Losing a baby can be heartbreaking at any stage of a pregnancy.
Pregnancy loss happens to lots of couples. It is very sad losing your baby and it is normal for women, their partners and family to grieve the loss. There are different types of pregnancy loss.
Miscarriage is common. About 1 in 3 Traveller women have miscarriages.
If you have a miscarriage, there are a number of supports that you can get from the hospital, GP/midwife.
There’s no one reason that a woman will have a miscarriage and isn’t because of something that you’ve done. The majority of miscarriages can’t be stopped. There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a miscarriage like:
- Drinking alcohol
- Using drugs
SYMPTOMS OF MISCARRIAGE
Symptoms of Miscarriage:
- Really bad pain in the bottom part of your stomach
- Cramping, like period pain in your stomach and back
- Having a ‘show’ or spotting (brown or bright red bleeding) with or without cramps
- Passing of clots
Some of these symptoms don’t always mean that you are having a miscarriage and pain is common in the first 12 weeks, however but it is always best to go to your GP if you think something is wrong. Your GP might refer you on to the hospital.
The hospital will:
- Get your medical history
- Take your blood
- Give you an ultrasound
- Do an internal exam
The hospital might want to keep you in, or send you home to wait and pass the pregnancy, naturally.
The hospital might ask you to come back after a week or two to see if everything is okay. If not, you might need to have a D&C.
Sometimes women have an ectopic pregnancy, that means the baby is outside the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are very serious for the baby and mother as there is risk of internal bleeding.
An ectopic pregnancy can happen from 5-14 weeks of the pregnancy. Some things to look out for:
- Bleeding or spotting
- Pain in your shoulder
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Feeling very faint and light-headed
WHAT IS STILLBIRTH?
After 6 months pregnancy loss is called stillbirth. Why this happens is not known and it is not because of something that the woman has done. Some of the reasons that this happens can be because there are:
- Problems with the placenta
- Problems with the cord
If you your baby is stillbirth the hospital will offer support. They might ask you if want to spend time with the baby and give you sacred things like a lock of hair, footprints, hospital bands. They might ask if you would like some pictures to take home. The hospital can help you with the funeral arrangements.
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you have a stillbirth you will bleed heavily for a few days and you might have some stitches or after-pains. Your body will still produce milk and if you don’t express it, it can be very painful and lead to engorgement. This means that there is too much milk and it can become infected.
Pregnancy loss effects women in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to deal with pregnancy loss. Some women might feel sad, down, angry, depressed, guilty and others might not feel any of these things and deal with them in their own way.
There are free supports available for women after pregnancy loss. The hospital might refer you on to a bereavement social worker which is different from the usual social worker. They are there to listen and offer support to women who have experienced loss. This is confidential and private.
There are also community supports that are available like the Traveller Counselling Service which is free. If you have any questions you can talk to a Traveller Community Health Worker.
Some women might feel more comfortable going to their local priest or nun.
TRYING FOR ANOTHER BABY AFTER LOSS
There is no perfect amount of time to wait before trying to have a baby again, but GPs usually encourage women to wait at least a few months. It is safe to try try again after two or three periods.