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Pregnancy and Infant Loss

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Types of Loss

A miscarriage is a pregnancy that is lost before twenty (20) weeks gestation. Approximately 1 in 4 recognized pregnancies result in a miscarriage. The number may be higher, as some miscarriages happen before the woman is aware they are pregnant. The risk of miscarriage goes down after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (The Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology of Canada, 2024).

A stillbirth is the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy but before the baby is born. It can happen during pregnancy or during labour. Stillbirth occurs in about 1 out of 200 pregnancies (World Health Organization, 2024).

SUID (sudden unexpected infant death) is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age, with an unknown cause. Common types of SUID include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. Risk factors include infants sleeping on tummies, unsafe sleeping environment, use of tobacco, drugs and alcohol by mother or their partner. Ninety percent of SIDS deaths occur in the first six months however, there is no way to tell which babies are at risk of sudden death (Baby’s Breath Canada, 2016).  

There are a variety of reasons that pregnancy and infant loss can happen. Most early pregnancy losses are due to genetic errors that happen by chance, which affect the development of the baby, and are not likely to happen again. Many individuals who have a pregnancy loss go on to have healthy babies in the future. If you or someone you know experience three or more pregnancy losses, connect with your health care provider for support and guidance to take the next steps that may include assessment, tests, referral to specialist (The Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology of Canada, 2024). 

The information provided in the links below covers the causes, signs of miscarriage, medical care provided after a miscarriage and more. Further information on SUID/SIDS and Stillbirths.

The feelings experienced after a pregnancy or infant loss can be overwhelming, consider reaching out to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL) or your health care provider for local resources and support.

The Healthy Growth and Development team is available to support you and your loved ones during this difficult time. If you would like to speak to a public health nurse or arrange a home visit, please call: 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Resources


The Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada, (2024). Pregnancy Info: your Pregnancy.

Baby’s Breath Canada (2016). What is SIDS & SUDC?

World Health Organization (2024). Stillbirth.