07 January 2010
At least 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage but many losses are so early that women may just think their period is late and not even know they have lost a pregnancy. Today, though, with the easy availability of home pregnancy tests that can detect a pregnancy even before a missed period, more and more women are aware of the loss.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I was ultra conservative and careful about every aspect of my life. I ate carefully, did not take any medication whatsoever, exercised moderately- not too little and not too much, etc. My baby was born healthy. The next time I was pregnant, I decided that I should relax a little and not be so paranoid. I really did not do anything differently but at 7 weeks, I miscarried. So, I reverted back to my old thinking and was uber-cautious.
I knew that the miscarriage was not caused by anything I did but making sure I followed all the "rules" made me feel like I had more control over the situation. I knew that by eating well, avoiding medications and alcohol, avoiding any chemical known to be harmful- including caffeine, I was doing the best I could for my baby. I conceived the second month after my miscarriage and delivered a healthy baby 9 months later.
As it turns out, for some reason, I lost a baby before each of my four healthy pregnancies. In hindsight, I now know that I had a miscarriage before my first baby as well. Like many other women, I thought I was just late, but I'm never late. My OB told me that, while there is no way to know for sure, it is most likely that I had a miscarriage the month before I conceived my first son, making the total 4 losses. After a moderate level of testing, no cause was found for the miscarriages. My theory is that the babies I lost were girls and for some reason my body cannot carry girl babies. It is only a theory, though, my doctor did not dismiss the idea, nor did she confirm it.
I know there was nothing I could do to prevent the miscarriages. I did everything I could to make sure my body was healthy before I conceived and continued to do so until my babies were born. Each pregnancy was different. Each one brought different complications but in the end, all the boys are healthy.
Having been there and done that, I would advise every woman who wants to get pregnant to prepare her body by living like she is already pregnant when she starts trying to conceive and continue the clean living throughout the pregnancy. Doing this will help you know that, no matter what happens, you have done absolutely everything you can for your baby. If, G-d forbid, you have a miscarriage, you will know that nothing you did caused it.
If you have 2 consecutive losses, ask your doctor to do some simple blood tests. One simple and often overlooked test is: Factor V Leiden Mutation. Progesterone levels could be low. It could have been a random chromosomal abnormality. Your doctor can help you, so don't be shy. Be your own advocate. If you have more than one loss, and you have to have a D&C, ask the doctor to test the material for abnormalities. If you have a feeling about a problem, don't be shy, you know your body and should ask the doctor any and all questions you have.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact me at Erin@EveryBabyBook.com