

  • relieved pregnancy symptoms

What causes stillbirth?

Majority of the time they are unable to find a cause for stillbirth but there are things that increase the risk of stillbirth.

  • placental abruption

  • clotting disorders

  • physical trauma

  • congenital abnormalities

  • premature birth

  • foetal growth restriction

  • diabetes

  • renal disease

  • heart disease

  • pre-eclampsia/eclampsia

  • birth complications

  • umbilical cord or placenta issues

  • advanced maternal age

  • infection

What are the signs & symptoms of stillbirth?

  • decreased foetal movement

  • strong abdominal pain or cramping

  • blood loss through the vagina

  • extreme dizziness

  • changes to vision

  • severe long-lasting headaches

  • sudden edema

  • severe nausea or vomiting

  • fever and/or chills

  • sensing something doesn't feel right

What causes an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb. It is not known exactly what causes an ectopic pregnancy, however there are known risk factors.

  • pelvic inflammatory disease

  • smoking

  • history of ectopic pregnancies

  • fertility treatment

  • pregnancies that occur while using an IUD contraceptive

  • pregnancies that occur while using the mini pill contraceptive

  • endometriosis

  • advanced maternal age

What are the signs & symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

  • pelvic pain/cramping on one side

  • blood loss through the vagina

  • bloating

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhoea

  • pain while passing urine

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