Inside the Troubling Pattern of Pregnant Women Being Killed by Loved Ones

Inside Edition takes a look at cases where expectant mothers were killed by their spouses or lovers.

Is the murder of an expectant mother part of a troubling pattern in which pregnant women are killed by their husband, boyfriend or lover?

Homicide is actually the second leading cause of death among pregnant women after car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere spoke to Inside Edition what leads men to commit these heinous crimes. 

"What we typically see is in killing their child or children, killing the wife, killing the family, these are individuals who feel that this is an act of desperation – this is something they must do in order to go on with their lives," he said. 

The best-known case is Scott Peterson, who murdered his wife, Laci, and their unborn baby.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, author of "Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson,” spoke to Inside Edition. 

"In every case I have looked at, they all make sense – it may be a terrible kind of sense but the narrative makes sense – that the birth of that child represented a kind of death, an impending death for the man," he said.  

Peterson is now on death row in California.

There are other notorious cases.

Former NFL star Rae Carruth hired three hitmen to gun down his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica, in 1999. She died from her injuries, but her baby survived.

Last year, Tyler Tessier was accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, a beloved teacher from Maryland. After burying her in a shallow grave, he actually appeared at a press conference appealing to the public for help finding her.

Tessier has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

And just Wednesday, Chris Watts reportedly confessed to the murder of his wife, Shanann, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and their two daughters.