Many women experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, and these are two types of pregnancy loss that can be very difficult to deal with. Miscarriage and stillbirth are both incredibly sad events, but they are different in many ways. Each woman reacts differently to their loss and there’s no right way to feel about it, but it’s important to know what constitutes each term so you can understand what happened during this time in your life.
What is Stillbirth?
Stillbirth is a pregnancy that ends with the death of the fetus. The term “stillbirth” does not refer to a baby who is born prematurely or at an early gestational age, but rather one who dies in utero after 20 weeks of gestation. Stillbirth is also known as intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD). In the United States, stillbirths account for 10% of all infant deaths. Stillbirth is used to describe the death of an infant during the final stages of pregnancy or during delivery. A stillborn baby is one who has died in the womb after 20 weeks of gestation, with no signs of life outside the womb. Stillbirth is often referred to as an “umbilical cord accident,” which means that it occurs at or around the time that the umbilical cord is cut.
Stillbirth can be divided into two categories: early stillbirth (before 28 weeks gestation) and late stillbirth (28 or more weeks). Early stillbirth is much more common than late stillbirth, but they are also the most difficult to pinpoint a cause for.
What is the cause of Stillbirth?
The cause of stillbirth is often unknown, and it can be hard to determine why a baby died. Stillbirth may happen because of genetic disorders or placental problems, but it can also result from infections or hormonal issues that affect the mother’s body. Newborns who are stillborn may have died from these conditions:
- Genetic disorders in the fetus
- Maternal health conditions
- Infections like toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, and syphilis
- Placental problems (such as an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck)
Stillbirth is also known as intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD), intrapartum fetal demise (IFD), birth asphyxia, or sudden intrauterine unexplained death in infancy (SUDI).
What are the symptoms of Stillbirth?
The symptoms of stillbirth include:
- No movement. The baby is not moving around in the womb, or you may feel like your baby has stopped growing.
- No heartbeat. You can hear it beating on an ultrasound, but it’s not there when you perform an external examination of your abdomen.
- No breathing or other activity from the fetus, such as sucking its thumb or swallowing amniotic fluid (this can be seen during routine ultrasounds).
- No amniotic fluid around your baby
How do we prevent Stillbirth?
In order to avoid stillbirth, it is essential that you take the following precautions:
- Avoid alcohol and smoking. Alcohol and cigarettes can increase your risk for low-birth weight babies.
- Get regular prenatal checkups. Prenatal care helps detect problems early on, so you can receive proper treatment and reduce the risk of stillbirth. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise during pregnancy to ensure that both mother and child stay healthy throughout the course of their nine months together.
- Avoid stress in your life as much as possible; try not to overwork yourself or place yourself under undue amounts of pressure at work or at home life so that you won’t be stressed out while pregnant with your baby.
What is Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. The chance of such mishap for first pregnancies ranges from 10-20%, with about half of those occurring within the first eight weeks. For subsequent pregnancies, approximately 15% will miscarry. It is one of the most common complications in women between 15 and 45 years old. It occurs when there are chromosomal abnormalities (abnormalities in genes) in the baby’s genome (the full set of genetic information), usually resulting in fatal defects such as undeveloped organs or missing limbs.
Miscarriage can also be caused by infections such as rubella or cytomegalovirus (CMV), uterine problems like polyps or fibroids that invade the uterine wall, and other factors such as poor nutrition and high-stress levels during early pregnancy.
What is the cause of Miscarriage?
The following are some of the causes of miscarriage:
- Chromosomal abnormalities. The baby’s body doesn’t develop properly because it has abnormalities in its chromosomes. These are passed on from the parents and can cause miscarriage.
- Faulty sperm. If your husband’s sperm isn’t normal, this can affect your chances of having a healthy baby. There is no way to check for this before you become pregnant, but it is worth discussing with your doctor when you’re trying for a baby or once you know you are pregnant so they can refer you to an expert if needed.
- Infections such as rubella (German measles) can lead to such mishaps too if contracted in early pregnancy as it can cause major damage to an unborn child’s body and brain.
- Imbalance of hormones: In some cases, hormones just don’t work properly during pregnancy which leads to problems like ectopic pregnancies whereby the embryo implants somewhere other than inside the womb (uterus). This usually happens because there isn’t enough progesterone produced by an egg being fertilized so that implantation does not occur in its proper place – instead it occurs outside where there is no nourishment for survival until the birth time arrives.
What are the symptoms of Miscarriage?
If you have had a miscarriage, you may experience some of the following symptoms.
- Bleeding – You may notice blood-tinged vaginal discharge or spotting.
- Cramping – Discomfort in your lower abdomen that comes and goes. The cramping worsens as the miscarriage progresses and can last for several days.
- Vaginal Discharge – A small amount of pink or brownish fluid coming out of your vagina along with normal menstrual bleeding during early pregnancy is not unusual, but when it happens after 12 weeks and is accompanied by any other symptoms listed above, there’s a good chance that it’s due to a such mishap.
- Abdominal Pain – Tenderness or pain in your lower abdomen that increases over time and gets worse when moving around or coughing/sneezing/laughing (please note: discomfort anywhere else—like your back—should not be confused with abdominal pain). This symptom typically begins within two weeks before the end of pregnancy; however, some people report feeling mild cramps at eight weeks gestation (though this shouldn’t be considered severe).
How do we take preventive measures for Miscarriage?
- Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs.
- Make sure to get enough sleep and rest.
- Avoid working long hours in stressful conditions.
- Avoid having sex without protection (condom).
- Eat healthy food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients like folic acid which are necessary for the development of your baby during pregnancy.
Differences between Stillbirths and Miscarriage.
While stillbirth and miscarriage are technically the same things, there are some differences between them.
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. It can be caused by genetic abnormalities in the fetus or by complications during pregnancy, such as preterm labor or placental abruption. Miscarriage is typically less common than stillbirth—only one percent of pregnancies end in such mishaps.
A stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks of gestation and involves fetal death (usually due to complications). Approximately 15% of all pregnancies result in stillborn babies; however, it’s important to note that not all deaths count as stillbirth! For example: If your baby dies within 24 hours of being born but was born alive at least once during labor (and then died) this would be considered a birth rather than a death since he/she never lived outside his/her mother’s womb for any amount of time.
The main difference between miscarriage and stillbirths is when they happen: Miscarriage happens before 20 weeks gestation while Stillbirth happens after 20 weeks gestation.
The cause of such a tragedy can be determined in most cases, while the cause of stillbirth is often unknown.
Stillbirth happens before labor starts, which means there’s no chance for your baby to survive outside of your body. Miscarriage usually happens during the second or third trimester (after 20 weeks), so there’s a chance that your baby might survive if he or she is born prematurely.
Parturition is a process in which the fetus is expelled from the body of a pregnant woman, usually after nine months of gestation. If this does not occur naturally, it is referred to as a stillbirth. If parturition occurs naturally but something goes wrong with the fetus during the delivery process, it may be considered a miscarriage.
We can conclude that there are many differences between stillbirth and miscarriage. The cause of stillbirth is unknown, while the cause of miscarriage is known to be related to the health of the mother’s egg or fetus. While they have similar symptoms, they differ in severity and causes. Miscarriage can also be prevented with proper care whereas stillbirth cannot be predicted or prevented by anyone except doctors who are experts in this field.
Also Read: Pregnancy After Miscarriage