- Highest Risk Week
- What Is
- Risk Factors
- Signs and Symptoms
What week is the highest risk of a miscarriage?
Early pregnancy loss is defined as a nonviable intrauterine pregnancy with either an empty gestational sac or a gestational sac containing an embryo or a fetus without fetal heart activity within the first six to seven weeks of pregnancy. This means that a miscarriage may occur if pregnancy fails to progress due to either an empty gestational sac or a lack of fetal heart activity in an embryo. The incidence of a miscarriage in the first six weeks is as high as 31%.
The risk of a miscarriage decreases by 10% after the pregnancy crosses six weeks. Once the fetal heart activity is established after six weeks, there is a decreased chance of failed pregnancy.
Early second-trimester pregnancy loss or late miscarriages occur after 13 and before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The incidence of second-trimester pregnancy loss is less than 1%.
Stillbirth or fetal death: Pregnancy loss that occurs at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy or at a weight of 350 grams (about ¾ of a pound) or greater is generally referred to as a stillbirth or fetal death. The approximate rate of stillbirth in the United States is 6 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths.
What is a miscarriage?
Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion, is a spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week. Half of pregnancies may end in a miscarriage. Women who experience miscarriages may subsequently have a healthy pregnancy later.
What causes a miscarriage?
Chromosomal abnormalities are one of the major causes of a miscarriage. Other causes include
- Maternal age
- Uterine abnormalities
- Hormonal irregularities
- Infections such as herpes, syphilis or listeriosis
- Incompetent cervix (cervix dilates too early during pregnancy without pain or contractions)
- Improper implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine lining
- Blighted ovum (embryo implants in the uterus but doesn’t develop into a baby)
- Intrauterine fetal demise (embryo stops developing and dies)
- Molar pregnancy (tissue in the uterus forms into a tumor)
- Translocation (when part of a chromosome moves to another chromosome)
- Septate uterus (band of muscle called septum divides the uterus into two sections)
- Asherman syndrome (scars in the uterus that can damage the lining of the uterus)
Who is at a risk for a miscarriage?
Factors that may increase the risk of a miscarriage include
- History of two or more previous miscarriages
- Over the age of 35 years old
- Drinking alcohol
- Drug abuse
- Being exposed to harmful chemicals
- Autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus
- Hormonal problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Preexisting diabetes
- Thyroid problems
- Prenatal tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling
- Caffeine consumption
- Congenital heart disease
- Severe kidney disease
- Severe malnutrition
- Certain medications such as Accutane (isotretinoin)
What are the signs and symptoms of a miscarriage?
Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage include
- Bleeding from the vagina or spotting
- Period-like cramps
- Severe abdominal pain
- Low backache ranging from mild to severe
Call the physician if you observe these symptoms of infection after a miscarriage
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
March of Dimes
Top What Week Is the Highest Risk of a Miscarriage Related Articles
How Do I Know If I'm Having a Miscarriage?The loss of a baby within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is called a miscarriage. Most women, especially during early pregnancy, will experience a miscarriage that is similar to heavy periods with slightly more cramping and bleeding than usual. It’s also common to have vaginal bleeding and pass large blood clots up to the size of a lemon.
How Long Does a Miscarriage Last?A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of conceiving. It’s also called pregnancy loss or spontaneous abortion. Every miscarriage is different, and the experience varies from person to person.
Miscarriage is the medical term for the spontaneous loss of pregnancy from conception to 20 weeks gestation. Risk factors for a woman having a miscarriage include cigarette smoking, older maternal age, radiation exposure, previous miscarriage, maternal weight, illicit drug use, use of NSAIDs, and trauma or anatomical abnormalities to the uterus. There are five classified types of miscarriage: 1) threatened abortion; 2) incomplete abortion; 3) complete abortion; 4) missed abortion; and (5 septic abortion. While there are no specific treatments to stop a miscarriage, a woman's doctor may advise avoiding certain activities, bed rest, etc. If a woman believes she has had a miscarriage, she needs to seek prompt medical attention.