Why Exactly Do Babies Die In The Womb?

Editorial Team

Last week I went to a party and met a friend that I had not seen in awhile, after talking for about an hour, he told me how his wife who was 30 weeks pregnant lost the baby. Even with all the doctor had told them, he couldn’t bring himself to understand why his baby would die.

He was not only hurt and sad, he was also very confused. When a baby dies in the womb there are always a mixture of emotions, mothers usually blame themselves. Most people feel like there is something they probably did to cause the death of their baby.

While in some cases it is probably true but it’s not all cases. Somethings even after you have followed all the rules, the baby could still die. So why exactly do babies die in the womb?

Stillbirth is the birth of a baby who is born without any signs of life at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy. A baby may have died during late pregnancy. Stillbirth is also used to describe the loss of a baby during labor and delivery. A miscarriage occurs prior to the 20th week of pregnancy, the baby also dies of natural causes. Most miscarriages happen when the unborn baby has fatal genetic problems, usually, these problems are unrelated to the mother. Other causes of miscarriage include:

  • Infection
  • Medical conditions in the mother, such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Hormone problems
  • Immune system responses
  • Physical problems in the mother
  • Uterine abnormalities

At least 85% of women who have miscarriages have subsequent normal pregnancies and births. Having a miscarriage does not necessarily mean you have a fertility problem. Usually a miscarriage cannot be prevented and often occurs because the pregnancy is not normal.In about half of all cases, the cause of stillbirth is unknown. The causes of a stillbirth that are understood include:

  • Birth defects
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Problems with the placenta
  • Conditions in the mother like diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • Severe lack of nutrition
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental agents such as pesticides or carbon monoxide
  • A personal or family history of blood clotting.

You may have a higher risk for stillbirth if you have had a previous stillbirth,  abuse alcohol or drug, smoke, are obese, under age 15 or over age 35. Most women who have a stillbirth will be able to have a healthy baby in their next pregnancy. On average, the chance of a successful future pregnancy is more than 90%.

If you have had a miscarriage or stillbirth or if you know someone that has recently had a miscarriage or stillbirth, take time to heal physically and emotionally and before trying again consult your doctor, counselling is also very important.