When You've Had a Miscarriage

A special kind of grief

Only another woman who has experienced a miscarriage can fully understand the heartache it brings. A new life had started and with it, so many beautiful hopes, plans and dreams for the future. When a pregnancy ends, all these dreams end with it, and the loss is felt with deep grief.

When a pregnancy ends unexpectedly, well-meaning friends may say, “You can try again.” But, the woman who has lost a baby knows in her heart that this precious life will never come again, and she needs time to mourn the loss before she considers another pregnancy.

The causes of miscarriage

While a woman may, understandably, feel very alone when a pregnancy ends abruptly, miscarriages are really fairly common. In fact, most women will have one or more at some time in their lives. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, as many as 10 to 15 percent of all confirmed pregnancies are lost. Even more may go unreported or may occur before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.

The common causes of miscarriages, according to the Mayo Clinic, include maternal health issues such as hormonal problems, thyroid disease, infections and uncontrolled diabetes. Most pregnancies that end prematurely, however, are the result of a problem with the developing fetus. Random chromosomal abnormalities, for example, can prevent the ovum, or egg, from forming into an embryo, or can keep the embryo from developing normally.

What can be done?

Once a miscarriage has started, there is little that medical science can do to stop it. If you are pregnant and experiencing abdominal cramps or vaginal bleeding, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will ensure that all the placental material has passed, and that you are not at risk for an infection.

Trying again

While miscarriages are quite common, consecutive losses, according to the Mayo Clinic, are much more rare. Only five percent of women have two consecutive miscarriages, and only one percent have three or more. Most women who have lost one pregnancy later go on to have a successful, full-term baby. The loss of one pregnancy does not mean the end of your plans for a family.

If a woman has lost more than one consecutive pregnancy, however, she should consider a thorough health evaluation before she plans her next pregnancy, to ensure that any of her own related health problems — if any — have been addressed. Because random chromosomal abnormalities play such a strong roll in unsuccessful pregnancies, if a woman is undergoing in vitro fertilization her doctor may recommend a pre-implantation genetic screening of her embryos.

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