About Pregnancy Loss
About Pregnancy Loss
Statistics of Pregnancy Loss
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Statistics of Pregnancy Loss

“Pregnancy loss is common but you will never think about it until it happens to you one day.”

Pregnancy loss (including miscarriages, stillbirth or neonatal death) is an unexpected experience to couples who wish to get pregnant.

According to the Hong Kong Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance, miscarriage refers to the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks of pregnancy while stillbirth refers to that spontaneous loss of pregnancy at or after 24 weeks. Neonatal death refers to a child who has died during the first week of life.

Miscarriage is not rare and it is also one of the most common complication during early pregnancy. On average, 10 to 15 out of 100 pregnant women have experienced miscarriage. The probability of miscarriage will increase with age and is estimated to be at 20% if the mother is 35 years old.

Symptoms of Miscarriage
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Symptoms of Miscarriage

The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding. This can vary from light spotting to heavy bleeding, and can vary in colour. Some women may not experience any symptoms at all, and some may still experience all kinds of pregnancy symptoms. Please be assured that light amounts of vaginal bleeding is common during early pregnancy and is not necessarily a sign of miscarriage.

Other symptoms related to miscarriage include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Discharge of white-coloured tissue
  • Pale or clammy skin, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath or dizziness, etc.

When you or your partner experience any of the above symptom(s), or the symptom(s) suddenly worsens, you and/or your partner should seek help from healthcare professionals or nearby clinics as soon as possible.

Source of information: National Health Service

Types of Miscarriage
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Types of Miscarriage
  • Threatened miscarriage
    Although vaginal bleeding before 24 weeks of pregnancy may not be life-threatening for the foetus, you should seek medical consultation without delay.
  • Incomplete miscarriage
    When a miscarriage happens, part of the fetus or placenta may not be expelled from the uterus, resulting in continuous vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal cramping. If necessary, healthcare professionals may discuss with you and/or your partner about terminating the pregnancy through medical procedures, such as medication or surgery.
  • Complete miscarriage
    If you have passed all your pregnancy tissues, vaginal bleeding may still continue for a few days.
  • Recurrent pregnancy loss
    This refers to the loss of two or three pregnancies. There are various reasons accounted for recurrent pregnancy loss. Amongst all the risk factors, some can be lowered by medical treatment, you may ask your medical officer for enquiry.

Causes of Miscarriage and Risk Factors
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Causes of Miscarriage and Risk Factors

Many couples or partners would like to know the specific cause of their miscarriage(s). Some may even think that it is their or their partners’ responsibility. In fact, there is no conclusive evidence on the causes of early miscarriages (miscarriages that occur before 12 weeks of pregnancy). However, some scientific evidence have suggested that miscarriages are possibly due to:

  • Aneuploidy (missing or extra chromosomes) is one of the main culprit of halted fetal development and miscarriage. Chromosomal abnormalities are usually sporadic, meaning that they occur by chance and are not the parents’ fault. If miscarriage is due to a sporadic episode of chromosomal issues, there is a chance for you or your partner to have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Hormonal issues(e.g. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS)
  • Viral Infection: German measles, cytomegalovirus, bacterial vaginitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, malaria
  • Uterus and Placenta Abnormality
  • Other causes of miscarriage: Abnormal development of the baby, Chronic illnesses such as Thyroid Disease and Diabetes, Thrombophilia, Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Risk Factors of Miscarriage

  • As women age, the probability of miscarriage will increase (30 or below: 10%; 35-39: 40%; 40 or above: 50%).
  • Overweight or underweight
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: smoking, take in large amount of caffeine especially in coffee, tea, cola and energy drink, drink regularly, heavily or in “binges”
  • Take certain medicine, like medicine for peptic ulcer 、medicine for eczema and acne 、medicines for rheumatoid arthritis、non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

After a miscarriage, it is common to feel worry about getting pregnant again, but most miscarriages are sporadic. Even so, a small percentage of women (about 1 in 100) have recurrent or recurrent miscarriages.

Source of information:

National Health Service

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Reducing the Risk of Miscarriage
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Reducing the Risk of Miscarriage

Though causes of miscarriage are sometimes unidentifiable or related to uncontrollable factors, such as chromosomal and placental issues, there are methods to reduce the risk. Pregnant women and their partners can nevertheless reduce other risk factors by improving their diet and lifestyle.

  • Maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to viral sources during pregnancy.
  • Consult a qualified registered Chinese medicine practitioner, doctors or pharmacist before using herbs or medications.

In addition, men's health is also important:

  • Maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption before your wife's pregnancy
  • Weight management

Lastly, it is important to maintain communication with your doctor or midwife. It is recommended that you ask your health care provider any questions about your pregnancy during your follow-up appointment.

Myths about Pregnancy Loss
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Myths about Pregnancy Loss

More and more people rely on information on the internet, but the sources of these information are usually unknown or scientifically unproven. They may even lead to feelings of worrying, anxiousness and guilt for the pregnant women and their partner during their pregnancy or after miscarriage. Below shows a list of factors that are not scientifically proven to be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage:

  • Sex during pregnancy
  • Exercises, such as swimming, dancing, body building, yoga.
  • Work
  • Travel by air
  • Eating spicy food
  • Lifting or pulling
  • Emotional states, such as stress or sadness
  • Being scared
Management of Miscarriage
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Management of Miscarriage

There are three main ways to terminate your pregnancy:

  • Expectant management of miscarriage: About 50% of the pregnant women can successfully pass out pregnancy tissues naturally. Some women may have to wait for a while before the bleeding starts, which may last for as long as three weeks Some women may have haemorrhage (extremely heavy bleeding) or abdominal pain. In cases of ongoing haemorrhage or severe abdominal pain, you or your partner may be hospitalized for medical or surgical treatments.
  • Medical management of miscarriage: Some women may experience abdominal pain or discharge blood clots in the few hours after medication, which is similar to heavy menstrual bleeding. Analgesic drugs can be taken if necessary. Some women may also have diarrhea or nausea. Vaginal bleeding may also last for as long as three weeks.
  • Surgical management of miscarriage: In case of signs of ongoing haemorrhage or infections, the surgery must be arranged as soon as possible. Despite the low risk of this minor operation, there is small chance of haemorrhage, infections or complications of the uterus. If pregnancy tissues remain, you or your partner may have to undergo another operation.

When comparing these termination methods, evidence have suggested that:

  • There is a low probability of the risk of being infected or other harms for all 3 methods.
  • They will not affect your next pregnancy.

We recommend that you have a discussion with your partner prior to visiting the hospital on the following topics:

  • Do you and your partner wish to see your child? (If you or your partner have been pregnant for a while now, you may have chance to take photos with your baby or create something out of their footprint or fingerprint)
  • Do you and your partner wish to conduct a post-mortem examination (Due to hygienic reasons, you will not be able to pick up the remains of your child)
  • Click here to learn more about the options for funeral arragement.

Please note that the information provided above is for reference only, as each parent's situation is unique and hospital facilities or arrangements may differ. Please contact medical staff for detailed arrangement.

Source of information:

National Health Service

Miscarriage Association

Caring Tips After Pregnancy Loss
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Caring Tips After Pregnancy Loss

The physical and mental impact of miscarriage varies among women. It may take a few days or even a few weeks for the body to recover. Some may feel completely knackered or depressed while some may feel relieved as they might be worried about whether they have experienced miscarriage or not for a while now. Recovery is dependent on may factors, for example, the level of bleeding or the time taken for medical treatment. Therefore, there is no definite timeline for recovery. If you have any problems regarding your recovery, you may consult healthcare professionals or registered Chinese medicine practitioners.

Policies you should know about: According to the Hong Kong’s Employment & Labour Laws and Regulations, if you have experience a miscarriage or stillbirth at or after 24 weeks' pregnancy, you are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave. In other cases, you are entitled to time off if your doctor writes a note indicating that you are suffering from a pregnancy-related medical condition. (For more information, please click:

Funeral Arrangement
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Funeral Arrangement

Funeral rituals may help bereaved parents to process their grief. The following sections outline the funeral arrangements for different stages of pregnancy loss:

Procedure for handling pregnancy loss below 24 weeks:*

1. Let healthcare professionals know if you and your partner have your own arrangements for burying or cremating your baby.

2.You may be directed to the Patient Relationship Office for procedural explanation.

3.Fill in the application form and submit it to Patient Relationship Office.

4.Application will be reviewed by Hospital Dean and Hospital Authority. If your application is approved, you will be notified to collect the remains of your baby. Approval usually takes one month.

5. If your pregnancy ends before 24 weeks, you may consider in-ground burial (please click this link for related information: and abortus cremation. The following locations offer in-ground burial and abortus cremation services:




Garden of Serenity

Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery

2614 1403

Wo Hop Shek Garden of Forever Love

Wo Hop Shek, Fanling, N.T

2696 4031

Tao Fong Shan Garden of Angels

Tao Fong Shan Road, Shatin, N.T.

2576 2586

Angel’s Garden

Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Chai Wan

2843 4674

Cape Collinson Garden of Forever Love

Cape Collinson, Chaiwan

2556 1377

The Home of Forever Love in Kwai Chung

The Home of Forever Love, Kwai Chung Crematorium, 11-13 Wing Hau Street, Kwai Chung, New Territories

2614 4390

6. Confirm the date of burial (by undertaker or yourself)

Procedure for handling pregnancy loss at 24 weeks or above:*

1. Apply for documents related to funeral arrangements at the hospital (Form 13 “ Certificate of Still-birth”, Body Collection Form)

2. Apply for a cremation permit from the Department of Health.

3. Arrange a date for cremation

4. Attend the funeral

5. Apply for the recovery of cremated ashes, and scattering of cremated ashes

*Neither Birth Certificate nor Death Certificate will be issued. The baby will be named as “the child of XXX (the mother’s name)”.

Procedures for handling neonatal death:

1. Apply for a Birth Certificate.

2. Apply for documents related to funeral arrangements at the hospital ( Form 12 “ Certificate of Registration of Death”, Body Collection Form, Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death)

3. Arrange a date for cremation

4. Apply for Death Certificate.

5. Attend the funeral

6. Apply for the recovery of cremated ashes, and scattering of cremated ashes

Unclaimed bodies will be handled by the Hospital Authority according to the relevant law.

Source of information:

HKSAR Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Service for Keeping Abortuses

HKSAR Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Cemeteries and Crematoria

梁梓敦(2021)。《我永遠是你們的孩子 – 給天使爸媽的話》。香港:Dirty press。

As you wait for the outcome of your application you may:

  • Choose a name for your baby
  • Decorate a miscarriage casket for your baby (Contact YWCA’s acute psychological support services for casket decoration)
  • Prepare quilts and clothes for your baby (please use cotton if possible)
  • Prepare decomposable items such as dolls, letters or drawings for your baby.
Family Planning After Pregnancy Loss
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Family Planning After Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy loss can be a very sad and frightening experience. Even some time later you may still be coping with feelings of shock and great sadness. You may also be feeling anxious about the future – especially about trying again.

Should we try again?

You may feel quite confident about trying for another baby. But you may be very anxious about having another miscarriage. Or you may be worried about whether you will manage to conceive. In fact, have a healthy and open discussion with your partner is important before deciding if you should try again. There is no absolute right or wrong towards the decision as everyone have their own pace on the journey of pregnancy.

When’s the best time?

There is no right answer to this. You may want to get pregnant again as soon as possible; or you may want to wait a while, particularly if the thought of another pregnancy makes you anxious. Or you and your partner need more time to process the loss. If you would like to know when you’ll be physically ready for another pregnancy, please consult your responsible medical officer.

Will it happen again?

No one can say for sure. What we know is that even there is one or two times of miscarriage history, it is positive to have a healthy pregnancy next time. However, age is also an important factor which means the higher the age, the higher the risk of miscarriage. It is especially the case for women aged 40 or above, who have the chance of miscarriage as high as 50%.

When the trying stops

You might have been thinking for some time about stopping your attempts to have a baby, or the thought might have suddenly come into your mind. And you might find it harder and harder to cope with any further loss and with the roller-coaster of hope followed by disappointment.

After making the decision to stop trying, people move on with their lives in all sorts of different ways. Some explore different ways of becoming a parent, such as fostering or adoption. Some consider caring for older children or those with special needs. (For the information and application procedure of adoption, please refer to the website of the Social Welfare Department:

Others may decide to move on without directly parenting and become more involved with their nephews and nieces or the children of friends. Although this might be painful at times, being part of a child’s life can also bring much happiness. In the same way, working with a charity involving children can bring great satisfaction and fulfilment.

Source of information:

Miscarriage Association

Psychological Counselling Services
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Psychological Counselling Services
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