Causes of Miscarriage In Third Trimester

Submitted by Nick on January 30, 2012

During the third trimester your baby grows larger and its organs also mature. In the last two months, the baby grows considerably and thus has very little space to move around easily. You will feel the discomfort as you get closer to the delivery.

Miscarriage happens when a pregnancy ends on its own; it is not deliberately induced. Miscarriage in the third trimester is known as stillbirth. It refers to the loss of pregnancy after the twentieth week of pregnancy due to natural causes. Stillbirth is also known as intrauterine fetal death (IUFD). There are many causes of stillbirth.


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Miscarriage causes are many and here is a list of reasons why a miscarriage could occur. In some cases, one or two causes may be responsible for death due to stillbirth.

  • Hemorrhage.

  • Diabetes in the pregnant mother.
  • Fetus may be affected with some infection such as influenza, measles, central nervous damage and others.
  • Post maturity (pregnancy above 41 weeks) may also lead to miscarriage.
  • The consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoke by the mother increases the risk of stillbirth.
  • Lack of proper fetal development accounts for 20% of all stillbirths. An ultrasound would help detect slow fetal development at an early stage and thus avoid stillbirth.
  • Abnormal placement of the umbilical cord or a knot in the umbilical cord can also lead to stillbirth. This accounts for 15% of all stillbirths.
  • Chromosomal irregularities or birth defects account for 15% of all stillbirths.

Another rare cause of stillbirth is incompatibility between the mother's and child's blood group. Post date pregnancy, meaning when pregnancy lasts for more than 42 weeks, might lead to stillbirth in a few cases. The stillbirth symptoms are similar to signs of miscarriage like vaginal bleeding or severe pain in the abdomen.

Stillbirth is usually diagnosed during ultrasound which is done during prenatal appointments. An ultrasound helps determine if the baby is breathing normally. After the stillbirth is diagnosed, the doctor decides if labor has to be induced or if it is safe to wait for a normal delivery. The delivery generally happens after two weeks of baby's death. The doctor may give some medicines to stimulate cervical dilations. If you encounter any problems during normal delivery, cesarean operation may be advised to avoid further complications.

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