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Coping with Miscarriage

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is the spontaneous ending of a pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Did I do anything to cause the miscarriage?

Do not blame yourself for the miscarriage. Most miscarriages are thought to happen because there is something wrong with the baby, such as a genetic problem. The baby may not develop at all, or the baby may develop abnormally. Miscarriage may be the body's way of ending a pregnancy that is not developing normally.

There are many other possible causes of miscarriage. These include infections in the uterus, uncontrolled diabetes, and hormonal imbalances. Miscarriages are not caused by sexual intercourse or strenuous exercise.

Often you will not know what caused a miscarriage.

What emotions are common after miscarriage?

After a miscarriage, you may:

  • feel like you have let your partner or others down
  • feel like you have failed as a woman because you were not able to do what other women seem easily able to do
  • have sudden mood swings
  • have trouble concentrating or staying focused
  • feel hurt and angry when you see a child being mistreated, knowing how precious a child would be to you
  • feel helpless and out of control
  • feel betrayed by your body, and perhaps afraid because of the amount of blood that you lost.
  • feel ashamed or that you are to blame because you did something wrong
  • feel depressed and hopeless
  • be in shock or feeling disoriented
  • be afraid that you will never be able to have a baby
  • feel isolated and lonely because loved ones may not understand. They may think you are overreacting and not understand how very painful your loss really is.
  • grieve the loss of being a “parent-to-be”
  • feel sad, jealous, or angry about others' pregnancies
  • feel guilty and confused if you have previously had an abortion

What are some ways to cope?

It is very important that you and your partner work together and allow yourselves to grieve your loss.

  • Seek support from friends and family. If comments such as "Maybe it's all for the best" get you down, let the person know that sometimes you just need someone to listen.
  • Therapists can meet with you individually, or work with both you and your partner to help you grieve your loss.
  • Pregnancy loss support groups can offer tips to help you deal with your loss. It can be very helpful to talk to others who have had miscarriages. Ask your healthcare provider or local hospital or women's center for a list of support groups in your area.
  • A fertility counselor can meet with you and your partner to explore possible reasons why your pregnancy ended. This may help with feelings of guilt after a miscarriage.

You may want to memorialize your baby in a special way. You could:

  • Plant a tree in your baby’s honor.
  • Make a donation, in memory of your baby, to a charity
  • Have a memorial service.

It is natural to feel sad and lonely while you grieve your lost baby. However, if sadness, fatigue, and lack of interest last a long time, or you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, get professional help. These can be signs of depression. Depression can be treated through therapy and medicine.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-07-15
Last reviewed: 2011-07-15
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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