As many as 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most before the 12th week of gestation, and often without the woman even knowing she was pregnant. The loss of a pregnancy does not typically cause other medical problems, there are few issues related to survival. However, in cases of infection or when there is a missed abortion—i.e., when the fetus dies but is not expelled from the uterus—the woman should seek follow-up care from a doctor to diagnose the miscarriage and either remove the fetal remnants or treat the infection.
In cases of later pregnancy loss—i.e., after 20 weeks—the woman may require hormonal treatments to push out the remaining fetal tissues that have not naturally passed. In some cases, a serious blood-clotting complication known as disseminated intravascular coagulation can occur, especially in cases in which the fetus has miscarried but is not passed from the uterus for a month or longer. With treatment, the prognosis for these conditions is excellent.