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(PIC)turing Pregnancy - Previous Pregnancy Outcomes

Miscarriages - What is it?

  • When a pregnancy is lost before 28 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Typically, miscarriages occur when an embryo receives the incorrect number of chromosomes when it is fertilized.

  • Other causes of miscarriages could be translocation which is when parts of genetic material are moved from one to another causing the incorrect number of chromosomes in sperm or eggs.

  • There may be physical problems with reproductive organs especially the uterus which may cause miscarriages. This includes congenital problems, Asher man syndrome, fibroids and polyps.

  • However; the cause for most miscarriages cannot be identified.

Impact: Any of these reasons could cause a loss of the child before birth


These factors may increase risk of stillbirth

  • Increased reproductive age
  • There are other diseases and conditions that may increase your risk of miscarriages such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes mellitus and polycystic ovary syndrome.


  • If you have repeated miscarriages, you can talk to a healthcare provider and they may want to conduct a pelvic exam and run some blood tests.

  • They may recommend genetic counseling where they may suggest in vitro fertilization with genetic testing which picks embryos that have been unaffected.

  • If miscarriages are due to problems with your reproductive organs they may suggest surgery to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.


Stillbirth - What is It?

This is when a child dies in the womb at or past 28 weeks of pregnancy

Causing the loss of a child.

: There are numerous factors that could put you at risk for having a stillbirth

  • Obesity (BMI over 30)

  • Pregnancy with twins, triplets, etc.

  • Older than 35 years of age and/or Non-Hispanic black

  • Have had a stillbirth or miscarriage in a previous pregnancy

  • Have had other complications in previous pregnancies

  • Use drugs, alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy

  • Have other medical conditions (i.e. diabetes or high blood pressure)


  • Continue to use birth control to reach optimal personal health before trying to get pregnant again.

  • Make sure you are also emotionally healed from previous loss.

  • Go in for a preconception checkup and discuss with your doctor if there are tests they would like to conduct to determine what likely caused your last stillbirth.

  • Ensure you are in a healthy weight range and stop using drugs, alcohol or tobacco before you try to get pregnant again.




Neonatal loss - What is It?

This is when your child dies in the first 28 days of life.

Causing loss of the child and grief.


These factors increase the chances of having neonatal loss:

  • Low birth weight

  • Premature birth

  • Birth Defects


  • If you are concerned due to a previous loss, your provider may be able to check for certain birth defects before birth.

  • They can check for some genetic conditions, spina bifida and heart defects. You can see a genetic counselor if the previous death was due to a birth defect.

  • It is recommended that you talk about your grief before you try to conceive again.


Neonatal Death- March of Dimes  




Preterm - What is it?

A baby that is born before 37 weeks.



  • Having a baby preterm can affect their brain development and developmental skills resulting in neurological disorders, behavior problems and autism.

  • The baby’s lungs may not be fully developed and could cause asthma or other breathing complications throughout life.

  • Premature birth is also linked to problems with hearing, vision, dental, intestine issues and infections.


You are at a higher risk if you apply to any of the following:

  • Getting pregnant again too soon after your last baby (less than 18 months between).

  • Health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes

  • Infections during pregnancy

  • Not being at a healthy weight (under or over weight)

  • Using substances like drugs or alcohol


  • You should wait at least 18 months between pregnancies before trying to get pregnant again.

  • You can use birth control in the meantime to ensure you don’t get pregnant until your body is ready.

  • If you have any burning sensations while you go to the bathroom or during sex you may want to get tested to ensure you don’t have a sexually transmitted infection or other type of infection before you get pregnant.

  • If you are not at a healthy weight, use birth control while you exercise and eat healthy until you reach a healthy weight to conceive.

  • If you think you may be inclined to drink, smoke or use, drugs stay away from places or people that may influence those behaviors.

  • If you had previously had a preterm birth, discuss with a health care provider which actions can be taken to increase chances of a full term birth in new pregnancies, including progesterone therapy. 


Long-term health effects of premature birth- March of Dimes




Low Birth Weight - What is it?

  • A baby is considered low birth weight when they weigh less than 5 lbs. 8 ounces.

  • Being low birth weight doesn’t mean your baby will be unhealthy but in most cases, it does cause health problems.

  • Typically, low birth weight is due premature birth or fetal growth restriction which could be due to having small parents or a factor that may have slowed their growth in the womb.

  • Premature birth and fetal birth restrictions are commonly due to birth defects and infections.


  • Babies who are born with a low birth weight typically are at a higher risk for respiratory distress syndrome because they have not had time to fully develop different components of the lungs. This may cause the lungs to have issues working or they may collapse.

  • They may also have bleeding within the brain and heart problems due to a lack of properly closed arteries.

  • Premature babies can also develop intestinal problems causing other complications.

  • Babies born low birth weight have a higher risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, or obesity later in life.


The following increase chances of low birth weight babies:

  • Previous preterm labor

  • Infections

  • Having a previous low birth weight baby

  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney problems

  • Drug and alcohol use

  • Not being at a healthy weight or not gaining appropriate amounts of weight during pregnancy

  • Younger that 17 years of age or older than 35 years of age

  • Non-Hispanic black women


  • If you have previously had a low birth weight baby, discuss with a health are provider which actions can be taken to increase chances of a healthy birth weight in new pregnancies.

  • Continue eat healthy and stay fit to create the best environment as your baby is growing.

  • If you think you may be inclined to drink, smoke or use drugs stay away from places or people that may influence those behaviors.




Preeclampsia - What is it?

  • High blood pressure that occurs in a mother after 20 weeks of pregnancy


  • This can impact you by causing organ dysfunction, headaches and issues with vision.

  • Most of the time babies will be born healthy. However; it can cause premature birth, low birth weight, placental abruption and growth restriction.

Risk: The following factors are associated with higher risk for preeclampsia

  • Younger than 20 years of age or older than 40 years of age

  • Having more than one child (twins or multiples)

  • Being obese (BMI >30)

  • Diabetes in previous pregnancy

  • High blood pressure prior to pregnancy


  • Your healthcare provider will be able to check for preeclampsia during your pregnancy by measuring blood pressure and urine samples.

  • The healthcare provider can also conduct tests to check on the baby's health.

  • Preeclampsia won’t go away until you give birth and if you have a severe case you may need to have induced labor or be treated in the hospital.


Preeclampsia-March of Dimes

Stillbirth-March of Dimes

Miscarriages-American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Thinking about pregnancy after premature birth-

Low Birthweight-




Gestational Diabetes - What is it?

  • When a woman has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy that has never had diabetes previously.

  • This occurs because your body is not able to make enough insulin for pregnancy.

  • Insulin converts sugar in your blood into energy. When there is not enough your blood sugar levels increase.


  • Gestational diabetes occurs later in pregnancy disrupting the continued growth of the baby. Since you have high levels of sugar in your blood during pregnancy they will pass through the placenta causing high levels in the baby.

  • The baby’s pancreas must work harder to make insulin to try to decrease the sugar in the blood and the extra sugar that isn’t getting converted into energy turns into fat.

  • This increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity later in life for the child.


  • Having gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.

  • Gestational diabetes also increases the risk of the mother developing type 2 diabetes.


  • If you are overweight, you can help control diabetes by losing weight through exercise and eating healthy.

  • Check with a doctor to help determine if you are at risk for diabetes and set up a plan to get to a healthy state before conceiving.


Gestational Diabetes- American Diabetes Association

Gestational Diabetes Collaborative- Ohio Department of Health

Page Updated: 8/7/2017