During pregnancy, the fetus may face several vital dangers. These problems may end in fetal death. The death of the fetus can be divided into 2 categories including missed abortion and intrauterine death.
In general, the loss of a fetus at any stage is a fetal demise. Experts classify fetal losses depending on the gestational age. In details, a fetus death that occurs before 20 weeks’ gestation is usually referred to as a spontaneous abortion or missed abortion. Whereas the loss after 20 weeks is often considered as an intrauterine death or stillbirth.
Major causes of fetal demise include:
−Maternal causes such as prolonged pregnancy (more than 42 weeks), diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome, infections, hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, hemoglobinopathy, pregnancy after 35, RH disease, uterine rupture, maternal trauma or death, and inherited thrombophilias
−Fetal cause such as multiple gestations, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital disorders, abnormality in genes, infections, and hydrops fetalis
−Placental pathology such as cord accident, abruption, pre-labor rupture of membranes, vasa praevia, feto-maternal hemorrhage, and uteroplacental vascular insufficiency.
A missed abortion, also known as a missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage, happens when a fetus dies but the mother is not aware of the pregnancy loss or does not expel the pregnancy tissue. Missed abortion usually happens in the first or second trimester of pregnancy. Mothers may experience no vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain. The placenta may still release hormones so the signs of pregnancy still continue.
Women with missed abortion do not have common miscarriage symptoms. Some may experience brownish or red vaginal discharge as well as notice the loss of pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness, nausea, or tiredness. Doctors can diagnose an underdeveloped fetus by checking fetal heartbeats and ultrasound.
Most missed miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. This condition interrupts the development of the pregnancy.
Intrauterine death is the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy before the baby is born. This condition occurs about 1 out of 200 situations during the pregnancy or during labor. Once stillbirth happens before labor, the doctor will usually help the woman deliver the baby by using medicine to induce labor or by doing surgery including cesarean section (commonly known as C-section).
The mother may realize the problem with their baby through some signs:
−The fetus moves less for several days
−Mother’s breasts may diminish in size.
−Secretion of pre-breast milk from the breasts occurs.
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- Dealing with Body Heat During Pregnancy
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 30, 2017 | Last Modified: August 30, 2017
Evaluation of fetal death. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/259165-overview#a5. Accessed February 05, 2017
Missed Miscarriage. https://www.fertilityauthority.com/fertility-issues/miscarriage/missed-miscarriage. Accessed February 05, 2017
Intrauterine Fetal Death. http://www.womens-health-advice.com/pregnancy-complications/intrauterine-fetal-death.html
Accessed February 05, 2017