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Pregnancy Loss in the Paparazzi Spotlight

Image of Pregnancy Loss

Paparazzi are on a relentless hunt to break news of the latest baby bump, so it’s no surprise that celebrities tend to be tight-lipped with news of their pregnancies.

With press on their every move, many celebrities choose to keep their pregnancies secret until they reach a certain stage in order to protect against painful public scrutiny in the event of a miscarriage. But with 20 percent of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, this is not a rare occurrence. Recently, celebrities like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Lily Allen and Giuliana Rancic have spoken publicly about the challenges of enduring a miscarriage in the spotlight. These cases can shine light upon the differing miscarriage causes, rates and symptoms depending on which stage of the pregnancy it occurred.

Very Early Miscarriage

In 2009, Celine Dion reportedly suffered a miscarriage just days after finding out she was pregnant as a result of an IVF procedure. Her husband confirmed that their fertility doctor believed the IVF transfer was a success, but they found out only days later that the procedure did not take. However, Celine became pregnant from an IVF cycle earlier this year and gave birth to twins in October.

    What It Is: Miscarriages that occur very early in the first trimester of pregnancy are called chemical pregnancies. A chemical pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized, but dies shortly after implantation before a heartbeat can be heard and often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Previously, many chemical pregnancies went undiagnosed, but new ultra sensitive pregnancy tests allow earlier results.

    Rates: The American Pregnancy Association estimates that chemical pregnancies account for 50 to 75 percent of all miscarriages.

    Signs and Symptoms: Many women do not even know they are pregnant when they experience a chemical pregnancy. Women will normally begin to bleed around the time of or a few days later than their period was expected. The period may be slightly heavier than usual with small clots or cramping.

    Causes: Most chemical pregnancies cannot be prevented and are not the result of anything a woman did. The most common cause of miscarriage in this situation is chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg. Other causes of miscarriage in this stage include abnormal endometrial lining or certain infections.

First Trimester Miscarriage

Most miscarriages happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Recently, when announcing her pregnancy, singer Mariah Carey also revealed that she had a miscarriage in 2008. Reality TV star and E! News host Giuliana Rancic also publicly discussed her painful miscarriage at 10 weeks, which occurred following IVF treatments.

    What It Is: First trimester miscarriages, also called spontaneous abortions, occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    Rates: Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester, some even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Women have a 10 percent chance they will have a miscarriage during weeks 3 to 6 of pregnancy. The rate of miscarriage drops to 5 percent for weeks 6 to 12.

    Signs and Symptoms: You may suspect you are having a first trimester miscarriage if you have vaginal spotting or bleeding. Other miscarriage symptoms include abdominal pain, which may begin after the bleeding. This abdominal pay may be crampy, sharp, or feel like pelvic pressure or back pain. If you have any of these miscarriage symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

    Causes: The most common miscarriage cause during the first trimester is genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. Other causes include complications of hormonal imbalances or problems with the uterus or placenta.

Second Trimester Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Miscarriages can be even more emotionally painful when they occur later on in the pregnancy. Singer Lily Allen, 25, recently lost her baby at around 6 months into the pregnancy after a viral infection. She previously went through a miscarriage in 2008 at an earlier stage in the pregnancy.

    What It Is: Miscarriages refer to the loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. A miscarriage after 20 weeks, such as in Allen’s case, is technically called a stillbirth.

    Rates: Miscarriage rates fall after the first trimester. The rate of miscarriage in the second trimester is 3 percent. Stillbirths are not as common as miscarriage. The American Pregnancy Association estimates that stillbirths occur in approximately one out of 200 pregnancies.

    Signs and Symptoms: Symptoms of miscarriage in the second trimester are similar to those in the first trimester and include vaginal bleeding, cramping, pelvic pain and clots. Other causes of stillbirth later in the pregnancy include a decrease in the fetus’ movements or no movements.

    Causes: Chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus can account for miscarriage in the second trimester, but it can also result from physical complications like uterine or cervical abnormalities.