Losing your unborn baby can be devastating. The thought of getting pregnant again could be choked by the fear of losing another baby. It is normal to be afraid or anxious after going through loss and grief.
There is hope though. A miscarriage doesn’t mean that you can’t carry another baby to term. Many mothers have been able to have healthy pregnancies even after a miscarriage. If you are committed to getting another baby after a miscarriage, here are some important facts to keep in mind.
A miscarriage refers to the loss of a fetus in between conception and before hitting the twentieth week of pregnancy. On the other hand, the loss of a child after the 20th week is termed as a stillbirth. Miscarriage occurs naturally unlike surgical or medical abortions.
Another name for a miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion”. There are also some other terms referring to early loss of a fetus such as:
- Complete abortion: every tissue or product relating to conception gets out of the body.
- Incomplete abortion: some products of conception remain in the body as others exit the body.
- Inevitable abortion: there are no ways of stopping the symptoms which means that a miscarriage will occur.
- Missed abortion: the pregnancy gets lost and the conception products remain in the body.
- Infected or skeptic abortion: there is an infection on the uterine wall and in any conception products remaining.
Symptoms of miscarriage
The symptoms that indicate that a miscarriage has happened include bleeding that is light at the beginning and later becomes heavy, abdominal pain, cramps, lower backache that keeps on increasing in severity, discharge of some tissue or clotted discharge through the birth canal, the disappearance of pregnancy symptoms such as morning sicknesses or breast tenderness, feeling faint or light-headed, weight loss and contractions.
It is important to note that light or brief spotting is usually a normal thing and so it shouldn’t raise an alarm. But changing a sanitary towel after every hour or bleeding more than three days requires immediate medical attention.
Causes of miscarriage
A majority of miscarriages are a result of chromosomal defects that hinder the development of a fetus. These chromosome problems rarely have anything to do with the genes of the mother or the father.
Here is a further discussion on the factors that can lead to a miscarriage:
- Abnormal chromosomes
A miscarriage that occurs within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy is usually caused by problems relating to a baby’s chromosomes. The genes present in chromosomes help in determining the traits of each baby, such as hair and the color of the eyes. A damaged or wrong number of chromosomes hinder the normal growth of a baby.
Any abnormality in the chromosomes of an unborn baby can lead to any of the following problems:
- Blighted Ovum (also known as embryonic pregnancy): an embryo doesn’t develop.
- Molar pregnancy: this happens whenever there is an extra set of chromosomes coming from the father. This means that the fertilized egg has no chance of survival. This egg usually dies a few weeks during the pregnancy.
Molar pregnancy is classified into two i.e., partial and complete. Partial molar pregnancy refers to the occurrence where there is an abnormality in both the fertilized egg(embryo) and the placenta. On the other hand, a complete molar pregnancy means that there are an abnormal placenta and no embryo.
Initially, nothing seems wrong in the pregnancy. However, with the passage of days, you might start realizing the following symptoms: vaginal bleeding during the first trimester, watery brown discharge, a lot of pain or pressure in your pelvis area, discharge resembling clusters of grapes passing out from the vagina, and extreme nausea and vomiting.
Molar pregnancy is diagnosed via ultrasound. It can also be detected through a blood test whereby your HCG hormone level will be far higher than is the case in a normal pregnancy.
In such nations as the United States, one out of one thousand pregnant mothers is carrying a molar pregnancy. Several factors can increase the probability of a woman carrying a molar pregnancy such as: when your age is below twenty years or above thirty-five years, having a previous case of molar pregnancy, a previous miscarriage, or have battled with infertility problems.
- Medical conditions
The loss of pregnancy will sometimes result from the ill health of the mother. Some of the health challenges that can lead to a miscarriage include infections such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, unmanaged long term illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes, autoimmune disorders such as lupus and thyroid disease, challenges in the cervix or uterus (such as fibroids, a uterus that has an abnormal shape, cervix widening or opening when the pregnancy is very young which is commonly referred to as cervical insufficiency), blood clotting whereby the veins supplying blood to the placenta gets a blockage and, STD infections(such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or HIV).
- Life style
Some of the habits in an expectant mother can lead to the loss of a pregnancy. Such habits include heavy drinking, smoking, or the use of illicit drugs.
- Environmental hazards
Several substances in the environment can increase the risk of losing a pregnancy. These substances could result from second-hand smoking (being in the same environment as a smoker), pesticides used for killing rodents or insects, solvents (such as degreasers, paint thinners, varnish, and stain removers), arsenic which is commonly found in water from some wells and near waste sites and, the lead found in old water pipes.
Some over-the-counter or prescription medications can increase your possibility of losing a pregnancy. These include misoprostol (used to cure rheumatoid arthritis and peptic ulcers), methotrexate (used in treating rheumatoid arthritis), retinoids (used for treating such skin conditions as acne and eczema), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammation and pain.
- Food poisoning
experiencing some types of food poisoning while pregnant can increase your chances of losing the pregnancy. These include salmonella which is commonly found in undercooked or raw eggs, listeriosis found in unpasteurized milk products such as soft cheeses and undercooked or raw seafood and, toxoplasmosis that results from eating infected raw meat.
Some of the food poisoning diseases such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis can pass an infection to the fetus even when there is no symptom at sight.
Activities that can’t lead to a miscarriage
You could be wondering whether the activities that you have been participating in are safe or not for your baby. If yours isn’t a high-risk pregnancy, then the following activities have got no risk of miscarriage attached to them: sitting or standing for a reasonable duration of time, sex, working, exercise (consult your health care provider on the right amount of exercise fit for you), air travel, experiencing emotional shock or scare, having spicy meals and, stress or depression.
How to reduce future risks of miscarriage
A repeated miscarriage is not a rule but an exception. Studies have it that only one percent of pregnant women during a particular time can have second or more miscarriages each following the other.
A majority of the factors leading to pregnancy loss are beyond your control. However, consult your doctor and consider these factors as well to help you minimize the risk of losing another pregnancy:
- Take time to heal both physically and emotionally after a miscarriage.
- Consult your health care provider on the best time to conceive your next baby. Some will recommend that you wait till a particular time for example after three months and so on depending on the severity of your case.
- Arrange a schedule for regular attendance at the prenatal clinics. These visits should be frequent to ensure that the fetus is closely monitored as often as possible.
- Bid goodbye to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. This will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.
- Be in control of such conditions as high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Watch your weight to make sure that it is at the acceptable range.
- Stay active. If the doctor has indicated that your pregnancy is progressing well, introduce some gentle exercises into your plan towards a healthy pregnancy.
- Have an eye on your meals. Ensure your diet is well balanced. let it include lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Minimize your caffeine intake. 200 milligrams of caffeine or less is recommended. That means you can’t have two cups of coffee in a day, one cup is just fine.
- Therapies such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help to keep your emotions managed and be physically fit. Ensure that you practice them as you get ready to conceive again. Yoga will help you in erasing any past negative thoughts. A balanced mind and body will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.
- Have adequate physical rest. Whether you are a working woman or you are getting involved in some physical exercises, it is always important to observe some breaks for a good rest.
- Ensure that you have a regular intake of folic acid, at least 400mcg daily.
Managing grief after miscarriage
Life after a miscarriage is a lonely path. Even the people closest to you might not fit in your shoes to understand the magnitude of what you are going through. These people might want to help you but don’t know where to start from especially if they have never experienced a miscarriage. They may never understand how deeply connected you were to your baby even if you never got to hold him/her.
Below are some insights relating to grief after a miscarriage and how to deal with it to ensure that you are emotionally healthy during your next pregnancy:
A majority of women think that they are to blame for the pregnancy loss. But the truth is that most miscarriages are beyond the control of a mother. Try not to make the experience even harder on you by adding self-blame on top of the grief you are undergoing.
You may need some space or time to get healed emotionally. It is normal to feel sorrowful not only for the lost baby but also towards the dreams you had for your baby.
Different people express grieve in many ways such as through anger, withdrawing from people, feelings of guilt, feeling unmotivated, and lacking concentration.
Initially, you may feel uncomfortable amid families that have infants. Even after you feel as if you are healed of the loss, grief will at times creep in unexpectedly. Mother’s Day or the baby’s due date can bring back sad memories to the mother. Some women will grief in their next pregnancy.
The amount or the period of grief you undergo can be dependent on the age of the pregnancy. If the pregnancy was a bit older, the more the attachment to the unborn baby and the more the possible grief. More grief might require more time for it to subside.
There is a tendency of wanting to withdraw from everybody after a miscarriage. You feel like you belong to a world of your own.
Regardless of how much you would want to be on your own, it is important to also know that the people close to you are grieving too. For example, your spouse could be grieving too even if you might not understand. You could be angry while they are angry too or the two of you could be unwilling to talk.
Support each other. If this is hard then you can consider seeking help from a qualified counselor. This way, you will be able to understand each other.
Having a support group can as well help you in the healing process. You can join the groups of parents that have gone through a miscarriage. Your healthcare provider can recommend you to one or you can find out one from the social media platforms.
Grief if unmanaged can take longer than you ever thought. In as much as you can’t rush the grief process, opening up to caring people and adding value to society can help you rise above the grief effectively.
How to eliminate the anxiety of pregnancy after miscarriage
Becoming pregnant again after a miscarriage can bring with it some level of anxiety or even extreme anxiety especially if you have previously lost several pregnancies. Hereunder are some tips that will help you eliminate anxiety during every trimester of your pregnancy:
- Remind yourself each morning that you are pregnant. Live each day at a time without worrying about what the following day shall bring.
- Invest in a journal. Put down in writing your everyday thoughts about the pregnancy you are carrying. As the days or months pass, keep checking on what you previously wrote and check whether there are any improvements in your thought life. Look back and see the distance you and your baby have covered.
- Engage yourself in a new hobby such as watching some movies, listening to music, reading, writing, or even knitting (you can knit a blanket for your rainbow baby). Take up some activities that will ensure that you are not idle since idleness will promote negative memories.
- When you are comfortable using a pregnancy app, you can go ahead and use it. Realizing the developmental stage that your baby is at will give you the strength to keep on holding on.
- Get yourself some private ultrasound services. Have some private time watching the movements of the baby in your womb as well as listening to their heartbeat.
- Have some baby bump photos taken every week. Making it to this trimester will require to be documented.
- Have a fetal doppler at home. You can always consult your healthcare provider for recommendations before purchasing one.
- During those days that anxiety seems to be holding tightly on you, watch your baby’s ultrasound videos. If you don’t have the videos, go through the printouts from your doctor. Listen to any audio you have of your baby’s heartbeat. All this should remind you that your baby is still in there.
- Celebrate this milestone of viability. Keep it in mind that even if a baby can be born at this stage, they still have chances of survival.
- If it is fine with you, you can put into place the baby’s nursery at this moment but if you are still not comfortable, you can go at your pace.
- You can go out with your partner to celebrate the journey thus far. Have lunch on a dinner date, and do some shopping for the rainbow baby that is just about to arrive.
- Due to the many discomforts that this trimester brings, ensure that you take good care of yourself both mentally and physically. Take more naps and do the things that give you great joy.
- Even if your anxieties are hunting for you even at this point, keep calm since it is very normal.
What can I use to clean my womb after miscarriage?
The womb has a self-cleaning mechanism. You will experience heavy bleeding as the embryo or fetus is exiting the womb. However, for a miscarriage that happed further on, chances are that some pregnancy tissue remained in the womb. This will require a medical procedure to remove the remaining tissue.
How do I know my miscarriage is over?
The ending of bleeding or lessening of pain can indicate that the miscarriage is over. Your healthcare provider will advise you to take a pregnancy test after the next three weeks. If the test turns out positive, then you will require some more tests or even some medical intervention.
When can I try for another baby after miscarriage?
Ovulation can take place as early as after two weeks after the miscarriage and this means that at this time you can get pregnant again. However, you can choose to wait until you are emotionally and physically fit before conceiving again. You can also seek some guidance from your doctor.
Remember that there are no right or wrong emotions after a miscarriage. The same is allowed during pregnancy after a miscarriage. The fact remains that you can still carry another baby to term.
Have it in mind that you are not alone in the process. You can reach out to family or friends to help you cope with the situation. The following books will prepare you towards meeting your rainbow baby(s): Joy at the End of the Rainbow, Expecting Sunshine and .
 Regan, Lesley, and Raj Rai. “Epidemiology and the medical causes of miscarriage.” Best practice & research Clinical obstetrics & gynaecology 14.5 (2000): 839-854.
 Hutti, Mariann H., et al. “Grief intensity, psychological well‐being, and the intimate partner relationship in the subsequent pregnancy after a perinatal loss.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynaecologic & Neonatal Nursing 44.1 (2015): 42-50.
 Bergner, Annekathrin, et al. “Pregnancy after early pregnancy loss: a prospective study of anxiety, depressive symptomatology and coping.” Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 29.2 (2008): 105-113.
 Fertl, Kerstin I., et al. “Levels and effects of different forms of anxiety during pregnancy after a prior miscarriage.” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology 142.1 (2009): 23-29.