My mom miscarried her third child when she was nearly 17 weeks pregnant. At the time, I was 8 and my sister was 6. She hadn’t yet told us about the pregnancy, so it wasn’t until we were adults that we learned of her pain — and eventual concern when she learned of her fourth pregnancy. What if it happened again? My brother was born happy and healthy, but there were many moments during those nine months where my mom had to push away her fear and learn how to enjoy pregnancy after miscarriage. Experts say she’s not alone.
“Once a woman experiences a miscarriage, it can be very challenging to enjoy a subsequent pregnancy because the sadness related to the recent loss and the fear that a loss may happen again can overshadow the joys of a new pregnancy," Dr. Alison Zimon, a top reproductive endocrinologist and co-medical director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Boston, tells Romper in an email interview. "Perhaps the easiest way to find peace after a loss is reassurance that statistically, the most likely outcome after a pregnancy loss is a healthy live birth."
Miscarriages occur in 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies, according to the March of Dimes, and there is often nothing a woman could have done to prevent it. But at least 85 percent of women who have had one loss will go on to have a successful pregnancy the next time, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
"It is always stressful after a miscarriage when pregnant because of fear of another miscarriage," Dr. Yvonne Bohn, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper. "The good news is you are more likely to have a successful normal pregnancy than another miscarriage."
Dr. Sheeva Talebian, co-founder of Truly-MD.com and director of third party reproduction at the New York branch of The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, adds that it is not uncommon for a miscarriage to "throw you for a mental loop moving forward. [But] women should take comfort in knowing that miscarriages, while 'common,' are not the common outcome of a pregnancy," she tells Romper. "Most often it is just bad luck and due to an unhealthy embryo."
Talebian recommends speaking with your healthcare provider following a miscarriage in order to gain some insight and address any contributing factors as you move forward. While most often a miscarriage is the result of a genetic abnormality, Talebian says if you miscarried in the later part of your pregnancy and it was due to cervical shortening or preterm labor, then you may be a candidate for early interventions such as twice monthly cervical length checks, modified bed rest, a cerclage (cervical stitch), and/or intramuscular progesterone shots.
Zimon also recommends that a newly pregnant woman who has suffered a previous loss seek out additional support from friends and family, and/or professionals in addition to her medical care team, such as mental health and social work experts. Be sure to also stay healthy by eating well and getting rest, as well as keeping up with modest exercise and stress reducing measures such as yoga, massage, and meditation. "They are all helpful strategies to find peace and joy during a pregnancy following a miscarriage," according to Zimon.
No matter what, remember that this process is unique to you. As one mom who suffered a miscarriage put it, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Tears or no tears. Anger or sadness or fear. It's all normal. You are not alone.
And knowing you don't have to travel this road alone is, perhaps, the most comforting thing of all.
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