Pregnancy After Miscarriage or Loss
A history of miscarriages or loss can make even the smoothest pregnancy feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Once you experience that trauma, it is hard to go back to the blissful place you were before. Instead of feeling excitement and joy, you may be feeling nervous and scared - which no one can blame you for.
The second you receive that positive pregnancy test, your anxiety level is likely to increase. Your mind may immediately go to the negative outcomes you experienced previously. If you are having a difficult time with pregnancy after miscarriage or loss, coping mechanisms are crucial for getting to the other side.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms:
- Allow yourself to express your emotions
- Find a support group
- Talk with a therapist
- Practice self-care
Manage Your Expectations & Be Prepared:
Write down a list of questions for your doctor. Many insurance plans now offer great 24/7 teledoctor services. Don’t be afraid to call with any questions you may have. If statistics make you feel better, ask for likelihood percentages of every scary scenario going through your head. Sometimes looking at a timeline of pregnancy milestones can also help you manage your expectations.
Know the Facts:
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, around 50% of all early pregnancy loss cases (within the first trimester) are due to fetal chromosomal abnormalities. The risk of miscarriage also largely depends on the mother’s age and medical history.
Before 6 weeks, the risk of miscarriage is around 30%. Once you pass 6 weeks, it drops to 10-15%. Once you clear the first trimester, it is less than 2%.
Remember that if there is a negative income, it isn’t your fault. The only instance where the outcome could be changed is if a progesterone insufficiency is detected, which your OBGYN will supplement. Most gynecologists won’t see you until you are at least 7-8 weeks pregnant, because it is a bit of a waiting game.
A common IVF misconception is that if the embryo is being placed directly into the uterus, then it should stick. Unfortunately, regardless of the pregnancy method (fertility treatment or on your own) the embryo floats around inside the uterus before implanting or not.
Signs & Symptoms:
Every person and pregnancy is different. Sometimes people have no pregnancy symptoms and sometimes they are extremely sick. If you have a symptom, such as breast tenderness, and it stops - that doesn’t necessarily indicate a loss. The only symptom to keep an eye out for is vaginal bleeding. Notify your physician if you experience any.
Different types of pregnancy loss:
- Blighted Ovum: The leading cause of miscarriage. A fertilized egg implants in the uterus but doesn’t develop into an embryo. It often occurs so early that you don’t even know you were pregnant.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: When the embryo implants outside the uterus. This most commonly happens in the fallopian tubes, but can also take place in the cervix or even a c-section scar. These can be dangerous if not caught on time, leading to rupturing and bleeding.
- Miscarriage: Any loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks.
- Molar Pregnancy: Similar to a blighted ovum, this is a non-developed embryo that implants. However, this one can be dangerous because it can grow into a diseased mass.
- Stillbirth: Delivery of a fetus/newborn that has passed away after the 20-week mark.
Have a Support System:
Make sure your support system is available. If you are keeping your friends and family in the loop, let them know where you’re at on your fertility journey. If you prefer privacy, you can reach out to the toll-free American Pregnancy Association helpline at (800)-672-2296 or talk to a counselor. Some fertility clinics also have social workers or psychologists on staff as part of your treatment. Hiring a third party fertility coach can be a helpful option as well.
This isn’t to say you can’t have a happy next pregnancy despite everything you have gone through. In fact, research has shown that almost 85% of women have a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage. 75% of women with two or three miscarriages also go on to have successful pregnancies. You deserve that happiness and more.