Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss and according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
In general the physical part of the recovery after miscarriage is fairly easy, the emotional of psychological recovery can be a much longer and more challenging process.
What is Miscarriage?Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion, is spontaneous end of a pregnancy. Miscarriage happens in very early stages of pregnancy, prior to 20 weeks, at a stage where fetus is incapable of surviving. More than three-quarters of miscarriages happen very early in the pregnancy, even before woman knows she is pregnant.
Types of MiscarriageComplete
Complete miscarriage is when all products of conception have been expelled.
Incomplete miscarriage is when tissue has been passed, but some remains in utero.
An empty sac is a condition where the gestational sac develops normally, but the embryonal part of the pregnancy is either absent or stops growing very early.
Missed or delayed miscarriage
Missed or delayed miscarriage is when the embryo or fetus has died, but a miscarriage has not yet occurred.
Septic abortion occurs when the tissue from a missed or incomplete abortion becomes infected. The infection of the womb carries risk of spreading infection and presents a risk to the life of the woman.
Symptoms of miscarriage and its detectionMost common symptoms of miscarriage is bleeding. Statistics show that of half of women who seek clinical treatment for bleeding during pregnancy, will go on to have a miscarriage.
Miscarriage can be detected during ultrasound exam or through serial HCG (human Chorionic gonadotropin).
Women with history of miscarriage are more likely to have another miscarriage, for that reason they must be monitored closely.
Recurrent miscarriageRecurrent miscarriage, or also medically termed habitual abortion is the occurrence of 3 consecutive miscarriages. Large majority of women with two miscarriages will conceive.
Physical recovery from miscarriagePhysical recovery depends on how far along woman was into pregnancy: it may take few weeks or more than a month. Physical effects are following:
- vaginal bleeding, which is similar to menstrual bleeding may take up to a week after miscarriage
- light bleeding or spotting
- your periods should resume in a matter of a month
- lower abdominal pain (similar to menstrual cramps) may last up to 2 days after miscarriage
- breast discomfort (similar to menstrual breast discomfort)
Psychological aspect of miscarriageWoman recovers from miscarriage rather quickly- in a matter of few weeks. However, in most cases psychological recovery, especially of child is planned and wanted, take longer time. Of course people differ in this- the same as we differ in ways we grief: some recover in a matter of few months, while others need more time, sometimes even more than a year. Others may approach to the loss of a child with more optimistic approach and hope for new pregnancy.
For those who do go through the process of grief it is often like the baby had been born but died. This is understandable- as soon as parents find out for pregnancy they start to develop bond with so much wanted child. When miscarriage happens, all their dreams and plans for the future and devastated.
Studies about abortion were made (abortion is comparing to miscarriage induced procedure!) and statistics showed the following: only 8 weeks after abortion, researchers found that 44% women complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor!
Besides the feeling of loss, understanding by friends and family is also very important. For people who have not experience miscarriage is hard to understand and empathize with what has occurred and what their friends must go through. Some people are very supportive and sympathetic, while others either disregard the depth of your feelings or discount the real pain you are experiencing.
Besides that, interaction with pregnant women or newborn children may also be very painful for parents who have experienced miscarriage.
Studies show that women, who had experienced miscarriage suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological dysfunction which results from a traumatic experience. This traumatic experience overwhelms a person's normal defense mechanisms resulting in intense fear, feelings of helplessness or being trapped, or loss of control.
Some women report sexual dysfunction and even chronic relationship problems, some suicidal ideation, others increased smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, etc.
Psychological recovery after miscarriageIn general the physical part of the recovery after miscarriage is fairly easy, the emotional of psychological recovery can be a much longer and more challenging process. Some women are relieved when they return to work, because of the distraction it provides, while others feel they cannot face work obligations. Give yourself time you need! Listen to your heart- everyone's is different.
Some times couples experience sexual dysfunction or they feel pressure to conceive after loss, because of 'the respect' towards lost baby. Doctors recommend three months (or two menstrual cycles) before trying to conceive again. Professionals think this is mostly due to psychological reasons- grieving takes time. However you choose to work through your grief, be sure to allow time to go through the process. Do not try to minimize your grief or not try to experience the pain! This will only prolong your emotional healing.
Remember, you will heal emotionally and you will feel ready to try again!
People must realize male partner was a father too! Women tend to express grief more openly than do men, but that does not necessarily mean that women feel grief more deeply than do men. Men is expected to be strong, to have control, to endure pain and to be brave. He is not expected to cry and appear weak. These are only culturally imposed characteristics and grieving father should do what his heart tells him to do!