Early Pregnancy Loss: Navigating Through Grief and Healing

Published: 23/06/2023

Coping with pregnancy loss - symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Early pregnancy loss, also known as miscarriage, is a heartbreaking experience that impacts millions of women and couples worldwide. Defined as the loss of a pregnancy before the 13th week, early pregnancy loss can cause a huge amount of emotional and physical pain. Early miscarriages are sadly very common - 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage (after 3 months the risk of miscarriages severely reduces). 

A lot of people decide to not announce their pregnancy until after 12 weeks, so those who experience miscarriage can feel extremely isolated going through it when friends/family/work were not aware of their pregnancy. It is essential to understand the causes, symptoms, and available support options to help individuals navigate through the complex journey of grief and healing.

Those with access to myTamarin pregnancy loss support will be able to speak with a fertility expert and get the guidance and support needed to navigate during a very difficult time. 

What causes early pregnancy loss?

Half of early miscarriages happen when the embryo does not develop properly, this is often due to abnormal chromosomes/ abnormal development of the baby. The other half can be due to unknown causes or maternal uterine or medical conditions. 

Miscarriage/loss is almost always a random event and cannot be predicted. Contrary to what people say, exercising too much or high-stress levels do not directly contribute to the loss of your baby. 

Age however can affect the risk of loss of pregnancy and the chances of an early pregnancy loss increase as women gets older. For women over the age of 40. 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. This is likely due to chromosomal abnormalities. There is also some evidence to suggest that chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo increase as men get older as well. 

What are the signs of miscarriage?

Some individuals may not experience any noticeable symptoms of early pregnancy loss and only find out about the loss during a routine ultrasound appointment - this is typically referred to as a missed (or silent) miscarriage. 

Others may experience symptoms such as vaginal spotting and bleeding (can be with, or without pain) although a small amount of bleeding in early pregnancy can be common and does not necessarily mean that you will be having a miscarriage. 

How is an early pregnancy loss diagnosed?

There are a few ways early pregnancy loss/miscarriage can be diagnosed. These include:

  1. An ultrasound: to check if the pregnancy is still ongoing and if there is still a heartbeat
  2. A BHCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) blood test – if it is too early for a scan then a blood test can be done that checks for pregnancy. Low or decreasing levels of BHCG can mean loss of pregnancy 
  3. Pelvic exam: to check to see if the cervix is open - if it is, then a miscarriage is likely

If you have access to myTamarin pregnancy loss support please book a consultation with one of our experts who will be able to help you during this devastating time - whether that be giving you further explanations, directing you to the right tests, or helping you emotionally with navigating grief.

Treatment after a miscarriage

Sometimes after a miscarriage some pregnancy tissue can be left in the uterus. This is known as an incomplete miscarriage and it's important for the tissue to be removed. 

Non-surgical option will be to wait 2 weeks for the tissue to pass naturally or you can take medication that helps expel the tissue. If a surgical option is needed, this will be a vacuum aspiration to remove the contents of the uterus using a suction device, this device is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The other option is called a dilation and curettage (D&C), this is done in hospital on general anaesthesia. The cervix is dilated, and an instrument is used to remove the remaining tissue from the uterus.

Support after a miscarriage

Everyone copes with grief differently, and it is important to validate and acknowledge feelings that are being experienced during this heart-breaking time. Some strategies that may help include:

  1. Seeking support with your partner/friends/family 
  2. Seeking 1-1 support with an expert if you have access to myTamarin through your employer 
  3. Self-care: taking time to focus on your wellbeing and only engaging in activities that you enjoy
  4. Open communication: if you are experiencing this with a partner, talk through your emotions and do not isolate yourself - grief can put a lot of strain on a relationship so maintaining communication is crucial
  5. Take your time: pain can be overwhelming - don't put pressure on yourself and take your time during the healing process

Trying again after a miscarriage

It is best to ask your doctor whether there are any medical reasons that may prevent you from trying to get pregnant again. If there aren't then it is up to you when you decide to start trying again - everyone is different with the time it takes for them to feel ready again. 

Please remember you are not alone and although people do not discuss it often, it is a common thing to happen to a lot of people. The more we openly discuss it, the less isolated people will feel when they are trying to navigate this loss. 

Similar articles