Your Miscarriage Questions Answered

By Amanda St. Aubin, CNM Obstetrics & Gynecology | St. Luke's OB-GYN
About the Author:
My goal is to build a relationship while providing a safe and caring experience that respects the normal process of pregnancy and childbirth. My priority is to create a partnership that honors the power and diversity of each individual patient and her family.

Dispelling the myths and removing the stigma around this common event

 

Whether you’re trying to conceive or have recently become pregnant, the fear of a miscarriage can often loom. For women who have experienced a miscarriage, there might be confusion or concern about what went wrong, and what it means for future attempts at conception.

Information about miscarriage, however, can be difficult to come by. There is a stigma attached to the topic, and this can lead to myths and misinformation. At St. Luke’s, we want women to feel comfortable and confident for the entire pregnancy process — from conception all the way through delivery. That means dispelling these myths, correcting that misinformation and removing the stigma around miscarriages.

It’s likely not your fault

Most miscarriages happen for unknown reasons. There is simply some aspect of the fetus that is incompatible with life. There’s rarely anything in the mother’s life — diet, activity or stress — that causes it. 

It’s common

Twenty to 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Since some women miscarry at home and don’t come in for care, the exact rate of miscarriage is unknown. But it’s a common occurrence when trying to conceive. 

If a miscarriage happens to you, know that you’re not alone.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have a baby

While there is a slight increase in the risk of having another miscarriage if you’ve already had one, the majority of women can go on to have successful pregnancies after a miscarriage.

In fact, while you may wish to wait longer for emotional reasons, you can try again as soon as you’ve completed a normal menstrual cycle. 

Know the signs

A woman will commonly feel cramping and bleeding as the first signs of a miscarriage. The next steps are a decrease in pregnancy hormones and pregnancy-related symptoms. This can include no longer feeling nausea or breast tenderness typically experienced in the first trimester.

Bleeding is not always a sign of miscarriage. It’s common for women in the first trimester to have some spotting. However, if the blood is bright red, or in a quantity that requires a pad, that could be a sign of miscarriage and you should contact your doctor.

If there is significant bleeding for more than a few hours that is soaking a pad and not slowing down, go to the ER to be seen as soon as possible.

Seek support

We encourage every woman to come in for an evaluation after a miscarriage to ensure it’s complete and that there are no complications. Emotionally, we also encourage everyone to seek out support after a miscarriage. 

It’s always going to feel like a loss. There is a loss of expectations and a sense of lost hope. Finding formal support groups or turning to family members can be a major source of support.

Too often miscarriages aren’t talked about. When the topic is openly discussed, women may be surprised at the amount of other women in their own life who have experienced it and the support they can receive from those they love.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.

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