According to the NHS, approximately one third of pregnancies end in miscarriage. While miscarriage is not uncommon, it is no less easy to bear if it happens to you or your partner.
The majority of miscarriages appear to be caused by chromosomal abnormalities that occur during the development of the foetus. For no apparent reason, a faulty or missing chromosome leads to a hiatus in the baby’s development, resulting in an interrupted pregnancy.
Structural problems, such as a weak cervix or hormonal imbalance, are sometimes to blame. Occasionally a vaginal infection or lifestyle issue such as stress can lead to miscarriage.
One sign of miscarriage is continuous vaginal bleeding, especially when accompanied by cramping. Sometimes there are no obvious signs that the baby is no longer alive beyond a nagging feeling that something is not quite right. A woman may also experience dissipating pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness. Encourage your partner to seek professional advice if she is concerned about the baby; her maternal instinct could be spot on.
Sometimes a potential or threatened miscarriage can be averted if your partner sees a doctor in time and gets enough rest. Avoiding sex and physical exertion such as housework may also be wise for a while. A midwife or physician will be able to advise you further.
You may be offered a scan or ultrasound as a means of confirming the health of the foetus and putting your minds at rest. Often “seeing is believing,” and this option can provide answers and clarify the situation for you.
Although most miscarriages usually occur in the first trimester, it is a good idea for you and your partner to remain vigilant throughout the pregnancy and to report any unexplained bleeding to a doctor as soon as possible.
Miscarriages usually do not have any long-term physical side effects for a woman. However, they can be emotionally devastating, creating scars that only time will heal. Even if you are not the one carrying the baby, knowing that the child will be stillborn is still a deeply upsetting experience. Expect to grieve as you would for any loved one and know that this is a perfectly normal response for a prospective parent.
Turning to each other to express your grief and provide mutual emotional support can help to keep your relationship strong. Maintaining your connection as a couple will provide a much-needed outlet for your grief, especially if you feel that others expect you to put on a brave face or cannot relate to what you are experiencing.
If one or both of you find it hard to open up, you may want to consider talking to a counsellor or finding an online forum for people in your situation. This will allow you to connect with others who have been through a similar ordeal.
The good news is that a miscarriage will seldom affect a woman’s chance of conceiving again in the future. Even though you may feel as though you will never be able to replace your loss with another child, knowing that there exists the possibility of having other children in the future can provide some comfort during an otherwise dark time.