The sacred process of nurturing new life from the point of conception to the actual birthing process is a journey that is nothing short of a miracle; a blessing and a gift that ought to be safe and enjoyed by every woman who so desires motherhood.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. The term is ‘miscarriage’ which basically means the loss of a fetus due to natural causes before 20 weeks of pregnancy, is known to at least 10-15% of women. There are many factors that threaten the wellbeing of pregnancies such as problems in the fetus (birth defect or genetic disorder) or problems in the woman carrying the pregnancy (structural abnormalities in the reproductive system, infection, an injury or consumption of alcohol and tobacco while pregnant). The predisposing factors to miscarriages include older age (over 35), an injury, Rhesus blood group incompatibility (when the mother’s blood has antibodies against the fetus blood type), structural abnormalities in the reproductive system which cause constriction of the fetus, use of substances such as tobacco and alcohol, conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease if they are not adequately controlled and infections.
In the medical world, the term ‘abortion’ may be used synonymously with the loss of a pregnancy. Spontaneous abortion, to mean miscarriage and induced abortion, to mean the intentional termination of a pregnancy due to medical or other reasons. After 20 weeks of pregnancy, the delivery of a dead fetus is termed ‘stillbirth’. The symptoms of miscarriage are usually preceded by spotting with bright or dark red bleeding followed by profuse bleeding and cramps that vary in intensity depending on the stage at which the pregnancy had reached. The cramps occur due to the uterus contracting and eventually dispelling the fetus.
The diagnosis of a miscarriage can be done either through a doctor’s physical evaluation of the cervix, an imaging test to rule out any structural abnormalities of the reproductive system, blood tests to detect any infections or conditions threatening fetal expulsion and genetic tests to assess for chromosomal abnormalities.
Treatment of miscarriages vary according to the causes and the type of miscarriage. Emotional support through such a life-shattering occurrence is probably the most important yet least emphasized management. The emotions vary from grief, to sadness, to anger, to guilt, or to anxiety about subsequent pregnancies. All these emotions are natural responses to loss and should not be frowned upon. Putting labels to our emotions and creating that self awareness around this kind of loss is a small yet efficient step in jump-starting the road to healing.
Visit ponea.com to search, compare and book our Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychology specialists to help you through this difficult journey of grief and loss. You can alternatively reach us directly on +254 111 013 900.