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Pregnancy Loss

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The unexpected loss of a pregnancy is a devastating blow to any couple. The impact worsened if the pregnancy was conceived as a result of fertility treatment or if there have been previous pregnancy losses. Until recently, the emotional consequences of miscarriage have not been fully appreciated by either the medical community or society at large.

It is now known that 25% of women will have at least one miscarriage, 15% of clinically recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage ( defined as 3 consecutive miscarriages) affects approximately 1% of women.

Causes of Early Pregnancy Loss

We know that early pregnancy loss is associated with a chromosomal abnormality of the fetus in 50-60% of pregnancies. A miscarriage can therefore be nature’s way of selecting healthy pregnancies. This helps to explain why miscarriage becomesmore commonin women as they get older. At 35-39 years of age a woman has a 21% chance of miscarriage compared to 42% if she is over 42 years of age.

Feelings Following Pregnancy Loss

Following pregnancy loss you will require:

  • Time
  • Support

The loss of a pregnancy can affect you with deep and unexpected feelings. Emotionally you are experiencing the loss of your baby and you can expect to go through a grieving process, as you would do if a love one died. Common feelings include emptiness, anger and disappointment. Sadness and a sense of isolation often linger. The range of intensity of emotions varies from person to person, from day to day and may last briefly or for many months.

Potential Providers of Support Following Pregnancy Loss

In order to help you get through this difficult time there are many individuals or groups who can help. The important thing is to recognise you are not alone. Talking things over with your partner, a relative, friend or religious adviser can be very helpful. Your midwife will be happy to call and see you. Other groups that can offer support include:

  • Family Doctor or Health Clinic
  • Counsellors
  • Hospital Bereavement Centres
  • Miscarriage Association/SANDS
  • Samaritans
  • Internet Support Groups

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