Have you ever had a miscarriage pregnancy?
A miscarriage – defined as the loss of a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks’ gestation – is a common problem. Around 15 per cent of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage; in 98 per cent of cases, this will occur in the first 12 weeks and will be the result of a random cause, which is unlikely to occur again. After one miscarriage, your chances of having a successful pregnancy are still 80 per cent, which is not much lower than if you have never been pregnant before.
That said, miscarriage rates do increase sharply with age and if you are over 35, you may wish to ask your doctor for tests if you miscarry for the first time (usually doctors will only refer you for tests after a third miscarriage). In this way, you can eliminate any underlying causes such as an autoimmune problem or adhesions (scar tissue) due to surgery or infection.
Losing a baby in this way is often mentally devastating. You may need professional support and counselling in order to help you deal with the psychological side of your pregnancy loss and help you to conceive again. A healthy diet and lifestyle, together with complementary therapies such as acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and yoga will ensure you are in the best possible physical and mental condition for a future pregnancy (see Steps 6 and 8).
Only 1 per cent of couples suffer recurrent miscarriage, which is defined as three or more consecutive pregnancy losses. If you are unlucky enough to be in this situation, it is best to get a referral to a specialist recurrent miscarriage unit at a hospital, where highly experienced staff will do the necessary tests to find out if there is something wrong, and will also treat you with the tender loving care which you no doubt need by now. Studies have shown that just by putting yourself in the care of the experts – even if they find nothing wrong with you – significantly raises the chances of a successful pregnancy outcome.