7 Ways to Get Over the Grief of a Miscarriage
1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage through no fault of the mother.
Anyone who has ever experienced a miscarriage knows just how devastating it can be. The loss is a lot more heart-breaking if it happened much later in the pregnancy; closer to the 20th week.
As someone with a personal experience of my own, I know how close I came to becoming clinically depressed when I suffered a miscarriage.
The miscarriage happened in the 10th week after I’d tried for a second baby for almost two years and I know I grieved the child that could have been for over a year.
When is Miscarriage Most Likely to Occur?
A miscarriage is a loss of a pregnancy that occurs anytime before 20 weeks in vitro. Also, while a miscarriage can occur anytime, the risk is highest during weeks 0-6 weeks.
An estimated 80% of all first-trimester pregnancy losses occur due to one genetic defect or the other.
However, as the pregnancy progresses, the risk of a miscarriage reduces until it falls to about 5% by weeks 13 – 20.
11 Common Causes of Miscarriage
Here are some of the most likely reasons while a pregnancy ends before its 20th week are as follows:
1) Abnormal Chromosomes
Studies have found this to be the most common cause of miscarriage. During conception, both the sperm and the egg each contribute 23 chromosomes to make a healthy fertilization. If this number exceeds or falls below 46, then the resulting zygote won’t be viable and not likely to survive.
Infection in a pregnant woman has been known to cause miscarriage, death of the foetus, and other severe birth defects.
These infections get transmitted to the baby while still in the womb through the placenta or during birth.
Some of these dangerous and sometimes life-threatening infections include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, measles, cyst, chickenpox, toxoplasy, listeriosis, bacteria vaginosis, salmonella, genital herpes, hepatitis and HIV.
While each of these infections has unique and varying symptoms and effects some worthy of note include
- Genital herpes which makes the baby get born with a life-threatening brain infection called herpes encephalitis as well as the possibility of some damaged internal organs.
- Zika virus where the baby gets born with a smaller than usual head.
- HIV, which gets transmitted to babies of infected mothers in one-third of all cases where the mother failed to take her antiretroviral drugs.
3) Lifestyle Habits
Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking and the use of illegal drugs greatly increase your risk of a miscarriage, especially during the first trimester.
According to a study done by the University of Copenhagen taking even two glasses of drinks per week increases your risk of a miscarriage in the second trimester by as much as 70%.
All kinds of drinking, even light ones as well as smoking, should be stopped to guarantee the health and continued development of the baby.
4) Being Obese
Being obese also places you at some risk of miscarriage. Various researches conducted discovered having a body mass index of over 30 comes with some risks, including a 67% risk of pregnancy loss.
5) Food Poisoning
Toxins from food poisoning are especially bad in pregnancy and will cause your body to react negatively.
Your baby’s immune system is tender and still developing while in the womb and will be unable to fight the effects of any infection.
Some symptoms of food poisoning in pregnancy to look out for include headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stool. You should check with a doctor immediately if you suspect food poisoning to prevent miscarriage, preterm labour, or stillbirth.
Related: How Soon After a Miscarriage Should You Try to Take in
6) Being 35 Years and Older
While aging comes with grace, a wealth of experience and less anxiety about unimportant things, it also comes with a few baggages, one of which is your risk of miscarriage that increases.
While any woman can miscarry, the likelihood of this happening is higher when you get to 35 years and could go as high as 20%. Sadly, this risk keeps rising and could get to as high as 80% once you get to 45 years.
7) Certain Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorder, and certain autoimmune diseases like antiphospholipid syndrome and scleroderma could cause a miscarriage if not properly managed.
This risk increases further when combined with unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking, and the use of illegal drugs.
8) Environmental Factors
Environmental factors like being exposed to secondary smoke, harmful chemicals like pesticides, metals like mercury, lead, manganese, and nickel, organic solvents, and air pollution have all been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
9) Blood Clothing Disorder
Thrombophilia is a blood clot disorder that causes clots to get formed in the veins or arteries. It is sometimes caused by a genetic abnormality but could also be caused by a problem with the immune system.
It is bad in pregnancy as it affects the placenta and consequently, the regular development of the foetus.
10) Anatomical Problems
Anatomical problems like cervical insufficiency and an abnormally shaped uterus have also been linked to miscarriage.
Cervical insufficiency, known also as incompetent cervix, means your cervix is weak and therefore, unable to carry a pregnancy to term.
11) The Use of Certain Medications
Certain medications used in the treatment of some health complications could also pose a risk to your pregnancy.
Some of these medications to watch out for include
- Misoprostol used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Retinoid used for the treatment of eczema.
- Methotrexate used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of a Miscarriage
Common symptoms to look out for include:
- Vaginal spotting and bleeding
- Abdominal ache or cramps
- Passing of tissues
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How to Get Over the Pain Much Quicker
A miscarriage can fill you with grief, guilt, and a sense of loss so profound it leads you to depression.
However, like most things in life, miscarriage pain can also be overcome and you can do so one step at a time.
Here are some time-tested ways that have helped women overcome this pain:
1) Understand It’s Not Your Fault
It’s easy to believe the miscarriage is your fault and that you were wrong not to have done something to prevent it.
However, research has shown that most miscarriages happen through no fault of ours and that there’s very little we can do to prevent it, even if we tried.
2) Find a Distraction/ Hobby
The pain of your loss won’t just disappear. It will gnaw at your heart every single minute.
To prevent this, find something else to occupy your mind at this time. It could be a hobby, a project, or anything else that serves as a distraction and gives you less time to think about your loss and what could have been.
3) Open Up to Someone
Sometimes, talking to someone helps. Since a lot of women have gone through one or more miscarriages (even if they don’t talk about it) you’d be amazed at the number of women that would perfectly understand your pain.
Talking won’t just be an avenue to let out the pain you have buried within, sharing confidences with people who’ve had a similar experience will also help you heal faster.
4) Find Support Groups for Moms Who Have Miscarried
There are tons of support groups for women who have experienced a loss and you can find these both locally and online.
5) Write Down Your Thoughts
A journal will be a useful tool and outlet at this time for releasing that tension and pain. At the times when it starts to feel you’ve been grieving for way too long and friends start to give off those tiny cues you should be over your grief already, you can turn to your journal and pour out your heart still. It won’t judge you and this is one tool you can use until you feel sufficiently healed.
6) Get a Keepsake
7) Be a Support to Other Women in Pain
Women who have experienced this loss and have recovered from the pain are in a better position to help other women in it.
If you have recovered from the pains of this loss, be that succor and support the next woman needs.
Tags: How to get over the grief of a miscarriage, helping a woman get over the grief of a miscarriage, helping a friend get over the grief of a miscarriage, grief of a miscarriage: what you should know