When I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t announce it publicly, not even to my relatives, until I was 12 weeks along. It was hard to keep such joyful news under the wraps, but the rate of miscarriage is highest in the first trimester.
I had never experienced a miscarriage myself, but I knew friends and family members who did. Most of them had early miscarriages, but one friend had a stillbirth in her third trimester – well past the danger period of most miscarriages. My friend delivered a “sleeping” baby girl after 24 hours of labor. There was no explanation for her death; until then, the baby’s heartbeat had been strong and she had seemed perfectly healthy.
Every time I heard stories about miscarriages, my worry multiplied. I was nervous before every doctor appointment, ultrasound, and test result. It almost felt like I was just waiting for bad news. My husband was much more optimistic.
Upon seeing a 3D ultrasound snapshot of my baby, my grandmother exclaimed how lucky pregnant women were today, to be able to see what was going on inside their growing bellies. To be able to see our babies kick and suck their thumbs inside the womb. Nowadays, we can know the gender and hear their heartbeat before they’re even born. Back in her day, pregnant women had to wait and trust that everything would be okay.
But even with today’s technology, we still can’t be certain that our babies are totally fine. I panicked when I experienced light vaginal bleeding. My mind immediately jumped to the word “miscarriage.” Thankfully, it was just some spotting – nothing to worry about, the doctor reassured me.
Most expecting mothers experience the fear of miscarriage at some point during their pregnancy – this is especially true for those who have had previous miscarriages before.
Another one of my friends tried for over a year to get pregnant, only to miscarry the baby right as she was starting to show. Luckily, she got pregnant again a year later but this time around she didn’t publicly announce her pregnancy at all. Only her husband and their parents knew; everyone else was surprised when she suddenly posted Facebook photos of her baby. Among the congratulatory comments were remarks like, “We didn’t even know you were pregnant all this time!”
It occurred to me that she blamed herself for her first miscarriage. Even though she and her husband welcomed home their second baby, they never stopped grieving and missing their first.
Tips to deal with the fear of miscarriage:
1. Listen to your doctor on how to take care of your pregnant self. Follow the do’s and don’ts.
2. Tell your doctor if you’ve had previous miscarriages before.
3. Remember that as your pregnancy progresses, the risk of having a miscarriage decreases dramatically. Yes, stillbirths can happen. But in most cases there is nothing a mother can do to prevent it.
4. Ask your doctor about the warning signs for a miscarriage. Watch out for excessive bleeding that’s as heavy as your period (spotting or slightly bloody discharge are usually nothing to worry about, but let your doctor know about them anyway). Notify your doctor if you experience abdominal cramps.
5. Studies show that having one miscarriage does not significantly diminish your chance of carrying your next baby to term. One miscarriage does not necessarily lead to another. You still have a good chance of delivering a healthy baby. But if
you’re worried, talk to your doctor about doing a complete
By Jenny Tai