50 Common Miscarriage Terms That Are Related to Miscarriage


There are many terms that surround the concept of miscarriage. You will see them used throughout and will probably hear them, too. If you are going through a miscarriage, you may want to learn everything you can about it.

Other than being extremely taxing emotionally and physically, a miscarriage can cause other complications. Some of these complications are treatable, but some are not. Some of these conditions, the most common ones, are covered in this list of 50 common miscarriage terms. This list should help you get an idea of what is going on and what you can do.

Common Miscarriage Terms

 Common Miscarriage Terms
Source: http://www.parents.com/

1. Abortion

  • Abortion is the deliberate ending of a pregnancy by medical intervention.
  • Abortion is also used as a term for involuntary miscarriage, otherwise called a spontaneous abortion.
  • This is a general term. There are different kinds of abortions: elective and therapeutic. These have their own definitions and circumstances.
  • Abortion might be the only option in some circumstances.

2. Abruption Placentae

  • A condition in which the placenta is separated from the uterine wall before the baby is born. Separation of the placenta does not usually happen until after the birth. If it happens before, the fetus’ oxygen and nutrient supply are cut off. There is no way to be able to predict this, and in most cases, it cannot be prevented.
  • Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, back pain and belly pain in the last 12 weeks of gestation.
  • Treatment may include a C section or bed rest.

3. Alloimmune Factors

  • These can lead to pregnancy loss in two different ways.
    • Body fails to recognize pregnancy
    • Abnormal immunological response to the pregnancy
  • Can be one of the causes of recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Possible treatments, which are controversial, include intravenous immunoglobulin or paternal white blood cell immunization.

4. Alpha Fetoprotein

  • This protein is produced by the baby and can be measured prenatally. By taking a tube of your blood, they can test for possible neural tube disorders, Down’s, or anencephaly. They give a risk profile and not necessarily positive and negatives.
  • This protein is present in amniotic fluid and in the bloodstream.

5. Anemia

 Common Miscarriage Terms

  • A condition in which one has a lower than a normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin.
  • If you are not getting enough iron, it will be hard for your body to produce the right amount of blood cells for you and your baby.
  • The main causes of anemia are bleeding, hemolysis, underproduction of red blood cells, and underproduction of normal hemoglobin.
  • Women are more likely to have anemia because of menstrual blood loss.
  • It is normal to have mild anemia when you are pregnant. Your blood cells are going to two different places, and you may feel the effects.

[Read more about Anemia]

6. Anencephaly

  • A fatal condition where most or all of the skull and brain of the fetus is absent.
  • There is a low risk for this, but it is higher for those who have previously had this condition.
  • Folic acid may help to prevent this condition.
  • A baby born with this will either be stillborn or only survive for a few hours after birth.
  • There is no cure for this, and treatment is aimed at making the baby as comfortable as possible.

7. Anomaly

  • A physical abnormality or malformation.
  • A major anomaly is one of serious medical or cosmetic consequence.
  • A minor anomaly is an unusual feature that is not of serious medical consequence to the patient. For example, a fifth toe that curls under the fourth toe.

8. Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

  • The temperature of your body when taken first thing in the morning.
  • Can be used to predict ovulation along with cervical mucous.
  • This is the lowest point that your body temperature gets to. While resting, there is not much to do so the body can relax and take care of other things it needs to address.

9. Bicornuate Uterus

 Common Miscarriage Terms

  • An abnormality of the uterus where it is divided internally by a membrane and it appears to have two ‘horns.’ It can also be described as having a heart shape.
  • A known and very treatable cause of pregnancy loss
    • Treatment includes metroplasty surgery or cervical cerclage.

10. Blighted Ovum

  • An embryo that is no longer developing and is no longer viable.
  • This happens when pregnancy hormones are produced that fertilize an egg, but the sac is empty. No baby has developed in this case, and the pregnancy is miscarried.
  • Symptoms include:
    • Minor belly cramping
    • Bleeding
    • Light spotting
  • Eventual miscarriage will happen naturally or through a medical procedure.
  • No specific cause has been found.

11. Birth Control

 Common Miscarriage Terms

  • There are many methods available to prevent the spread of pregnancy and STDs.
  • Some methods of birth control are irreversible. Conversely, not all methods of birth control are effective.
  • Abstinence-only education has been shown to be extremely ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy. Other methods are not recommended if there is no desire for getting pregnant.
  • Using birth control after a miscarriage occurs is necessary. Irritation and other problems can occur. It is also dangerous to get pregnant right after a miscarriage, as it can increase your chances of having another one.
  • Methods of birth control include:Condoms, male and female
    • Birth control pills
    • Intrauterine device
    • Birth control shots
    • Birth control sponge
    • Vaginal ring
    • Birth control patch
    • Breastfeeding
    • Cervical cap
    • Diaphragm
    • Morning after pill (emergency contraception)
    • Tubal sterilization
    • Vasectomy
    • Spermicide
    • Withdrawal (pull out method)

12. Chemical Pregnancy (Miscarriage)

  • An early loss of pregnancy that ends before the next period is due. May reveal small amounts of HCG in a blood test, but no pregnancy symptoms usually occur.
  • The process cannot be reversed once it has begun.
  • Symptoms include:
    • Fluid, tissue, or blood passing from the vagina, pain in the lower back or belly, and sometimes grief and sadness.

13. Chromosome Analysis Common Miscarriage Terms

  • Cells are studied in search of abnormalities, which can show if there is a chromosomal reason for the pregnancy loss. 50 percent of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Also called karyotyping, this test evaluates the number and structure of chromosomes to detect abnormalities.
  • Commonly leads to genetic counseling.

14. Chronic Villus Sampling

  • A soft, thin tube is inserted through the cervix in order to withdraw a tissue sample for chromosomal and genetic analysis.
  • Can also be done with a needle through the abdomen.

15. Complete Miscarriage/Complete Abortion

  • An early loss of pregnancy where all of the conception products are expelled from the uterus.
  • This includes the baby, the sac, and the forming placenta.
  • It can be confirmed by an ultrasound or a D&C procedure.

16. Complete Blood Count (CBC)

  • This is a test used to evaluate overall health, and it can also help to detect a wide range of disorders.
  • A CBC test measures different components of your blood like red blood cells or platelets.

17. Cord Accident

  • Any umbilical cord problem that causes death or distress of the baby.
  • The cord can wrap around the baby’s neck, or cord prolapse can occur.
    • Prolapse is when part of the umbilical cord is presented before the baby at delivery. The cord becoming compressed between the baby and the mother’s pelvis can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply, potentially causing death.
  • Can be caused by any of the following:
    • Abnormal insertion
    • Vasa Previa
    • Abnormal composition
    • Abnormal cord blood pressure
    • Cysts, hematomas, and masses
    • Umbilical cord thrombosis
    • Coiling, knotting, collapse, and prolapse
  • These accidents are random and cannot always be prevented. It is important to tell your doctor about anything weird that is going on before your due date.

18. Dilation and Cutterage (D&C)

  • The cervix is dilated in this procedure to scrape the uterine wall after a miscarriage. Suction can also remove the tissue.
  • Usually performed between conception and 12 weeks.
  • Can also be used to diagnose and treat uterine conditions.

19. Dilation and Evacuation

  • The cervix is dilated in this procedure, and the baby and placenta are removed.
  • Usually performed between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Induced labor can be an alternative to this, and will result in an intact baby.

20. Ectopic Pregnancy Common Miscarriage Terms

  • An ectopic pregnancy is one that may happen anywhere in the abdominal area other than the uterus.
  • This type of pregnancy can be life threatening due to organ damage if left to grow.
  • Symptoms
    • Spasmodic, crampy pain
    • Tenderness starting on one side and spreading throughout abdomen
    • Pain may worsen while bowels are strained, by coughing, or just moving
    • Brown vaginal spotting or light bleeding
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Dizziness or weakness
    • Shoulder pain
    • Rectal pressure
  • It is usually possible to save the pregnancy unless the fallopian tube cannot be fixed. Treatment is paramount to lessen medical complications later on.

[Read more about Ectopic Pregnancy]

21. Elective Abortion

  • A voluntary pregnancy termination for non-medical reasons. Many rules and regulations surround this procedure.
  • Being a controversial topic, elective abortion is not legal in several areas. Knowing your rights is as important as making this decision.
  • You are not a bad person for deciding not to carry a fetus to term.

22. Embryo

  • An embryo is defined as an organism in its earliest stages of development.
  • Used to describe a group of growing cells until about the end of the second month, where it then becomes a fetus. This is around the eight week mark.

23. Endometriosis Common Miscarriage Terms

  • Pieces of the endometrium (uterine wall) are located outside of the uterus, resulting in severe pain and infertility.
  • The most common symptoms of this condition are pain and menstrual irregularities.
  • Hormone treatments and surgery are available.

24. Fetus

  • The baby from the end of the eight weeks up until birth.

25. Fibroid Tumors (Myomas)

  • Growths on the wall of the uterus that can expand during pregnancy. They are nonmalignant and are most common in women over 35.
  • Fibroid tumors slightly increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placenta previa, abruptio placenta, stalled labor, fetal malformation, breech, premature labor, and premature rupture of the membranes. Other difficult to deliver fetal positions can occur as well.
  • Symptoms include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and prolonged periods.
  • Medications and removal of the fibroid are the treatments available.

26. Gestation

  • This is the entire period of fetal growth in the womb.
  • Spans from implantation to birth.

27. Gestational Diabetes Common Miscarriage Terms

  • Carbohydrate intolerance can develop during pregnancy. It usually resolves itself but is the most common complication of pregnancy.
  • Diabetes complicates three percent of pregnancies.

28. Gonadotropin

  • Pituitary hormones that will stimulate the reproductive system.
  • A deficiency of this hormone can be from pituitary disease and may result in infertility.

29. Habitual Miscarriage

  • The recurrent and spontaneous loss of pregnancy.
  • Also called a recurrent miscarriage. Is diagnosed with the number of miscarriages had by the patient. Two to three or more is the usual number that is of concern.

30. HCG Level (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) Common Miscarriage Terms

  • This is a hormone that is produced by the placenta through the duration of pregnancy, and it is necessary for healthy gestation.
  • Beta subunit test is used to determine HCG levels to diagnose pregnancy.
  • HCG is also given to infertility patients to help sustain the corpus luteum and to burst follicles.
    • Corpus luteum is a hormone secreting structure that is developed in the ovary after an egg has been released. It degenerates after a few days unless a pregnancy has begun.

31. Hypoplastic Uterus

  • A uterus that is underdeveloped

32. Impaired Pregnancy

  • A pregnancy that is abnormal because of genetic, environmental, chromosomal, or unknown causes.

33. Incompetent Cervix

  • A cervix that opens prematurely because of the growth of the uterus and baby.
  • Responsible for 20 to 25 percent of all second trimester miscarriages.

34. Incomplete Miscarriage/Incomplete Abortion

  • An early loss where some of the products of pregnancy remain inside the uterus.
  • D&C is often used to complete the process.

35. Infertility

  • If you are unable to conceive after a year of having unprotected sex, it can be called infertility.
  • Repeated consecutive pregnancy loss that does not result in a live birth can also be considered as infertility.

36. Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR)

  • This condition causes the fetus not to develop as quickly as it should.
  • Many different potential causes of IGUR are known:
    • Poor maternal health
    • Poor dietary or lifestyle habits
    • Birth defects
    • DES exposure
    • Progesterone deficiency
  • The baby is born weighing less than 90 percent of other infants at the same gestational age.

37. Miscarriage

Woman suffering from miscarriage
Source: http://diaperchamp.com/
  • Spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation is also known as a spontaneous abortion by medical professionals.

38. Missed Miscarriage/Missed Abortion

  • An early pregnancy loss where the baby dies but remains in the uterus with the placenta without being expelled.
  • Your body does not recognize the pregnancy loss so it will not expel the tissue. You may continue to experience pregnancy symptoms, and the placenta will still release pregnancy hormones.

39. Molar Pregnancy

  • When an egg is fertilized without a nucleus, it is called a molar pregnancy.
  • A baby may or may not be present.
  • The placenta will develop into a nonmalignant tumor called a hydatid form mole.
  • The layer of cells that are lining the gestational tract will convert into a clear mass of tapioca like vesicles instead of healthy placenta. The fertilized egg then deteriorates.
  • A chromosomal abnormality probably causes this.
  • An intermittent or continuous brownish discharge is the primary symptom.
  • Can be treated with D&C and sometimes with methotrexate.

40. Mycoplasma

  • A microscopic organism that is thought to be responsible for pregnancy loss.
  • These cells lack a cell wall, allowing them to be unaffected by common antibiotics.

41. Placenta Common Miscarriage Terms

  • The spongy and vascular organ that secretes a number of hormones related to development and growth, and normal growth.
  • Provides oxygen and nutrients to your baby while removing waste from the baby’s blood.
  • Several things affect your placental health:
    • Maternal age
    • Premature rupture of the membranes
    • Twin or multiples pregnancy
    • High blood pressure
    • Substance abuse
    • Abdominal trauma
    • Previous uterine surgery
    • Blood clotting disorders
    • Previous placental problems

42. Polycystic Ovaries/Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCO/PCOS)

  • Many ovarian cysts are present in this condition, and it can be hard to get pregnant.
  • Affects an estimated seven to 15 percent of women worldwide
  • Symptoms include abnormal facial hair, infertility, menstrual abnormalities, obesity, and enlarged ovaries.
  • Treatments include:
    • Birth control pills: These will regulate your periods.
    • Metformin: Helps to prevent diabetes
    • Statins: Control high cholesterol
    • Hormones: Increase fertility
    • Procedures: Remove excess hair
  • This is the most common hormonal disorder of women that are of reproductive age

43. Rainbow Baby

  • A baby that is born after a stillbirth, miscarriage, neonatal death or infant loss.
  • The terminology comes from the fact that rainbows show up after a storm, symbolizing the hope that things will get better.

44. Recurrent Pregnancy Loss/Recurrent Miscarriage/Recurrent Abortion

  • Pregnancy losses that occur repeatedly.
  • Testing can be done to find a cause if there is one. Treatment will be needed in order to carry a pregnancy to full term.
  • Can be caused by a multitude of factors:
    • Untreated medical conditions
      • Thyroid problems like hypo and hyperthyroidism
      • Diabetes
    • Immune system abnormalities
    • Blood clotting system issues
  • A cause cannot be found in over half of recurrent pregnancies

45. Threatened Miscarriage

  • An occurrence where certain symptoms are present. These symptoms are usually the same as miscarriage symptoms so they can be alarming.
  • These symptoms can be vaginal bleeding or cramping.
  • The symptoms can stop or progress to a miscarriage.
  • Bed rest and some procedures may help to prevent the miscarriage from happening.

46. Therapeutic Abortion

  • A termination due to severe abnormalities or issues with the mother’s health.
  • These pregnancies usually will lead to a stillbirth.
  • This type of abortion is induced when the physical or mental health of the mother is threatened.

47. Trimester

  • A three month period in which a pregnancy is divided.
  • Each trimester has its own symptoms and development status. This terminology is used to organize the overall pregnancy and how it is developing.

48. Ultrasound Gynecologist checking fetal life with scanner

  • Also known as a sonogram, an ultrasound is a visualization of the internal organs. It is achieved by bouncing sound waves into the examination area.
  • Level one ultrasounds are used to date a pregnancy.
  • Level two ultrasounds are used for more specific diagnostic tests.
  • Can detect a large number of problems, but is not 100 percent perfect.

49. Ultrasound Technologist

  • Also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, these technologists have the knowledge and responsibility to perform examinations by ultrasound.
  • They utilize a technology that creates a dynamic and detailed image of the body’s internal organs. These machines use high frequency sound waves.

50. Velamentous Cord Insertion

  • In this condition, the umbilical cord inserts itself into the fetal membranes and travels within the membranes to get to the placenta. The exposed vessels are vulnerable to rupture since Wharton’s jelly does not protect them.
    • Wharton’s jelly is a substance within the umbilical cord and the eyeball. It is a gelatinous substance that is undifferentiated tissue.

As you can see, many terms go along with miscarriages. This is not nearly all of them but is a good starting point. Learning more about what is going on with your body is always a positive thing, even if the reason is a negative one. There is really no better way to know your risks and chances than to talk to your doctor and educate yourself.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here