The period of highest risk for pregnancy loss and precautions to minimize it

Although every stage of pregnancy requires careful attention, there are specific times when extra caution is crucial.

Tenzin Chodon
Pregnancy Loss: When Is The Riskiest Time And Things To Avoid

Embarking on the journey of pregnancy can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. It requires your undivided attention, patience, resilience, and, above all, self-care.

Each stage of pregnancy presents its own set of risks, which can potentially increase the likelihood of miscarriage. Miscarriage, defined as the sudden loss of pregnancy before the 20th week, is an unfortunate event that affects many expecting mothers. According to StatPearls Publishing, studies suggest that approximately 26% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, with up to 10% of clinically recognized pregnancies being affected.

Dr. Muthineni Rajini, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, as well as Infertility Specialist at CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, shared insights with the Healthonlyforyou team regarding common risk factors associated with pregnancy loss and identified the most precarious period for pregnant women.

The potential for miscarriage during pregnancy

The potential for miscarriage during pregnancy

Dr. Rajini highlights that women aged 35 and above face an escalated risk of miscarriage, with the likelihood increasing as they grow older.

“At 35, the risk stands at approximately 20%, which escalates to about 33–40% by age 40 and significantly rises to a range of 57–80% by 45 years of age,” she explains.

Furthermore, a history of previous miscarriages can heighten the risk of experiencing another one, Dr. Rajini notes.

Pre-existing health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, weakened cervical tissues, hormonal imbalances, and obesity may also contribute to the risk of miscarriage.

It’s essential to recognize that lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol consumption, and the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine can further increase the risk.

At what time is the most precarious

While it’s difficult to predict pregnancy loss with certainty, Dr. Rajini notes that the highest risk occurs within the initial three months of pregnancy, typically within the first 13 weeks. Studies indicate that approximately 80% of pregnancy losses occur during the first trimester, primarily before the 10-week mark.

Symptoms of a miscarriage can vary but commonly include vaginal bleeding, light spotting, or heavy bleeding. Pelvic or lower back pain and the passage of fluid or tissue from the vagina may also occur, along with a faster than normal heartbeat.

Medically speaking, pregnancy is often considered relatively safer around the 12-week milestone.

Precautionary Steps to Ensure Safety

Here are some precautionary measures to minimize the risk of miscarriage or pregnancy loss:

1. Prioritize regular prenatal care throughout pregnancy and after delivery.
2. Steer clear of known risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use.
3. Take a daily multivitamin to support overall health.
4. Limit caffeine intake.
5. Effectively manage chronic health conditions.
6. Avoid exposure to extreme heat.
7. Minimize stress.
8. Reduce consumption of junk foods.
9. Opt for low-impact workouts.
10. Stay away from second-hand smoke, paint fumes, X-ray exposure, pesticides, and harsh household cleaners.

Remember, taking these precautions can significantly contribute to a healthier pregnancy.

Is it Beneficial for Women to Engage in Physical Activity During Pregnancy

Dr. Rajini suggests that exercise is generally safe and even encouraged during pregnancy. She advises that if you were active before becoming pregnant, you can typically continue your exercise routine unless advised otherwise by your doctor. However, it’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Some key exercise tips to consider are:

1. Engage in low-impact activities like prenatal yoga.
2. Practice caution during physical activity and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
3. Stay away from activities that increase the risk of falling or causing abdominal trauma.
4. Avoid exercises involving excessive jumping, twisting, or bouncing.
5. Refrain from exercising in hot or humid conditions or to the point of exhaustion.


It’s crucial to acknowledge the vulnerability of the fetus, particularly during the first trimester when the risk of pregnancy loss is highest. Taking proactive steps to safeguard both the baby’s health and the mother’s well-being is paramount. Avoiding behaviors that may heighten the risk of pregnancy loss is essential. This includes maintaining a healthy and balanced diet with ample vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Practicing caution during physical activity is also advisable. Furthermore, cutting out alcohol and reducing caffeine intake are recommended measures for promoting a healthier pregnancy.