Bleeding, severe pain and cramping, or the sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms can sometimes indicate a miscarriage. I don’t even need to say it but a miscarriage causes a mother distress of the most harrowing nature. It is ironic that early pregnancy is often a ‘secret’ and so the time that you really need support and help is the one time you feel unable to reach out and ask for it. I’m writing this article for those mums who need advice, for those who feel the may be suffering from a miscarriage, or those who have experienced one and are finding it hard to cope with or process. I hope to provide some information about what is normal and what is not during early pregnancy and to highlight some of the amazing and supportive resources there are for women in this devastating situation in Ireland. It is important to know when to seek help and if you do find yourself in the heartbreaking position of grieving for your unborn baby its even more important to know that support is available. A pregnancy can be planned, unplanned or unexpected but finding support during miscarriage, both physically and mentally, should not be overlooked.
What can be a sign of miscarriage?
- Some abdominal cramping is completely normal during pregnancy but if you find it is severe and persistent then it may be an indicator that something is not quite right.
- As with cramping some bleeding is also common during early pregnancy – but if the bleeding is accompanied by severe cramping it could be a sign of miscarriage. Get any vaginal bleeding or discharge checked out by your doctor just for peace of mind – but remember just because you have some bleeding does not mean there is anything wrong.
- If you have been suffering from pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and sore or tender breasts and these symptoms suddenly disappear it is important to chat to your doctor – especially if you are also experiencing any pain or bleeding also.
- One in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage – this means 14000 women per year in Ireland suffer from a pregnancy loss. It is important to know that the majority of these women go on to have healthy pregnancies in the future.
What should I do?
If you experience any of the symptoms above then chat to your GP. If the pain is severe or the bleeding is very heavy (need to change your sanitary pad more than once an hour) then you should seek urgent medical attention from your doctor or maternity hospital. You should also go to the A&E of your hospital if you are feeling very unwell, faint, light headed or have pain in your shoulder tip (can be indicative of an ectopic pregnancy).
What might happen next?
If your symptoms are mild your doctor may perform an examination and do a blood test to check how your hormone levels are doing. The doctor may use a doppler to search for a heartbeat – but in early pregnancy this can be notoriously difficult to find.
You may have an ultrasound to allow the doctors to get a clearer picture of what is going on inside your uterus. In early pregnancy an ultrasound is often vaginal as it makes it easier for the doctors to get a clear picture as opposed to an abdominal ultrasound.
The doctors will then be able to tell if your pregnancy is developing normally or if you have had a miscarriage. Sometimes during a miscarriage the pregnancy tissue will pass by itself within a week or two but sometimes you may need medication or surgery to help to remove it to prevent any infection. It may take a week or two for bleeding to start following the loss of a baby – you will need to keep in touch with your doctor to ensure the safe management of the miscarriage. Bleeding may come and go over several days following a miscarriage.
You can find out more about the different types of miscarriages here – http://www.miscarriage.ie/typesofmiscarriage.html
The majority of miscarriages cannot be prevented sadly. If you have suffered from repeated miscarriages your GP may refer you to a specialist to receive help with your pregnancy.
After a miscarriage
Coping after a miscarriage can be very difficult – it’s a huge shock and is obviously very upsetting and distressing. Emotionally you have a lot to cope with once you have gotten through the physical side of things. The loss of a baby can be very hard to bear and so support is essential. Sharing the experience with family and close friends can lessen the burden and help you to come to terms with what has happened. There is a website which is dedicated to providing parents with information and support after a miscarriage – it can be found at www.miscarriage.ie .
It’s also worth checking out these website amongst others:
Please seek support or share these resources with anyone who you know that may be affected by miscarraige. I hope I’ve helped to highlight the signs of a miscarraige and the actions you should take if you feel you may be affected. Talk to your local healthcare professionals and they will guide you through the support available.
I’m a Pharmacist but also mum and I must admit I’m finding it hard to find the words to complete this heartbreaking blog..so I’ll leave you with a poem x
The flight of an unborn baby
“With a heavy heart I mourn your flight, to think you left before reaching sight.
It is deep I ache and feel cruel pain, but know your life was not in vain.
In my heart and mind we’ll stay together, a love was born which will last forever.”
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help x