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miscarriage over 40, 10 things to know about pregnancy loss


Are you over 40 and have you had a miscarriage or are you experiencing recurrent miscarriage? There are some misconceptions about pregnancy loss. Many women haven't ever gone through a miscarriage so when they have one, they rely on what they have heard which many times isn't accurate or may not be applicable in their case.  Here are some things I wished I had known or that I learned after having so many miscarriages of my own:


1.  It may take HcG over a month to get out of your system: Even though a miscarriage has expelled from your body, HcG (the pregnancy hormone) takes a while to completely get out of your body.  This can lead to feeling pregnant even though you are not.  It can also cause a positive result on a pregnancy test.

2.  Bleeding or Spotting Doesn't Always Lead To Miscarriage.  I spotted with all my pregnancies, including my completely normal pregnancy which led to the birth of my daughter.  Spotting can be caused my a number of factors, and not all of them will lead to a miscarriage.

3.  Just like it takes HcG a while to get out of your system, it may take a while for the actual pregnancy tissue to expel from your body.  I had one miscarriage that took over a month to expel and my doctor finally recommended a D&C.  It was a relief to have the D&C because it is very traumatizing to continually feel pregnant when you know it is not viable.

4.  Early miscarriage may be referred to as a "blighted ovum" or "chemical pregnancy".  These fancy sounding medical terms basically refer to a pregnancy which started with fertilization, but either failed to develop or failed to develop after implantation.

5.  The Emergency Department of your local hospital (from my personal experience) may not be the best place to go for a miscarriage unless you think you have an ectopic.  Emergency Room physicians are generalists, and I found many of them are not good at performing ultrasounds.  However, if you are having abdominal pain, and your OB physician is unavailable, you should have it checked out.

6.  The loss women suffer through miscarriage feels like the loss of a child.  Although friends and family members may not always understand, you have already envisioned and planned for this child in your life.  You may need to explain that you need time to grieve after this traumatic event.

7.  The medical community may refer to a miscarriage as "spontaneous abortion".  This term is demeaning and adds insult to injury.  The word "abortion" has so many meanings attached to it.  Many medical professionals have started using different terminology, but don't be surprised if it's in your records after a miscarriage.

8.  Men suffer too.  Be kind to the father of the lost baby.  Most friends and family shower condolences on the woman, however it's a loss for the man as well.

9.  Most women who have a miscarriage go on to have a healthy happy baby.  This includes women with recurrent miscarriage.  I'm a perfect example.

10.  Recent research suggests that there is no need to wait to get pregnant again after a miscarriage assuming you did not have surgery or a D&C.  Make sure, however, you are emotionally ready to try again.

11. Bedrest will not stop a miscarriage if its already in motion. Bedrest can help prevent miscarriage if you have an incompetent cervix and it's usually recommended that women who undergo IVF stay inactive immediately following the procedure. But once a miscarriage has started or if the fetus is no longer viable, bedrest will not stop it.
See also: How to have a memorial service for your lost baby through miscarriage

More On Miscarriage

What a cruel universe we live in....how could this happen? Was it something I did? Did I exercise too much? Did I not want this baby enough? Did my baby not want me?

When you've had a miscarriage, all of your dreams with your baby come crashing down. No it wasn't just a cluster of cells, this was your child, your family, your hope for your future. On top of that is a feeling of failure. Why won't your body cooperate? How come every other woman out there can get pregnant just like that, have their family and live happily ever after? Bad enough, it happens once, but then when it happens over and over again it adds insult to injury.

Women over 40 feel a sense of urgency to get pregnant because they feel their time is running out fast

Women over 40 have probably read all of the dismal statistics about conceiving over 40 and having a successful pregnancy over 40. You feel like you've got to spend every waking second on getting pregnant and monitoring every bodily function to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. But hold on. Yes, it may take women over 40 longer to get pregnant than a 20 year old, but its not impossible. Long before there was birth control and sterilization procedures, it was quite commonplace for women to get pregnant well into their 40's. Unless you've been diagnosed with a specific form of infertility, there's no reason to think you won't get pregnant.

When I had a miscarriage, even though I was devastated, I saw it as a sign of hope. After all, I did get pregnant. It was a sign that my body was functioning well enough to ovulate, to get an egg fertilized, for the egg to move down to my uterus and start growing. Well, that's not so bad! I knew that one embryo would stick eventually. Even though I was over 40, I kept telling myself..."there's one good egg in there somewhere!" I'm going to be good and ready when it shows up!"

Honestly, that's the attitude you need to have when you have a miscarriage. Dare to dream again. Don't tell yourself that you're not going to get your hopes up again. Remember, you attract to yourself what you think. If your mindset is one of failure and "I can't have a baby", you may be setting yourself up more disappointment. See also: Pregnancy Loss

Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your baby. Have a little memorial service. Light a candle and perhaps get a little doll to symbolize the child you lost. Say goodbye and let them know that you will see them again. I do believe that miscarried souls are real. They will either come back into your next pregnancy, or you will meet up with them again in the afterlife. They are not gone or forgotten. See this as a source of comfort. Know that it's okay to move forward and to try again. Miscarriage is quite common. I'm always surprised at the number of women of all ages who have had at least one miscarriage and go on to have one or more children. Even most women who experience recurrent miscarriage go on to have successful pregnancies.

You can do this. You are no different. You deserve everything life has to offer no matter what your age.

It is now we reluctantly part, but I'll always keep you in my heart
Goodbye to what could have been, goodbye until we meet again

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