Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

Oct 25, 2021 | Fertility Rainbow Stories

It’s urgent to normalize pregnancy loss awareness. Parents who have lost their baby or child need a strong support network around them. So, it is crucial to break the silence and share awareness with people who have experienced the same. 

Early pregnancy loss is common. Usually, it happens during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. It occurs in about 10% of known pregnancies.

If you have experienced this loss, you know how overwhelming and painful it can be. However, overcoming the emotional and physical impact of this loss is possible. Many women go on to have successful pregnancies.

What is early pregnancy loss?

Early pregnancy loss is when the unborn baby dies during pregnancy. It can occur during the first 13 weeks, sometimes when the mother doesn’t even know she is pregnant. 

Pregnancy loss can have several variations:

  • Embryonic pregnancy. The egg fertilized never develops into an embryo.
  • Miscarriage. The loss occurs before 13 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage is a relatively common experience.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. The fetus develops outside the uterus. Instead, it grows in a fallopian tube, the cervix, the pelvis, or the abdomen.
  • Molar pregnancy. The placenta and fetal tissues do not develop normally.
  • Stillbirth. This is more unusual. The fetus dies after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

How is early pregnancy loss diagnosed?

Pregnancy loss is also referred to as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. 

You may have signs and symptoms of early pregnancy loss, such as pain or bleeding, which will most likely lead you towards a check-up with your doctor. Once you’re there, your obstetrician can review your health history and advise some physical examinations that may include:

  • Pregnancy blood tests: These tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your blood. A low or decreasing level of hCG can mean pregnancy loss.
  • Ultrasound Tests: These tests use sound waves to check whether the embryo is still growing and to detect blood vessels, the presence of a heartbeat, and organs.

Sometimes, you may need to repeat the tests to confirm that pregnancy loss has occurred. 

The Diagnosis and Causes Behind Early Pregnancy Loss

What causes early pregnancy loss?

Problems with genes or chromosomes cause about one-half of cases of early pregnancy loss. The embryo may receive an abnormal number of chromosomes, which may lead to an early pregnancy loss. 

For example: 

The embryo is composed of 23 chromosomes from each side: sperm and egg cells. When the sperm and egg join, the normal set is 46 chromosomes. However, if an egg or sperm don’t have the correct number of chromosomes, the embryo may develop problems. Thus, sometimes, it results in loss of the pregnancy.

But, other factors can also play a role:

  • Abnormal embryo development;
  • Thyroid problems or low levels of progesterone in the mother;
  • High blood pressure or diabetes in the mother;
  • Problems in the uterus;
  • Infection from germs, for example, mycoplasma, chlamydia, ureaplasma, listeria, or toxoplasma;
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome;
  • Injury or trauma;
  • Exposure to toxic substances and chemicals, such as anti-cancer medicines.

Is it possible to try to become pregnant after a pregnancy loss?

It is expected you feel reluctant to try again when you lose a baby in your first pregnancy.

Here is the good news! Is it possible to get pregnant after a pregnancy loss! 

Usually, pregnancy loss in the first three months only occurs once. After that, most women have successful pregnancies. 

Repeated pregnancy losses are rare. However, if that is your case, the source of the problem must be found.

You and your partner decide when you are emotionally ready to try again. Take your time to heal because it could take a few weeks, months, or even a year. A doctor should accompany you before and during the pregnancy. 

How to cope with pregnancy loss?  

An early loss pregnancy is something that impacts your life, your emotions, and your feelings. 

You might feel that you will never be happy again and experience profound sadness.

You might feel guilty, angry, or cheated. You might feel unfortunate, stunned, or shocked. 

You might feel that “you are losing your mind” and have a lot of anxiety and irritability.

Or, you might feel outraged and think to yourself, “Why me? Why us?”. 

These reactions are expected. No one can prevent you from feeling like this. But, with time and support, it is possible to move on and accept the loss. 

Although you will never forget your baby, you will be able to cope with the loss and look forward to your life. 

Having a good family structure and robust professional support is key to accepting what happened to you and getting your joy back. 

But, there are also other approaches to get you through this hard situation:

  • Share your feelings and ask for help whenever you need it. Family, friends, and your loved ones are your support, so let them know how you feel. 
  • No one was to blame in this process. Talk to your partner and share your emotions. Also, keep in mind that each one manages their feelings in different ways. 
  • Don’t forget about yourself. Take care of yourself. Restore your energy and well-being, eat healthy food and keep yourself active.
  • Join a support group. A support group might help you feel better.
  • Keep remembrance of your baby, including a lock of hair, hand or footprint, photographs, etc.
  • Get counsel from a professional experienced in grief counseling. 
Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month - coping

October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. 

That’s why it is so important to talk about this! Not only to help grieving families not feel alone but also to increase the likelihood that these families receive recognition and support. 

Furthermore, it also can result in improved education and prevention efforts, which may decrease these misfortunes. 

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