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Stillbirth, Neonatal Death and Late Term Pregnancy Loss


Updated September 10, 2013

No matter how old your baby is when it dies, it is a horrible tragedy. There are some things to look at in terms of what causes these tragedies and what you need to know. Our Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Guide shares some of her wisdom.

Pregnancy Loss in the Second Trimester

Technically between the end of the first trimester and twenty weeks is a period of time that is really known as late miscarriage. The causes can be because of genetic problems with the baby or a missed miscarriage, when your baby died earlier in the pregnancy and it wasn't discovered until later. Some of these causes can include incompetent cervix, infections and other complications of pregnancy.


The stillbirth rate is about 1 in 160 pregnancies after the twentieth week of gestation. Stillbirth is where your baby dies sometime before birth. The majority of stillbirths happen due to complications of pregnancy, including high blood pressure, diabetes and other problems. These complications are likely to have been identified in prenatal care. If a mother is not receiving prenatal care, she has a much greater risk of her baby dying than if she is being managed by a physician. That being said, there are mothers who receive excellent care who still suffer from stillbirth. Talk to your practitioner about fetal kick counts and other ways to help you monitor your baby's health.

Neonatal Death

This is the death of an infant within the first 28 days of life. Deaths after this period are considered infant deaths. The vast majority of neonatal deaths are due to prematurity. While there are certainly babies who are surviving at very earlier gestational ages, it is still not in high numbers. A baby born at 24-25 weeks of gestation, still only has a 50% survival rate. In addition to prematurity, there are also neonatal deaths due to complications of disease as well as genetic problems, like http://downsyndrome.about.com/od/downsyndromeglossary/g/trisomy13.htm">trisomy 13 or anencephaly.
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