A late miscarriage is one which happens after the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, but before 24weeks – in the “second trimester” of your pregnancy.  Losing a baby after  24 weeks is called a stillbirth.

Causes of late miscarriage

Late miscarriages are less common than early miscarriages and may be caused by the factors listed below, but many losses remain unexplained at the moment, so Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research is dedicated to understanding them better.

The reasons that we already understand include:

 

  • Structural causes

A cervix (the neck of the womb) that is weak or dilates (opens) too soon  can lead to a late miscarriage.  This cervical weakness  be caused by surgery on the cervix after an abnormal smear.  If this is a known risk for you, you may be offered a scan to measure the length of your cervix and you may need a stitch in your cervix to prevent miscarriage.

  • Infection

Any severe infection developing  during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, but this is  rare. Health conditions

Some long term chronic health conditions can increase your risk of miscarriage.  These include diabetes (if it’s not well controlled), severe high blood pressure, kidney disease, an overactive or underactive thyroid and coeliac disease.

  • Health conditions     

Some long term chronic health conditions can increase your risk of miscarriage.  These include diabetes (if it’s not well controlled), severe high blood pressure, kidney disease, an overactive or underactive thyroid and coeliac disease.

  • Medicines and alternative therapies

Some medicines and alternative therapies such as plant extracts and aromatherapy oils can increase the risk of miscarriage, so to be sure a medicine is safe to use in pregnancy, always check with a doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking it.

  • Other rare problems

There are a few other rare structural problems which can inhibit either the attachment of the placenta, or growth of the baby, and may lead to miscarriage.  These include an abnormal womb shape and large fibroids which grow into the womb. These problems can sometimes be solved by pre-pregnancy surgery.

Read women's stories of late miscarriage.

Read late miscarriage stories

Read more about miscarriage

Sources

  1. RCOG (2012) Recurrent and late miscarriage: tests and treatment of couples, information for you, London Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  
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Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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