Miscarriage

Miscarriage : You are not alone

Miscarriage has a shroud of stigma attached to it even today, making it hard for women to reach out for support.

However, about 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, making the number of actual pregnancies including ones that are unknown, much higher [1]. Although a relatively common experience, it is an emotionally charged and often traumatic life-event.

Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. However, more than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy[2]. Ectopic pregnancies (also called tubal pregnancies) develop outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes [3].  

Key signs of miscarriage include:

  •   Vaginal spotting or bleeding

  • Pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower back

  • Fluid or tissue passing from your vagina

  • Fever along with any of the above symptoms

If you think you have miscarried, it is recommended that you see the doctor immediately!

Why miscarriages happen…

If you have miscarried before, you might want to know why this happened in the first place. About 50% of miscarriages are caused by extra or missing Chromosomes.  Chromosomes are genetic ‘building blocks’ that guide the development of the baby. Most often these chromosome problems are random and cannot be prevented.  The other causes could be infections, uncontrolled diabetes, hormonal problems, thyroid problems or major injuries.

The risk of miscarriages is higher based on:

Age

  • Women older than age 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than do younger women. At age 35, you have about a 20 percent risk. At age 40, the risk is about 40 percent. And at age 45, it’s about 80 percent.

Previous miscarriages. 

  • Women who have had two or more consecutive miscarriages are at higher risk of miscarriage.

Uncontrolled diabetes

Uterine or cervical problems. 

  • Certain uterine abnormalities or weak cervical tissues (incompetent cervix) might increase the risk of miscarriage.

Smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs. 

Being underweight or overweight

Invasive prenatal tests

It’s time to end the silence…

Miscarriages often bring about a myriad of feelings such as inadequacy, failure, guilt, sadness, trauma, self-loathing in women. It is important to remember that you are NOT ALONE in this journey. Miscarriages are more common than people realise, however, societal pressure has meant that this topic is barely discussed. Whilst it is important to respect the sanctity of such a private matter, it is okay to find your own method of coping.

There is no right or wrong way to feel about it. Some may even find themselves learning to cope years after the event or often live in denial for long periods. Here are a few tips to help you through an incredibly difficult journey.

Self-Care is important

Miscarriage causes both emotional and physical pain. At this time, self-care is of utmost importance. Find things that are calming, easy to accomplish and achievable without emotionally or physically taxing yourself. The healing process could be as simple as going out for walks, gentle yoga, meditation, finding a coffee shop to read a book, having a bubble bath or going to an art class. It is important to take a break from societal obligations and selfishly love yourself to help with the grieving process.

 Healing is a marathon not a sprint

Communicating boundaries may help the healing process. Some women welcome the solitude and some desire company. Communicating your preferences to your loved ones, friends and colleagues is important at such a time. Be bold enough to ask for space without having to provide ‘explanations’ or reach out to women who may have had a similar experience. At this time, setting healthy boundaries can help with healing, often achieved by taking small steps.

Finding the ‘I get it’ group

 Social support during such an event can come in many forms. This could be your family, close friends, colleagues, an online community or even the perfect stranger. There is no shame in reaching out to ask for help or support at this time. More often than not, those around you want to help you but just don’t know. Sometimes sharing and finding solidarity can help you feel like you’re not alone in this journey. Connecting with those who ‘get it’ can be incredibly empowering. This community often supports open and honest conversations minus any judgement.

 Whilst miscarriage can be incredibly difficult, please remember that you are not alone.

 

[1] https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/miscarriage

[2] https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-miscarriage#1

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298