What a doctor says to help patients after miscarriage

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Miscarriage happens to many women, but that doesn’t make it any less devastating. 

Anne-Marie Sinay,MD, an Ob/Gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, offers some words of encouragement that she gives patients who have experienced a miscarriage.

You’re not alone: 15-20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, which usually occurs during the first three months.

First, Dr. Sinay leaves it up to each of her patients to decide when to announce a pregnancy to family and friends. Some women prefer to delay until the second trimester to eliminate difficult conversations later if a miscarriage happens early in the pregnancy. Here’s what else Dr. Sinay tells her patients who have miscarried:

1. Know that it’s not your fault

Don’t blame yourself for a miscarriage. About half of first-trimester miscarriages are the result of a chromosomal abnormality, which is completely out of your control. “Some factors that have been well-demonstrated to increase the risk of miscarriage include maternal age, history of previous miscarriage, and heavy smoking, but it can also be due to uterine structural abnormalities or maternal diseases,” Dr. Sinay says.

2. Let yourself grieve

“You have experienced a tremendous loss and it’s normal to experience a period of grieving following the miscarriage,” Dr. Sinay says. Your partner is likely grieving too, so give yourselves both the space and support you need.

If you are still feeling hopeless, sad or disconnected from others several weeks following the miscarriage, schedule an appointment with your doctor. 

3. Try not to fear getting pregnant again

The fear of miscarriage can cause anxiety at the thought of attempting another pregnancy. Some people are surprised to learn that you can safely resume trying for a baby after your next normal period. However, Dr. Sinay says women should take more time if needed, noting that many women wait until they feel back to normal before they try again.

4. Remind yourself that a healthy baby is likely

After one miscarriage, the likelihood of another miscarriage increases slightly above a woman’s baseline risk and then  increases more after two or more miscarriages. But don’t let that scare you. Plenty of women go on to have a healthy pregnancy following miscarriage.

5. Consider seeing a fertility specialist

While some women experience more than one miscarriage, further evaluation is not usually necessary until you’ve experienced three miscarriages. Your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist if you’ve experienced repeated miscarriages and a cause has not been identified.

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