One out of every five pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Miscarriage is defined as a loss of a baby before 20 weeks, while a stillborn refers to the loss of a baby after 20 weeks. Here are six things to know about recovering after a miscarriage.
- There will be guilt. Women will beat themselves up wondering what they did to cause a miscarriage. In the majority of cases, there is nothing the mother did to cause a miscarriage, and nothing that could have been done to prevent it. A miscarriage is usually the result of genetic mutations that cause defects and deformations in the fetus. A miscarriage is the natural way of preventing a pregnancy to continue in a baby that would have had genetic abnormalities.
- It’s completely normal. Many women do not talk about their experience with miscarriage, although this is changing. Getting support is important. Talk to your friends, family members, or find a local support group. March of Dimes provides resources for mothers of miscarriages or stillborn births.
- Your hormones will still be wacky. Your body may not register the miscarriage right away, and you will still have elevated levels of HCG, even after the death of the baby. Even once the body does register the miscarriage, it may take weeks or months for hormones to regulate. This translates to moodiness and emotional sensitivity. Compound this with grief, and this is a recipe for postpartum depression. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to process the grief and get help if you start to feel depressed or hopeless.
- Your body may not expel the baby naturally or completely. Many women’s bodies will cause cramping and contractions to deliver the fetus and other tissue. However, this is not always the case. Many women will need a dilation and curettage (D&C). This is a surgical procedure in which a doctor enters the uterus through the vagina and sucks out the fetus and tissue. This surgery is an outpatient procedure, performed under anesthesia and has a short recovery period.
- The occurrence of a miscarriage does not indicate future miscarriages, except in women who have had multiple miscarriages. Most women who have had a miscarriage go on to become pregnant again and to deliver healthy babies.
- Miscarriage is a painful process that involves the death of a loved one. The grieving process is necessary. Get the help you need after a miscarriage. If you find that your doctors are not supportive and sympathetic, then find one who is. Just because miscarriage is common doesn’t make it easier to go through.