Dealing with a Late Miscarriage

sad womanEvery pregnant woman knows that in the first trimester, there is always the off chance that a miscarriage can happen. In fact, many women move into the pregnancy with a sense of caution that mimics walking through a pasture during a lightning storm. But for many women, miscarriage happens beyond the first trimester.

A late miscarriage is one that occurs during the second trimester or between weeks 14 and 24. After 24 weeks, a fetus is considered medically viable, which is why the term late miscarriage has been created. Beyond 24 weeks, losing a baby would be called a stillbirth and would require a full delivery.

Late loss in pregnancy is most often due to a chromosomal abnormality with the fetus. As the fetus develops and vital organs begin developing, many of these chromosomal abnormalities will occur causing an end to the life of a fetus. They also occur because of problems with the umbilical cord, genetic discrepancies, or structural problems within the major organs of the body. If a baby dies in utero, doctors can identify the cause and can even draw blood from the umbilical cord to determine whether the problem is one due to genetics (making it more probable in a subsequent pregnancy) or just a problem with the developing baby. If you have suffered a late miscarriage, it is important to ask physicians to perform a karyotype and have it assessed by a genetic doctor.

Late miscarriage can also occur due to infection in the mother or baby that gets into the amniotic fluid. Often, these are hard to diagnose early on when medications could be given and cause the fetus to go intro distress. There are several types of known bacterial infections that attack amniotic fluid. These infections are rare and can often be assessed with proper prenatal care and pregnancy well checks. It is very rare that they would occur twice in one person.

A weak cervix or uterine abnormalities can also be a problem causing late miscarriage. If the uterus is misshapen or is unable to conform to the growing baby, a baby will be unable to grow properly. Similarly, if a cervix is weakened from surgery or injury and a succlage has not been performed, the mother will go into labor too quickly. Most of the time doctors can tell through ultrasound and check-ups if there are problems and bed rest for either may be required from around the 18-week mark. Some women carry antibodies known as antiphospholipids that are from past illnesses which also cause late miscarriage. If this is suspected, aspirin therapy before conception is normally recommended.

Most disheartening is that often women in the second trimester who suffer loss do not know that they miscarried right away. The baby is still very small and movements are not as pronounced as they are after the 2nd trimester. However, you should start to become accustomed to the way your belly feels and the way your baby moves. If you do not feel any movement, it is best to err on the side of caution and have it checked out immediately. Lie down on your left side, eat or drink something very sweet, and see if you can get your baby to move. Also, if you feel – just through intuition that something isn’t right – require your doctor to do an ultrasound. Too often, mother’s instinct is overlooked.

All miscarriages are heartbreaking. When they happen it doesn’t matter why, how, when, or what – it just hurts. In the moment, you will not understand why you had to suffer such a loss nor will you be able to make sense of the situation. However, late miscarriages are very rare. Less than 1 out of 78 women suffer 2nd trimester miscarriages, and in those, most women have a known medical illness that makes them susceptible.

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While you could spend the entirety of your pregnancy worrying and wondering if everything is okay, you will do nothing but drive yourself crazy. Instead, try to relax, take care of yourself, and do your best to ease your fears so that you can enjoy these very special months.

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Dealing with a Late Miscarriage

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6 comments

  1. Jessica says:

    To all the moms commenting on this, thanking god this wasn’t their story…just stop. You are not helping. Deal with your happy healthy pregnancy, don’t try to act like you have these fears, because for moms who have gone through this, it doesn’t help. I lost my baby at 21 weeks to potters syndrome two weeks ago, and quite frankly, I have no sympathy for your fears. Get over yourselves, handle your healthy, happy families and quit trying to “put yourself in this situation,” because quite frankly, I would kill to be in your shoes, and you would kill to avoid being in mine.

  2. Julie says:

    After months of hormone injections, blood tests, sperm checks etc we fell pregnant by chance via a last minute AI. I had already had an early miscarriage in 2012 at 8 weeks, so you can imagine the joy we experienced knowing we were pregnant again. Although we were nervous for every test and scan that was required, things were going perfect. We decided we were blessed and didn’t want to know the sex as it would be a blessing for either a boy or girl. We went for our 19 week scan and saw baby moving around, big feet and had my nose. On Saturday I started to bleed.

    We rushed to the hospital to be told I was 2cm dilated and that my body was trying to miscarry. We still had a scan to check on baby , who was fine and moving around as normal. I was put on bedrest in hospital and a few drugs to prevent miscarriage.

    On Monday 19 August I was 3 cm dilated and scheduled for an emergency procedure to put in a stitch, altho was given a small success rate. We wanted to know the sex of the baby and were told it was a girl.

    An hour later my water broke. It was the most shocking horrific experience as I tried desperately to stop it, but it just kept pouring out. I was told it was too late to do anything and they would have to induce labour.

    I had contractions for 4 hours with no epidural as I had other meds earlier which would compromise the epidural. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. My husband was with me for every second as we used that time to say goodbye to the little girl we were never honored to meet.

    I am truly heart broken and trying to move on. Half of me is the angry, upset, why us person…and the other half just wants to get better wackily both mentally and emotionally and get back to the fertility clinic to start again. I just need that hope to keep me strong. I need something to motivate me.

    It’s always hard hearing what people tell you, like today somebody told me my work stress was too much…how does that help one deal with the loss. I just blame myself even more.

    So to all those very special preggy ladies out there…always be on your guard, regardless of what stage you are at. Enjoy it and know you are truly blessed.

  3. I pray that my little one is born into this world healthy .

  4. i’m blessed with two healthy babies and pregnant with number 3 due in october

  5. amanda says:

    i almost lost my first baby

  6. McKenzie says:

    This is very scary I am just blessed my baby is healthy, to all the moms who have lost one I am so very sorry my heart goes out to you all.

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