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 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.
Twenty-five percent 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. Talk to your provider about a plan for trying again.
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.
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.
Here are some resources we recommend:
- Talk to your doctor for additional assessment and consideration of a referral to a licensed therapist.
- Postpartum Support International offers free online grief support for miscarriage and infant loss. You can access the information at postpartum.net.
- Additional resources on grief can be found at grief.com.