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No one likes to talk abut pregnancy loss, but it’s something that impacts many people. Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss and 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. With those statistics, it is highly likely that you or someone close to you has experienced pregnancy loss. You may be left with lots of questions like: Why did this happen? What is the difference between still birth or miscarriage? Can you get pregnant again? and more. Understanding pregnancy loss can help answer these questions and help you find the support that feels best.
Pregnancy loss can happen for a variety of reasons. If you’ve experienced loss, please remember that it is not your fault, and you did nothing wrong. In fact, most miscarriages occur because of genetic abnormalities in the embryo or fetus, which happen randomly and are beyond our control.
Hormonal imbalances: Changes in hormone levels can affect the development of the pregnancy.
Infections: Certain infections, such as sexually transmitted infections or urinary tract infections, can increase the risk of miscarriage.
Chronic health conditions: Conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disorders may increase the likelihood of pregnancy loss.
Lifestyle factors: Smoking, substance abuse, excessive caffeine intake, and certain medications may also play a role.
Understanding the different types of pregnancy loss can help you support your loved one (or get the support you need) Miscarriage can be classified into different types based on when they occur:
This refers to a very early miscarriage that happens shortly after implantation. It’s so early that some people may not even realize they were pregnant. When it comes to pregnancy loss, one type that often goes unnoticed is a chemical pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, chemical pregnancies are believed to account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. (1)
This occurs within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and is the most common type. It can happen for a variety of reasons, often due to genetic abnormalities. In fact, it’s estimated that 50-70% of all early pregnancy losses are due to genetic issues. (2) Other causes can include hormonal imbalances, infections, chronic health conditions, and even lifestyle factors like smoking or substance abuse.
Also referred to as stillbirth, this is the loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks. While it occurs less frequently than early pregnancy loss, it is an incredibly devastating experience for expecting parents. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), about 1 in 167 pregnancies end in stillbirth. (3). Causes can vary and may include placental problems, congenital abnormalities, infections, and complications related to the pregnant person’s health. Please note, that sometimes there isn’t an obvious answer. One study, found that 60% of stillbirths couldn’t be explained. (4)
If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss, please know you are not alone. It’s completely normal to feel a range of emotions, from sadness and grief to anger and confusion. Reach out to your partner, friends, or a support group to talk about your feelings and find solace in shared experiences.
While pregnancy loss can be heartbreaking, there is hope. Most people who have experienced a miscarriage go on to have a healthy pregnancy in the future. However, it’s important to give yourself time to heal emotionally and physically before trying again.
If you’re concerned about recurrent miscarriages, it may be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional. They can run tests to identify any underlying conditions and offer guidance tailored to your situation.
If you’re looking for more support understanding pregnancy loss and what to do now, I have a guide created especially for you all about postpartum recovery after loss. If you’re supporting someone through pregnancy loss and aren’t sure how to help, please check out my guide for friends and family.
Remember, my friend, you are strong, and your journey to parenthood may have a few bumps along the way. Trust yourself, take time to heal, and know that there are people who care and understand what you’re going through.
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