Pregnancy Loss

Q – What is Perinatal Loss?

A – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the perinatal period extends from the 20th gestational week through one month post birth. However, researchers who study perinatal loss use a broader definition that includes early (during the first 12 weeks following conception) as well as late fetal loss (greater than 20 weeks’ gestation).

Types of Loss:

  • Ectopic Pregnancy – implementation outside of the uterus
  • Miscarriage (AKA Spontaneous Abortion) – naturally occurring loss at 20 weeks gestation or less
  • Stillbirth (AKA Fetal Death) – loss occurring at greater than 20 weeks gestation
  • Neonatal Death – loss occurring from birth through 28 days of life
    • Top Five Causes of Neonatal Deaths
      • Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight
      • Congenital anomalies
      • Complications of pregnancy
      • Respiratory Distress Syndrome
      • Complications of placenta, cord, and/or membrane

Types of Pregnancy Termination:

  • Elective
  • Selective termination of multi-fetal gestation following fertility treatment
  • Pregnancy termination because of genetic of other fetal anomalies

Termination losses are distinguished from ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death because of the element of choice, which often is a very difficult process for the woman and her partner.


Pregnancy loss is very common, occurring in approximately 2 million women each year in the United States, or one-third of all pregnancies. Early losses (prior to 20 weeks gestation) are estimated to occur in up to 25% of all conceptions, with most taking place during the first trimester.  Late losses (after 20 weeks gestation) occur in approximately 2%-4% of all pregnancies, in the form of stillbirths, preterm births, or neonatal deaths (Gemma & Arnold, 2002; Martin, Kochanek, Strobino, Guyer & MacDorman, 2005).  On the positive side, 50%-80% of women who’ve suffered a perinatal loss go on to a subsequent pregnancy (although it’s very anxiety-laden, as might be expected).


Note: Different sources were referenced on this page, therefore resulting statistics that may differ slightly from one another depending upon the source. Unfortunately, the end result is the same. A significant number of women and their families are impacted by the loss of a baby or infant each year in the U.S.