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What is pregnancy loss? — This is the medical term for when a pregnancy ends before a person has been pregnant for 20 weeks. (A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.)
Pregnancy loss is also called "miscarriage."
How do people react to pregnancy loss? — It's normal to feel sad or anxious or have other emotions after a pregnancy loss. Grieving and coping with the loss can be difficult for you and your family. Some people feel shock, numbness, or emptiness. Others feel guilt, fear, confusion, or relief. There is no right way to feel, and your feelings might change from day to day. You might have very different feelings about the loss than your partner or family, and that is OK.
Your emotions can affect your ability to do your normal daily activities, work, and relate to others. Some people have problems with sleep, appetite, and their overall health. But over time, most people are able to cope, manage their feelings, and lead a healthy life again.
If you are struggling or think that you might be depressed, tell your doctor or nurse. There are treatments that can help.
What can I do to cope? — Everyone copes differently. Below are some ideas that might be helpful after a pregnancy loss.
•Get plenty of sleep. Allow yourself to rest when you need to. Accept help from others if they offer it.
•Eat a healthy diet. Avoid or limit alcohol and other substances.
•When you are ready, try to get regular physical activity. Even gentle forms of activity, like walking, are good for your health. Try to get outside a little each day.
•Your doctor or nurse will usually advise you to wait 2 weeks before you have sex or put anything in your vagina.
•Your doctor or nurse will tell you if you should wait before trying to get pregnant again. It's generally safe to start trying again as soon as you feel ready. But it's normal if it takes some time for you to feel ready again.
•Understand that your changing hormones can affect and intensify your feelings.
•Make your own choices. There is no right way to feel. There is no best way to deal with your loss. For example, if you are not ready to put away things that remind you of your baby, take as much time as you need.
•If you have a partner, talk with them. It's important to share your feelings and understand what your partner is feeling. It is OK if you and your partner are not feeling the same way. Talking openly about this can help you better understand each other's feelings and reactions.
●Connect with others:
•Get help from others. Talk to your loved ones when you need their support. Let them know how you feel about the loss of your baby.
•Join support groups with people who have also experienced pregnancy loss. If you feel lonely, it can help to know that lots of other people have been through something similar. Your doctor or nurse can suggest resources. You can also connect with others online.
•Keep yourself busy. Plan things to do or go out with friends if that will help you.
●Grieve your loss:
•Allow yourself time and space to grieve your loss.
•Some people choose to make memories of their baby, like giving them a name or keeping an ultrasound picture. Some people choose to have a memorial service, plant a tree, or do something to honor and remember their baby. For other people, doing these things might be too difficult. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
•Write your thoughts and feelings down. This can be a good outlet for your pain.
•Be gentle with yourself if you find it hard to be around babies or others who are pregnant. It's normal to have feelings of jealousy or struggle to be happy for them. This will get easier over time.
•People who have had a pregnancy loss are somewhat more likely than those who have not to have another loss. But most people who have a pregnancy loss are able to have a healthy pregnancy in the future. Your doctor or nurse can talk to you about ways to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
•There is no way to make sure that you will not have another pregnancy loss. But you can lower your chances of having one by avoiding tobacco products (including vaping), alcohol, cocaine, other substances, and injury to your belly. Certain infections also increase the risk of pregnancy loss. Your doctor or nurse can talk to you about how to prevent these.
Patient education: Pregnancy loss (The Basics)
Patient education: Dilation and curettage (D&C) (The Basics)
Patient education: Bleeding in early pregnancy (The Basics)
Patient education: Repeat pregnancy loss (The Basics)
Patient education: Pregnancy loss (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Amniocentesis (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Chorionic villus sampling (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Dilation and curettage (D&C) (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Birth control; which method is right for me? (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Depression in adults (Beyond the Basics)
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