Miscarriage - Mother in empty nurseryWhen you are young and dream of someday having your own children, you never think that such a natural process might be difficult.  The dream never includes not being able to become pregnant or having a miscarriage, but this is a reality for many women who desire to begin their family.

A miscarriage can be physically difficult and even painful, but the real toll is taken in emotional and mental turmoil.  The pain of miscarriage can be as severe as the pain of losing a child later in life. Many women who miscarry blame themselves, and believe that they did something to cause the loss. At a time when hormones are running high and fluctuating wildly, it is easy to succumb to self-accusing thoughts. The truth is that if just one of the pieces of genetic information is flawed, the pregnancy will terminate. When you think of the complexity of the human body, it is a miracle that babies ever come to term and are born healthy.  Many different systems and cells have to form correctly in order for the miracle of birth to occur.

Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. The most common reasons women miscarry are missing pieces of genetic information in the fertilized egg or improper implantation of the baby into the uterine lining.  Some other causes of miscarriage are:

  • Maternal age
  • Maternal trauma
  • Hormonal problems, infections, or maternal health problems
  • Lifestyle (i.e. smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine, and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)

In order to help yourself or someone you know that might be pregnant, it is a good idea to be aware of the signs that one might be having a miscarriage. Usually, the first sign of miscarriage is vaginal spotting or bleeding, although bleeding does not always indicate a miscarriage.  Be aware that 1 in 4 pregnant women who have some spotting in early pregnancy do not end in miscarriage.

Another sign of miscarriage is abdominal pain, which usually begins after you first have some bleeding. Abdominal pain can be experienced as cramps, low back pain, mild or sharp, or pelvic pressure.  If you have any of these symptoms, call your care provider immediately.

Sometimes miscarriage is suspected when there are no outward symptoms if the baby’s heartbeat cannot be heard during a prenatal visit, or if the mother’s uterus is not growing as it should be.  Your physician can order an ultrasound or blood test to determine the state of the pregnancy.  An ultrasound can see what’s going on in the uterus, and a blood test for the pregnancy hormone can reveal if a woman is still pregnant.

If you or someone you love has suffered a miscarriage, how do you begin to heal from your sadness and grief? The following behaviors have been suggested by Lisa Brock, an author for Focus on the Family Ministry:

  • Don’t blame yourself.
  • Accept your grief.
  • Talk about your struggles.
  • Memorialize your child.
  • Don’t be afraid to try again.

To read the full article on “Life after Miscarriage” go to http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/relationship_challenges/miscarriage/life_after_miscarriage.aspx

What helped you heal from the loss of miscarriage?