Pregnancy and birth is a miraculous journey. This amazing time of life is full of mystery, anticipation, joy, hope and wonder. Feeling the powerful energy of birth and new life, watching as a new family is born unto each other. These things humble and amaze. These are the things that we celebrate when a baby is born, however there is another aspect of pregnancy and birth. There is an unexpected place where some families may find themselves. When a baby dies, at any stage along the journey, a world is turned upside down. There is confusion, sadness, fear and uncertainty that cannot be explained. There is sorrow where there should have been joy.
Miscarriage remains an uncomfortable subject in our society. Unfortunately, our society does not generally recognise it as the death of a child which must be followed by a period of grieving and many of us who have been through a miscarriage have experienced this lack of understanding of the need to grieve. Miscarriage statistics aren't well-publicized and miscarriage would be much easier if a weight of silence did not hang over the topic. Miscarriages are common; one in three pregnancies will fail. No matter how common, the pain and sadness is very real and needs to be openly acknowledged and honoured.
The pain of grief is caused by the loss of something we have bonded with and the stronger this bond, the deeper the pain. Studies show that the mother usually begins bonding with the baby from very early on in pregnancy, although many of us aren't actively aware of this happening. The pain of the grief experienced after a miscarriage often comes as a shock.
Feelings include shock, denial, anger, guilt and depression. There is no real sequence apart from a final acceptance. Even after we have dealt with these feelings they can recur, especially around the anniverasary of significant dates and other personal memories. These feelings do gradually diminish in intensity. Although guilt is a normal part of grief, in miscarriage, it plays a much greater role. We want to reassure you that nothing you inadvertently do or don't do causes the death of a baby if you have a non-viable pregnancy.
It is healthy to grieve following a pregnancy loss - honour the process. It is an essential step in the healing process and paves the way to emotional preparation for your next pregnancy.
Tonic Australia offers Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), a gentle processing technique to support you through this time, both physically and emotionally. Tonic can also help prepare you for the next pregnancy when you feel ready. Miscarriages may be prevented if the causes are investigated thoroughly and then treated appropriately.
What causes a miscarriage?
The most common reasons include:
Many miscarriages are due to chromosomal problems or genetic abnormalities. Something goes wrong during or soon after conception and the part of the pregnancy and baby fails to develop normally.
A blighted ovum is a common type of miscarriage. It happens when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus but the resulting embryo either stops developing very early or doesn't form at all. Nowadays, the term "blighted ovum" is considered out of date. Instead, most medical professionals use the term "early pregnancy failure" to describe this situation.
Something may be wrong with the placenta.
The fertilised egg may implant in the wrong place.
Endometriosis, this can double the chances of miscarriage.
Hypothyroidism, this has now been connected to late miscarriage but if known about or tested for it can be dealt with.
Diabetes and insulin resistance. The anti-diabetes drug 'Metformin' appears to reduce the likelihood of early miscarriage.
'Anti Phospholipid Syndrome' is an antibody that causes blood clots to form in the placenta, which causes repeat miscarriages.
Natural Killer (NK) Cells. These are responsible for protecting us from invasion by bacteria, viruses and foreign bodies and rejecting organ transplants. The foetus contains foreign genetic material coming from the father, but in normal circumstances it does not get rejected. However, in some women these NK cells may reject the foetus and cause a miscarriage either by being high in numbers or by abnormal hostile activity. This problem, as with most autoimmune disorders, can switch on and off; therefore some of the women may have one or more normal pregnancy outcomes as well as recurrent miscarriages. Women with CD16/56 NK cells in excess of 12% or 0.2 absolute number are at risk of miscarrying.
The mother's immune system or hormone levels may affect the pregnancy. She may be sick, badly injured, under too much stress, have a weak cervix or a hidden infection.
Environmental toxicity may cause damage to DNA and a growing embryo/foetus.
The consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs is linked to higher rates of miscarriage.
Age: by 35 years old, the eggs have become older and less viable.
Nutritional deficiency at conception. Evidence point to increase risk if miscarriage if the mother and father have poor preconception nutrition. Hence, the DNA in the egg and sperm mature in a nutritionally deficient environment and possibly toxic environment and this may lead to DNA fragmentation.
Caffeine is now also being linked to miscarriage. The American FDA recommend no more than 300 mg per day (tea, coffee, caffeinated beverages such as cola drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate drinks).
Fibroids may increase miscarriage risk. According to early findings from a pilot study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina, USA, it appears the presence of fibroids is uniformly associated with and may increase miscarriage. It is estimated they affect more than one in five women of reproductive age, and early results indicate that women with small fibroids (more so than larger fibroids) have a 55% increased risk of pregnancy loss.
Miscarriage is more common with low sperm counts. Women experiencing miscarriages typically have husbands/partners with lower sperm counts.
Research results suggest an implication of sperm chromosome abnormalities in some cases of recurrent pregnancy loss.
Helping the Healing
Women who have lost a baby - either from miscarriage or stillbirth need both emotional and physical comfort. The postpartum needs of these women require special attention. Whether from full term pregnancy loss or early miscarriage, Tonic Australia can provide support for both the hearts and bodies of grieving women.
If your friend or partner has miscarried, acknowledge the loss with a small gift of remembrance. Take a look at the Healing Hearts Gift from earth Mama Angel Baby
For further resources and support, please visit Earth Mama Angel Baby’s sister site, Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort, www.babylosscomfort.com There you will find grief resources, support and suggestions for friends and family of bereaved parents and Pregnancy Loss Forum - for women who have broken hearts to support each other. Another helpful resource forum is: www.lifeafterdeath.forumup.co.uk