The early days and weeks of pregnancy can be daunting. You’re experiencing new feelings and symptoms, often while keeping family and friends in the dark about your pregnancy. Because miscarriages are more common in the earliest period of pregnancy, you may also be feeling worried or anxious about your pregnancy.
If you’ve been pregnant before and experienced a miscarriage, you know how truly heartbreaking it can be. “It is completely normal to feel sad or anxious after you have a miscarriage,” said Jenna Sander, a certified nurse midwife with Banner Health Center in Chandler, Arizona. Because there is so much information swirling around about miscarriages, we sat down with Sander so that she could help address some common misconceptions.
Miscarriage is rare: Myth
According to Sander, miscarriages are more common than perceived. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health states, “as many as 10 to 15 percent of confirmed pregnancies are lost.” The organization notes that the number could be even higher since some miscarriages happen so early in pregnancy that a woman is often unaware she was ever pregnant.
Miscarriages are completely preventable: Myth
A miscarriage is most commonly the result of the fetus having genetic problems that cause the growth and development to stop – something that is beyond the control of the mother. Other reasons for miscarriage include issues with the uterus or cervical incompetence.
Taking care of yourself could lessen your miscarriage risk: Fact
While some miscarriages occur because of uncontrollable circumstances, there are medical issues, such as poorly controlled diabetes or thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism, that could contribute to miscarriage risk. According to Sander, while there is no way to make sure you won’t have a miscarriage, you can reduce your chances by avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and injury to your belly. She also advises that you ask your OBGYN whether it’s safe for your fetus before taking any herbal, over the counter, or prescription medications, or before having a medical treatment or X-ray.
Vaginal bleeding could be a sign of miscarriage: Fact
According to Sander, the most common symptoms of miscarriage are bleeding from the vagina and belly pain or cramping, although she notes that vaginal bleeding doesn’t mean you are having a miscarriage. Other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting. If you have a fever over 100.4°F, anything solid or tissue-like coming out of your vagina, or you have any foul-smelling vaginal fluid, consult your OBGYN right away.
Sadness and guilt are normal feelings after miscarriage: Fact
The experience of having a miscarriage can come with emotional aftershocks. It’s normal to have questions like “why me?” or “did I do something to cause this?” and to experience feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness after miscarriage. To help you get through this trying time, consider:
- Sharing your feelings with family and close friends, and asking for support
- Joining a support group of other women going through the same thing
- Doing things to take care of yourself like eating right and exercising
- Acknowledging your loss and doing something in remembrance
If your feelings of sadness turn into a more serious depression, it’s important to speak with your health care provider about coping strategies and treatment.
I should wait several months after a miscarriage before trying to conceive again: Myth
In most cases, it's safe to start trying again as soon as you feel physically and emotionally ready, according to Sander. She notes that while it’s true that women who’ve had a miscarriage are more likely than those who have not to have other miscarriages, most women who have a miscarriage go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Find more information on Banner Health’s pregnancy care services or schedule an appointment with an obstetrician.