Miscarriage during pregnancy
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Miscarriage: The sad side of pregnancy
Sadly losing a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy is called a miscarriage. It is a terrible thing to go through, and it is hard to come up with an accurate statistic on the occurrence. This is because most miscarriages happen before mum even knows she is pregnant, and so it is seen as just a heavy period. NSW Health states that one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage.
If you do experience any severe pain in the lower abdomen, cramping or vaginal bleeding it is important that you contact your local health care professional as soon as possible.
What are some of the common causes of miscarriage?
During the first trimester, a baby grows from a single cell shortly after conception to a developing embryo by week 6 and then a foetus by week 12. There are significant changes happening in your body during this time and this is the most common stage for a miscarriage to occur. Many times, the cause of a miscarriage is never found. Try and take some comfort in the knowledge that the loss of a pregnancy is rarely related to anything you have done. Stress, working and a normal daily routine have no proven link to miscarriage.
A miscarriage is the body’s way of rejecting a pregnancy that is not viable and this may be because of an infection, or abnormalities of the placenta or embryo.
How to help reduce some of the risks
Giving up smoking is one of the most important ways of reducing the risk of miscarriage. Ideally, you should give up when you decide to try conceiving but giving up while you’re pregnant will still be better for you and your baby.
Maintaining a healthy diet is also important to help reduce your chance of miscarriage Ensure you consume a wide range of vegetables and fruits, good quality protein sources, whole grains and lots of water. Where possible, steer clear of food and drink high in fat or sugar. For more information on healthy foods to eat during your pregnancy check out are tips for your pregnancy diet. (http://www.karimums.com.au/29/topics/pregnancy-diet)
Cutting out alcohol is also key to minimising miscarriage risks. The safest option is to completely abstain from alcohol during your pregnancy and you can speak with your midwife or doctor for the latest guidelines on why.
Many women and their partners feel guilty after a miscarriage, but it is important to understand that the loss of a pregnancy is rarely related to your actions.
Finding emotional support after a miscarriage
Bonding with a baby can start as soon as a woman finds out she’s pregnant, so losing that bond so suddenly can be devastating. Getting the right support and giving yourself time to grieve are both important.
If you haven’t told people you’re pregnant, you can feel isolated during this period. It’s your decision whether you choose to share your news with people now; remember that your close friends and family want to help you through this difficult stage. If you’re showing, or you’d announced your pregnancy, then you can probably expect to deal with condolences from your wider circle. Take a few days off work, rely on friends and family for help, and allow yourself to acknowledge the impact this has had on you and your partner.
Your health care networks will also be able to support you during this emotional time and reassure you about what to expect during a miscarriage and afterwards.
SIDS and Kids NSW offer support and counselling for families or individuals that have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, sudden infant death or the death of a child up to the age of 6 years. You can find more information here: www.sidsandkids.org
If you have any concerns throughout your pregnancy or notice anything abnormal you should contact your midwife or doctor for further advice.
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