Pregnancy information

When Pregnancy Goes Wrong

Sadly, sometimes pregnancy can go wrong. Women may have to face a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or the death of the baby.

If your pregnancy ends in this way, you will need both information and support. Talk to the people close to you about how you feel, and to your midwife, doctor or health visitor about what's happened and why.

Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone outside your family and friends. There are lots of organisations offering information and support, including Bliss, Cruse Bereavement and the Miscarriage Association.

Ectopic pregnancy

This is when a fertilised egg implants outside the womb, usually in a fallopian tube. The fertilised egg can't develop properly, and your health may be at serious risk if the pregnancy continues. The egg must be removed – this can be through an operation or using medicines.

The warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy can start soon after a missed period, but occasionally there are no noticeable symptoms.

Find out more about ectopic pregnancy, including symptoms and the treatment that’s available.


A miscarriage is when a pregnancy is lost before 24 weeks. They are very common.

Many early miscarriages (before 12 weeks) happen because there is something wrong with the baby. A later miscarriage may be due to an infection, problems in the placenta, or the cervix being weak and opening too early in the pregnancy.

A miscarriage can start like a period, with spotting or bleeding.

Find out more about miscarriage, including symptoms, treatment options, your care and coping afterwards.

Losing a baby

In some pregnancies, the baby dies before it's born (stillbirth) or soon after (neonatal death). Losing a baby in this way is a huge shock.

Find out more about stillbirth and neonatal death, and where you can get help and support.

Termination for foetal abnormality

In some pregnancies, screening tests may detect a serious anomaly in the baby. You will probably be very shocked when you are first told and will need to take time to think things through. In this situation, some couples decide to terminate the pregnancy.

Find out more about termination for foetal abnormality, what is involved and where you can get help and support.

You can find more information on pregnancy in the 'Your Pregnancy and Birth book'.

Last Updated: 25/07/2023 07:35:35
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website