This article contains content relating to Baby Loss Awareness Week which is
9th–15th October. If you find this triggering you may not want to read further.
This blog discusses one of the hardest parts of fertility, miscarriage. We’ll discuss what to do if you think you’re having a miscarriage, how to cope with pregnancy loss and how to support someone else who’s had a miscarriage.
In the UK, miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks and is much more common than people realise.
Symptoms and What to Do
The symptoms of a miscarriage include vaginal bleeding, cramping and pain in your lower tummy, a discharge of fluid or tissue from your vagina and sudden stop of pregnancy symptoms (such as nausea and tender breasts). If you’re experiencing these symptoms it’s best to seek medical help immediately. Light vaginal bleeding is relatively common during the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy but it’s still best to receive expert advice. Speak with your doctor or midwife as soon as possible or call 111 or 999 if you need urgent medical help. You may be referred to a hospital for tests and an ultrasound to determine if you’re having a miscarriage. Once you have the results, a doctor or nurse will discuss your next steps.
In most cases, the cause of a miscarriage is unknown. In the UK, doctors don’t typically investigate for a cause of miscarriage until you’ve had 3 or more because it’s very unlikely they will find a treatable reason and most people will go on to have a healthy pregnancy following a miscarriage. However, we know this doesn’t make the experience any less upsetting or confusing.
Where to Find Support
Every pregnancy loss is different, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel about it. Many people find they need support, which you can often access through a hospital counselling service, Tommy’s or the Miscarriage Association.
How to Support Someone
We often want to say things to friends and loved ones to make them feel better but what we say may actually make them feel worse. While there’s nothing you can say to make their sadness go away, here are a few things to avoid saying:
- “You can always have another one.” (They don’t want another baby, they want this baby).
- “It wasn’t meant to be.” (See above).
- “At least it was early.” (They lost their baby along with their dreams and plans of a family. Every loss is a loss, no matter how early).
- “At least you know you can become pregnant.” (They want to have a baby, not just become pregnant).
Things that might help
- “I’m so sorry.”
- “I’m here for you.”
- “What can I do to help you right now?”