Pregnancy Loss/ Miscarriage/ Stillbirth
What is Pregnancy loss?
Pregnancy Loss is when a pregnancy stops growing and your baby passes away. This can occur at any time throughout pregnancy. If it happens earlier in pregnancy it is often referred to as a miscarriage, and later in pregnancy, it is referred to as a stillbirth. Miscarriage is more common in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Often women will experience crampy period like pain and have vaginal bleeding. If you have had a miscarriage it is important to remember you are not alone and that between 1:4-5 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.
If a family has a miscarriage she is unlikely to miscarry again, and it is very rare to miscarry three or more times in a row. If this does happen then we would recommend further testing for some rare conditions that if treated, might decrease the risk of further miscarriages. Testing is not recommended after one or two miscarriages because the chance of finding a treatable cause is very low.
Stillbirth can occur for a number of different reasons and depending on your individual circumstances, there may be recommendations for further testing for both you and your baby.
Any pregnancy loss can have a significant emotional load and many families will go through a long period of grief and loss. This is often a time where emotional support, community, friendship groups, and support groups can be very beneficial. There are many resources available and we can link you with different groups and services if they would be beneficial for you.
What things can cause a miscarriage?
Research has shown that as many as 9 out of 10 early miscarriages are due to a genetic problem that effects the early cells of a pregnancy. These genetic changes may be something more well known (an example would be Trisomy 21, or Downs syndrome) or an unknown genetic change that is spontaneous but effects the pregnancies ability to continue to grow normally. Chromosomal testing is not routinely performed for all miscarriages but may be performed for some women including:
- Late miscarriages after the 12 week mark
- If there is a genetic condition in the family
- If you have had 3 or more miscarriages in a row
Genetic testing of a miscarriage may not work if the cells have already died. If you would like more information about genetic testing visit: www.genetics.edu.au/publications-and-resources/facts-sheets
We understand how emotionally challenging a miscarriage is for you and your family. We are sorry that you have lost your baby.
We are here to support you as best we can throughout this difficult process so please ask as many, or as few questions as you like and we will help guide you through this difficult journey.
How do you manage a miscarriage?
Finding out that you have had a miscarriage is a very emotional and difficult time. It is normal to go through feelings of loss and grief as you would with losing any loved one. Every individual processes this information in their own way and a large part of helping you through this time is to provide support and resources that can help you work through your grief.
Another part of managing a miscarriage is helping you decide which treatment option is best suited to your specific needs and the needs of your family. We will discuss the different options in detail with you and help you come to a decision about how you would like to progress.
The different treatment options are briefly discussed below and your Specialist will go through them in more detail at your appointment.
Watch and wait
Taking some tablets
Having an operation
A miscarriage is a natural process and can be safe. Some women may have complications and experience heavy bleeding, infection or pain.
The time from when baby dies to the miscarriage stating can be very varied, from days to weeks and not all woman like the unpredictability and uncertainty that a natural miscarriage involves.
This is using some medications to bring on the miscarriage process. The symptoms are the same as a natural miscarriage. The medication can allow for some predictability and planning around going through the miscarriage process.
This is a surgical procedure to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. You go off to sleep for the operation so you don't go through the pain and bleeding associated with a natural miscarriage. Women often choose this option if they feel it is to emotionally straining for them to go through a natural miscarriage.
Pregnancy Loss/ Miscarriage
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