Types of Pregnancy Loss

There are different types of pregnancy loss. Studies show that somewhere between 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. There are many different stages or types of pregnancy loss. Most of the time different types of miscarriages are just called a miscarriage, but you may hear other terms to better describe your specific type of pregnancy loss.

Below is a list of different pregnancy losses:

Chemical Pregnancy - This type of loss usually occurs before or right around when a woman would be expecting her period. It is believed that chemical pregnancies occur when the fetus dies immediately after conception, the egg is fertilized but then fails to implant. Because a chemical pregnancy occurs so early in a pregnancy, most women never even realize they are pregnant. This type of pregnancy loss may account for about 50-75% of all miscarriages.

Ectopic Pregnancy - Ectopic means "out of place." This happens when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus. More then 95% of ectopic pregnancies are due to the fertilized egg implanting in the fallopian tubes, commonly referred to as a "tubal pregnancy". The egg can also implant in the ovary, abdomen, or the cervix, and these may be referred to as "cervical" or "abdominal pregnancies". Ectopic pregnancies may cause cramping on one or both sides of the lower abdominal area, in addition to having normal pregnancy symptoms. Some women may have vaginal bleeding, and the hCG levels may increase slower than expected.

Blighted Ovum - This happens when a fertilized egg implants itself to the uterine wall developing a placenta and membrane, but the embryo fails to develop. The method of diagnosis is usually through ultrasound. Through blood tests the hCG levels may rise, but they will eventually start to decline once the body recognizes that there is no baby to support.

Molar Pregnancy - This can fall into two categories: complete and partial hydatidiform moles. Both of these are caused by chromosomal problems within the fertilized egg, which then leads to an overgrowth of pregnancy tissue. Although a partial molar pregnancy can develop into a fetus, the abnormal placenta cannot maintain a pregnancy and the chromosomal problems are not adaptable with life. A complete molar pregnancy will not develop a recognizable fetus. These types of pregnancies will never develop normally. The way to diagnose a molar pregnancy is usually by ultrasound, which would reveal an abnormal placenta that appears like a bunch of grapes.

Common Terms for a Miscarriage

Threatened Miscarriage: bleeding in early pregnancy accompanied by cramping or lower backache. This bleeding is often the result of implantation. (cervix is closed)

Incomplete Miscarriage: Bleeding with abdominal or back pain with an open cervix. It is inevitable when there is a dilation or effacement of the cervix. Bleeding and cramps may continue if the miscarriage is not complete.

Complete Miscarriage: when everything dealing with conception has emptied out of the uterus. Bleeding, pain and cramping should subside quickly.

Missed Miscarriage: when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion from uterus. Women can experience a miscarriage without knowing it.

Recurrent Miscarriage (RM): Defined as 3 or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages.

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