Losing a pregnancy, how to cope.
Pregnancy loss can be devastating. There are support services to help cope with the emotional impact of pregnancy loss and understand the grieving process:
Comox Valley Hospice has 1:1 counselling available.
You can also check out the Grace Baby Loss Facebook page for peer support.
Other sources of information include the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre and BC Bereavement Helpline: 1-877-779-2223. A free, confidential telephone line that can connect you to grief support groups, agencies, and peer-based support.
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. It is usually your body’s way of ending a pregnancy that has had a bad start. The loss of a pregnancy can be very hard to accept. You may wonder why it happened or blame yourself. But a miscarriage is no one’s fault, and you can’t prevent it.
Most happen by chance and are usually due to one-time problems with the genes that prevent the fetus from developing normally. Miscarriage is not caused by bending, stretching, carrying heavy weights, having sex, working long hours or having an emotional upset.
Spotting (light vaginal bleeding) in early pregnancy is not always a sign of miscarriage and may happen when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus. In about half the cases, the pregnancy will continue normally. Your maternity care provider may send you for an ultrasound or other tests to find out what might be going on.
When a miscarriage happens, your uterus contracts to push out the pregnancy tissue. You may have severe cramps and pain, heavy bleeding that may include clots, or pass the placenta (may look like blood clots or liver). These symptoms usually lessen within a few days and disappear within seven days. To relieve the pain, your doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin with codeine. For the bleeding, use sanitary napkins, not tampons.
Promptly call your maternity care provider or go to the emergency department if you notice heavy or long lasting vaginal bleeding (soaking two “maxipads” an hour for more than two hours or passing a clot the size of a walnut), severe abdominal pain, fever or chills, or a bad odour from your vagina.
After a miscarriage, women feel a broad range of emotions that can be strong and long lasting. It way take longer to recover from these effects than from the physician effects. Support from your doctor, maternity care provider, therapist or support group can help.
Information from The Foundation for Medical Practice Education, www.fmpe.org