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Difference Between Stillbirths and Miscarriages

Stillbirths vs Miscarriages

Women are capable of pregnancy and giving birth unlike men. It takes nine months for a woman to carry her baby. Nine months of endurance of pain and sacrifice that is normal for pregnant mommies out there.

However, certain complications are quite unavoidable during pregnancy. These are the terms ‘stillbirth’ and ‘miscarriage.’ To explain further, a stillbirth is the diagnosis when the fetus dies inside the uterus before delivery or after delivery at any time of gestation. This is the definition in the US and Canada. In other countries, such as, UK, Austria, and Ireland, a stillbirth occurs when a fetus is 5000 grams, is at the 24th week of gestation, and came out without pulse and respiration. ‘Miscarriage,’ on the other hand, occurs when the pregnancy terminates and the fetus is not able to survive because he/she didn’t reach the viable 20th week of gestation in order to survive.

In a miscarriage, the most common symptom is bleeding during early pregnancy. The mother is always monitored for this type of case which can be detected via ultrasound and HCG test or human chorionic gonadotropin. If they tested positive in these diagnostic exams, they are then monitored carefully by their OB/gynecologists, a doctor specializing in pregnant women. In cases of stillbirth, there are no impending symptoms that the fetus would die. In fetuses who are at risk of stillbirth, doctors also use ultrasound to monitor the movement and activity of the fetus. If the fetus is alive but is inactive, the fetus is then monitored closely. The mother is instructed to report decreased fetal movement and activity for the fetus might be dead already.

Some cases of stillbirth have an unknown cause. Others are caused by diabetes mellitus, bacterial infections, high blood pressure, physical trauma, birth defects, umbilical cord defects, and a lot more. The cause of miscarriage can also be unknown in some cases, but some can be attributed due to hormonal imbalance, anatomical defects of the uterus and cervix, and reproductive infections.

For a stillbirth, medical management involves making sure that the body of the fetus is still intact when delivered. For a miscarriage, in cases of bleeding, the doctor can give medications to stop the contraction of the uterus and to stop the bleeding. But in cases of bleeding in which the mother is a candidate for complete abortion, the fetus must be evacuated completely to prevent sepsis or infection of the mother.

If an individual manifests bleeding or fetal inactivity, one must seek medical intervention immediately to avoid fetal death.



A stillbirth is the death of a fetus before or after delivery. A miscarriage is when the pregnancy cessation occurs before 20 weeks of gestation. Thus, the fetus comes out but is not able to thrive.

A stillbirth does not have a symptom of impending death to the fetus. A miscarriage manifests bleeding.

Stillbirths are caused by numerous factors, such as, bacterial infections, diabetes mellitus, etc., while a miscarriage is caused by a hormonal imbalance and reproductive infections.

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