Miscarriage is a topic that no one likes to think about. The good news is that, if you have made it to the second trimester of pregnancy, your risks of miscarriage have dropped dramatically. For example, it is estimated that somewhere around 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the vast majority of these occur within the first trimester of pregnancy; actually, they typically occur in the first weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. In contrast, only about 1 percent of pregnancies, once they have made it halfway, will wind up ending in a bad way.
A miscarriage, technically, can only occur up until the 20th week of pregnancy. After the 20th week of pregnancy, if you lose the pregnancy it is known as stillbirth. Having a miscarriage in the early part of the second trimester, from the sixteenth to the twentieth week, is known as a late miscarriage. A second trimester miscarriage is most often due to a condition that is known as having an “incompetent cervix”, where the cervix cannot properly hold the fetus. In many cases, there is no symptom of an incompetent cervix. However, if detected in time, a cervical cerclage (which is a stitch in the cervix) can be put in place to help hold the fetus.
A miscarriage after the 20th week (again, it is known as a stillbirth at that point) is a relatively rare occurrence. Very often, stillbirth tends to be caused by a problem with either the umbilical cord or with the placenta. In even more rare cases, stillbirth during the second and third trimesters can be caused by maternal illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, if these illnesses aren’t managed properly.
If you are showing symptoms of a second trimester miscarriage, you should contact your health care provider immediately. In some cases, your health care provider may wish you to go on bedrest in hopes of preventing the miscarriage. However, there is no proven solution to stopping a miscarriage once it starts. Even bedrest does not, usually, prevent the miscarriage from occurring.