When a pregnancy threatens to miscarry there is often very little the mother, father or health professionals can do to alter the outcome. This can be a time of considerable uncertainty and anxiety for many women and their partners as they wait, hoping the symptoms will go away and that their baby is still alive and growing. Feelings such as fear, guilt and sadness may be intense as parents search for explanations for the onset of symptoms.
Sometimes, abdominal or vaginal ultrasound examinations are carried out to determine whether the cervix has opened or remained closed and if the baby’s heartbeat is present. If the examination shows there is no heartbeat and the cervix is open, then a miscarriage is inevitable or has already occurred. Waiting for a miscarriage that is inevitable can be lonely and confusing. It can be difficult knowing that you are carrying your baby who has died while trying to anticipate and prepare yourself for the completion of your miscarriage. A miscarriage may follow a threatened miscarriage, or there may be no warning. When a miscarriage occurs it may be either complete, incomplete, missed or unnoticed.
“I felt so numb, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.”
Complete: A complete miscarriage is when the pregnancy has ended and the baby, membranes and placenta have been emptied from the uterus. Bleeding will occur and cramping pain similar to labour or period pain may be experienced as the uterus empties. The cervix then closes and the bleeding ceases.
Incomplete: With an incomplete miscarriage, some tissue from the pregnancy stays inside the uterus after the miscarriage. Bleeding may occur and cramping pain similar to labour or period pain may be experienced as the uterus tries to empty. This can be identified by an ultrasound examination of the uterus. Medical treatment will then be required.
Incomplete: With an incomplete miscarriage, some tissue from the pregnancy stays inside the uterus after the miscarriage. Bleeding may occur and cramping pain similar to labour or period pain may be experienced as the uterus tries to empty. This can be identified by an ultrasound examination of the uterus.
Missed: A missed miscarriage is when the baby dies but stays in the uterus. After several weeks a brown vaginal discharge may appear and the symptoms of pregnancy may disappear. Ultrasound may also be used to diagnose a missed miscarriage. Medical treatment will then be required.
Unnoticed: A miscarriage may also resemble a heavy period and go completely unnoticed, particularly if this occurs very early in pregnancy.
Fear is a normal response to an unexpected, unfamiliar and threatening event, so for many parents miscarriage can be a frightening experience about which they have little or no knowledge. When you miscarry you usually are not prepared for the changes, both physical and emotional that occur.
It is important to discuss with your doctor why your miscarriage may have occurred.
You may also like to visit www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au for further information.
For Bereavement Support and more information contact Red Nose Grief and Loss 1300 308 307 or visit our website www.rednosegriefandloss.com.au.
Last modified: 10/10/16