Miscarriage is one of the hardest (and most common) challenges women face. If you have not had a miscarriage yourself, you most certainly have a best friend, sister, or daughter who has. There are many myths floating around the internet, however there are a few important truths everyone should know about miscarriage.
1. You aren’t alone. Miscarriage is common and occurs more frequently than you might think. Often, a miscarriage occurs before a woman even knows she is pregnant. If you include these cases in statistics, up to 50% all pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, the number is closer to 15-20% for recognized pregnancies.
2. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, but they can also happen later too. Luckily this is rare after 13 weeks. It is often more traumatic emotionally and physically in later trimesters. Women who experience late second trimester or 3rd trimester fetal losses (the term used when occurs later in pregnancy) will have physiologic responses from their bodies that think they just had a child. Their breasts may engorge with milk, a painful reminder of what was lost.
3. It’s not your fault.
4. It’s not your fault. Bears repeating. Also, its okay to grieve an early pregnancy loss. You likely had hopes, expectations, and dreams already wrapped up around this pregnancy. It may take a while to recover.
5. Up to 80% of pregnancy tissue from first trimester miscarriage is chromosomally abnormal- meaning that there was a genetic problem with the developing baby.
6. There has been debate over the amount of time you should wait after a miscarriage before trying again, but newer research shows that in most cases you can start trying again with the next cycle. Although, 3 months is a commonly quoted and may give you more time to heal physically and emotionally.
7. The fact that you got pregnant is a good sign that you will be able to get pregnant again.
8. You have 3 options when a miscarriage occurs- make sure you discuss all 3 with your doctor to determine the best course of option for you.
– Expectant: this means waiting for your body to complete the miscarriage on its own. It may include moments of severe cramping and bleeding. The timing can be unpredictable, but you may be able to avoid a procedure if this is important to you. However, if the bleeding is severe you may still need medical intervention.
– Medication: If you haven’t started bleeding yet, a pill can help your body to start the process once miscarriage is confirmed. This gives you a measure of control over when the process will start. It is successful in most cases, but sometimes you may still ultimately need a procedure if everything does not pass on its own.
– Surgical: The procedure is called Dilation and Curettage “D & C”. This is a minor procedure to remove the contents of the uterus (failed pregnancy). Some women prefer this option as bleeding and cramping time is limited after the procedure. The process is over sooner and may cause less interruption for women who may need to be back at work, or have other children at home dependent on their care. There are risks with any surgical procedure, and although minor, must also be considered.
Since many people wait to tell family and friends about a new pregnancy until safely out of the first trimester, it can be a lonely experience if you go through a miscarriage without the support of your loved ones. In recent years, women have become more vocal about miscarriage and this has helped women feel less alone when it occurs. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others during this time. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor and don’t lose hope about what the future may bring.