Losing a baby during pregnancy is called a miscarriage. One in ten women experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. As common as they are, misconceptions about miscarriage may cause a woman and her partner to feel alone or at fault. For example, exercise, sexual intercourse, or lifting heavy objects during pregnancy do NOT cause miscarriage. Most importantly, a miscarriage is NEVER the woman’s fault. In fact, miscarriages can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is genetic problems that prevent the baby from developing normally. However, gene-related problems usually occur by chance as the baby grows and is out of the mother’s control. For this reason, there is not much you can do to prevent a miscarriage, but here’s what you CAN do to take care of yourself and your baby:
Keep up with prenatal care visits
Avoid miscarriage risk factors like smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs
Manage chronic health conditions like diabetes and hypertension
Take prenatal vitamins
80% of miscarriages occur in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Bleeding, cramping, and belly pain are common signs of miscarriage, but sometimes there may be no symptoms at all. So be sure to let your doctor know of unusual pregnancy symptoms right away.
Signs of miscarriage:
Fluid or tissue coming out of vagina
Having these symptoms doesn’t always mean you are having a miscarriage– that’s why it’s important to check in with your doctor to see if what you’re experiencing is normal.
The following risk factors can also increase your chance of having a miscarriage during pregnancy:
Being 35+ years old
Having 2 or more miscarriages in the past
Uterine or cervical problems
Smoking, alcohol, and illicit drug-use
Being underweight or overweight
Fortunately, most women who have experienced miscarriages have healthy pregnancies in the future. However, having a miscarriage is emotionally and mentally challenging. Feelings of grief and sadness are natural after experiencing a miscarriage. However, you are not alone. If you have experienced a miscarriage, consider sharing your feelings with your family or close friends. Reaching out to support groups of other women going through the same experience can provide encouragement and comfort, too. Your healthcare provider may also have additional resources for coping strategies and treatment options.
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