Understanding Miscarriage (Coping With The Loss)

When a Miscarriage Happens Miscarriage is the unplanned end of a pregnancy before the baby can live outside the womb. When a miscarriage happens, you’re likely to have a wide range of feelings. Each woman responds in her own way.

No One is to Blame
Know that you did not cause this to happen. Miscarriage is very common. It occurs most often with a first pregnancy, but it can happen with any pregnancy. Miscarriage usually takes place during the first 10 weeks after conception. It may happen at this early stage because something about the pregnancy itself is not right.

What You Feel Is Okay
No one can tell you how to respond to your miscarriage. If you have been trying to have a child, this loss may feel over-whelming. Perhaps this was an unplanned pregnancy. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel loss. Or you may have children already. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel loss. On the other hand, you may be ready to get on with your life. You know yourself best. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel.

The Future Still Holds Promise
Miscarriage is a sudden, unexpected change. It can catch you unprepared. But now is not the time to make big decisions. Wait until you’re feeling better, then think about what’s ahead. Having a miscarriage does not need to change all your plans. You can try again—if you want to. Chances are good that you’ll have a healthy pregnancy. And if you change your mind and don’t want to get pregnant, that’s okay too.

A Time of Many Emotions
On first learning about the miscarriage, you may be numb or in shock. Then you may feel disbelief, anger, sadness—perhaps a hint of relief. These are all normal responses. Allow yourself to accept how you feel. Only then can you begin to move on. But know that you may have strong emotions, which can last for hours, days, or even weeks. “I cried for my lost baby and for myself. I can’t describe it, but some-thing changed in me that day.”

A Sense of Loss
No matter what you thought about being pregnant, having a miscarriage may cause a sense of loss. You may feel as if something is missing. Some women are unsettled and struggle for answers. It’s okay if you can’t describe how you feel. At first, it may be enough just to look inside yourself and feel your emotions.

Events Trigger Feelings
People, places, and events can trigger feelings. Triggers are personal. Yours may not be the same as someone else’s. During the next few weeks, you may notice frequent triggers. They tend to lessen as time goes by. But sometimes an event, such as a baby shower, will trigger feelings months or years later. Although not everyone may understand, it’s okay to choose not to attend such events.

Partner’s Note
Men grieve too. You may be feeling sad, helpless, or frustrated. When you’re struggling with your own feelings, knowing how to help your partner may be hard. But do your best to provide support. Listen without feeling as if you have to stop her pain. It will help your partner work through her grief. “Spending time together helped. We talked about what we wanted as a couple.”

Be good to yourself
What do you need to feel better? You may want to be protected or to have private time. Perhaps you’ll want to take a few days off work. It’s okay to put your needs first right now. Take care of your body and try to relax. Do what you can to pick up your spirits. If there are people who should know about the miscarriage, tell them when you and your partner are ready.

Take Care of Your Body
Due to the recent changes in your body, you may feel a little tired or even worn out. Help yourself be healthy.

Relax Your Mind
At first, you may feel like your mind’s going in circles. When you’re awake, the miscarriage may be all you can think about. When you are asleep, you may dream you’re still pregnant. Relax your mind by doing things you like.

Telling Other People
People who knew about the pregnancy will need to be told about the miscarriage. Start with the family member or friend you’re closest to. If you like, ask this person to pass on the news to others. If you have a child who knew, explain that the baby will not be coming. Be honest, but choose what and how much to say according to the age of your child.

Partner’s Note
Help your partner gain some distance from this loss. If she agrees, tell people for her. That way she won’t have to keep repeating the news. Start with your parents. Let them know how you both are doing and say that she will talk with them when she feels better. You may also want to tell someone at her workplace. That way, anyone who needs to know can be told before she returns.

During a Miscarriage
No two miscarriages are alike. Because of this, your doctor will talk with you about what’s best for your recovery. If you’re in good health, your body may be allowed to miscarry on its own. But depending on the miscarriage, having a D & C (dilation and curettage) may be best. This simple procedure returns the uterus to its state before pregnancy. Some women begin to miscarry and then have a D & C if pain or bleeding becomes a concern.

If Your Body Miscarries
As your body miscarries, you may pass both blood and tissue. Follow up with your doctor as often as he or she suggests. This may be by phone or at office visits. To prevent infection, do not use tampons or place anything in your vagina at this time.

When to Call the Doctor
• Call your doctor if you have any of the following
• Severe Pain
• Bleeding that soaks a new sanitary pad each hour
• Fever or chills
• Vaginal Discharge that has a bad odor

Normal Bleeding Pattern
Most miscarriages start with bleeding. Blood flow may increase with time and the amount of cramping. At some point, your cramps may get very strong. This is normal. Cramping widens the passage (cervix) that any tissue from the uterus must pass through to leave your body. After the tissue passes, pain and bleeding should start to lessen. Depending on how far along the pregnancy was, bleeding may last 3 to 7 days.

Tissue Samples
Your doctor may ask for a sample of the tissue for lab testing. This is to make sure that the cells being shed from your body are normal. You can collect a small amount of tissue in a baggie or plastic container.

If You Have a D & C
You may have a D&C if you are bleeding heavily, are in severe pain, or if all the tissue does not pass from your uterus. In most cases, a D&C is over in minutes. It may be done in your doctor’s office or at a hospital.

Normal Bleeding Pattern
Most miscarriages start with bleeding. Blood flow may increase with time and the amount of cramping. At some point, your cramps may get very strong. This is normal. Cramping widens the passage (cervix) that any tissue from the uterus must pass through to leave your body. After the tissue passes, pain and bleeding should start to lessen. Depending on how far along the pregnancy was, bleeding may last 3 to 7 days.

Understanding the Procedure
If you will be more at ease, your partner may be able to stay with you during the procedure. When you arrive, you may be given medications to help you relax. These might reduce your control of your emotions, causing you to cry. Before the D&C, an anesthetic may be applied to the cervix, or you may be given anesthesia to help you sleep. Then your doctor widens the cervix and removes the tissue and blood lining the uterus. The tissue is sent for lab tests.

Going Home
After resting briefly, you should be able to go home. You may be given medications to reduce pain or the risk of infection. Take the medications as directed, and be sure to follow up with your doctor in about 2 weeks.

Explaining Miscarriage
Why did it happen? Every woman who has a miscarriage wants to know. Sometimes there’s a problem with the baby or the uterus. Other factors, such as illness, may also play a role. But many times, the cause of a miscarriage never becomes clear. What doctors do know is that miscarriage has nothing to do with normal daily living. This pregnancy was not lost because of something that you did.

What Does Not Cause Miscarriage
Plenty of myths and old wives’ tales try to explain the cause of miscarriage. But, they are fiction—not fact. None of the following activities causes miscarriage:
• Carrying groceries
• Lifting a small child
• Wearing high heels
• Working outside the home
• Being a vegetarian
• Eating spicy food
• Having sex
• Having a Pap Smear
• Colouring your hair
• Vacuuming

Possible Causes
Miscarriage is common, but finding its cause may not be easy. If a cause can be found, it’s likely to be a problem with the baby or the structure of the uterus. Other factors cause miscarriage, but they are less common.

Problems with the Baby
Any of the following problems with the baby can cause a miscarriage:
• There is a problem with the baby’s chromosomes (genes that carry the information needed for life).
• The placenta or the umbilical code may be damaged.
• Problems with the Uterus or Cervix
Any of these problems with the uterus or cervix can cause a miscarriage:
• The Uterus may be divide have a septum), or have fibroids, adhesions, or endometriosis.
• The lining of the uterus may be too thin for the fertilized egg to implant.
• The cervix may be too weak to support the weight of a pregnancy.

Other Factors
Any of the following factors can cause a miscarriage:
• A serious illness, such as lupus or German measles, can affect a pregnancy.
• A bad injury, perhaps dusing a car accident, could put the pregnancy at risk.
• Exposure to toxins or radiation can harm a pregnancy.
If You Want to Try Again You’ve been pregnant, so you know that chances are very good it can happen again—if you want it to. The choice belongs to you and your partner. For most women, miscarriage happens only once. If you’ve had two or more, special tests may be done to help find and correct the problem. If you want to try again, do so when you’re ready. It is likely that your next pregnancy will be healthy.

Special Tests
If you go on to have repeat miscarriages, your doctor may want to run a few tests. In certain cases, special tests can pinpoint the cause of miscarriage. Some causes, such as problems with the uterus, can often be corrected. If you have a general health problem, finding ways to control it may be all that’s needed.

Prepare for the Future
After the first miscarriage, most couples go on to have a healthy pregnancy. You can give a future baby the best start by eating a balanced diet. To help prevent problems during your next pregnancy, avoid actions that may place the baby at risk. While you are pregnant, stay away from the following:
• Smoking
• Drinking alcohol
• Using drugs
• Spending time in hot tubs and saunas

Moving Ahead
A miscarriage does not have to mean the end of your dreams. Try to think of it as a temporary setback. Most women who try again have healthy pregnancies. Just give yourself a chance to recover and regain your strength. Consult the OBGYN who specialized in high risk pregnancies.

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