Dr. Marjorie Dixon is breaking the silence and stigma surrounding pregnancy loss – plus, why it happens.
Miscarriage is a traditionally taboo subject that is rarely discussed and many people mistakenly think that miscarriage is rare. There can be many feelings of guilt and shame are common after a miscarriage or feeling isolated and alone and isolated in their pain and therefore cannot access support and resources they need. Chrissy Teigen’s viral miscarriage post is an example of this.
On October 1st, Chrissie Teigen shared that she suffered a miscarriage following a hospitalization for excessive bleeding during her third pregnancy. Teigen and John Legend have two children, Luna and Miles, who they conceived through IVF treatments.
Chrissy took to Instagram to share how she was feeling:
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.
We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”
It’s important to know that you are not alone and that there is support and resources to help you cope:
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network
- Online and in person support groups
- Fertility counsellors
Miscarriages are more frequent than many might realize
Miscarriage is when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy and usually happens early in your pregnancy — 8 out of 10 miscarriages happen in the first 3 months. The risk of miscarriage is lower after the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.
- 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage
- 1/50 women will face recurrent pregnancy loss, which is defined as two consecutive pregnancy losses before the 20 week mark.
- After miscarriage :
- 29% of women will experience PTSD
- 24% of women will experience anxiety
- 11% of women experience moderate to severe depression
Most miscarriages occur before the 12th week of pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage might include:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower back
- Fluid or tissue passing from your vagina
It may be hard to know exactly why you miscarried but here are some of the common causes of a miscarriage:
Genetic abnormities/anatomic abnormities – Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing normally. About 50 percent of miscarriages are associated with extra or missing chromosomes.
Mother’s health condition might lead to miscarriage. Examples include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Hormonal problems
- Uterus or cervix problems
- Thyroid disease
Various factors increase the risk of miscarriage, including:
- Age: Women older than age 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than do younger women.
- Chronic conditions: Women who have a chronic condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes, have a higher risk of miscarriage.
- Uterine or cervical problems: Certain uterine abnormalities or weak cervical tissues (incompetent cervix) might increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs: Women who smoke during pregnancy have a greater risk of miscarriage than do nonsmokers. Heavy alcohol use and illicit drug use also increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Weight: Being underweight or being overweight has been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Invasive prenatal tests: Some invasive prenatal genetic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, carry a slight risk of miscarriage.
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