Pregnancy loss is a very difficult experience. You might go through a roller coast of feelings, and the emotional impact can last longer than the physical effects.
Even if the pregnancy ends very early, many women have already experienced a sense of bonding with their baby.
9 Things Parents Of Angel Babies Want Their Care Providers To Know About Miscarriage
Even so, most women are expected just to get over their loss and move on. Sometimes this attitude comes from unexpected places, even from their care providers.
If you are going through, or have been through, a miscarriage, here are 9 things you want your care provider to know:
#1: Please Show Compassion
Whether you're experiencing your first miscarriage, or have been through it many times, how you're treated and spoken to during this time has a profound impact.
Kind words, a hug, or even a simple ‘I am so sorry’ can give comfort to a woman who has been told her baby has died.
With 1 in 4 women experiencing miscarriage, it’s something care providers see a lot. But it certainly isn’t commonplace for the woman experiencing it. It helps to know your care provider actually cares, and is thinking of you.
#2: Language Matters
Miscarriage is the term used for a spontaneous loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation; in the UK it is before 23 weeks.
In clinical language, a miscarriage is known as a spontaneous abortion, and the baby might be referred to as ‘products of conception’ or ‘pregnancy tissue’.
These medical terms can be hard for grieving parents to hear.
It’s important to remember parents are experiencing the loss of a baby. They might already have chosen names, or still be getting used to the idea of becoming parents. Either way, it’s important to use appropriate language that respects their loss.
It’s useful to know some of the things not to say to someone who has experienced a pregnancy loss.
#3: Tell Me What To Expect
Most women who miscarry are told it is similar to a heavy period, and they might feel some cramping. Not all women experience the same sort of bleeding or pain during their period, and so their point of reference might be different.
Knowing what to expect physically can help, as many women are scared about what they will feel and see as they miscarry. It can be reassuring to know what to look for, depending on how many weeks’ gestation their baby is.
Experiencing miscarriage can be very intense, as there is a lot of grief, and the sadness of knowing there will be no baby at the end of the bleeding and pain. Being prepared can make the experience less of a shock.
You can find more information here, about miscarriage signs, symptoms and causes.
#4: Help Me Understand I Have Options
If you find out your baby has died, you might want to wait until your body recognises this and begins to miscarry naturally. Some women prefer to let nature take its course, as this can help them feel some closure.
Other women find it hard to wait for this to happen. It’s important to have all the right information available so you can make the best choice for you.
What happens to your body and your baby is not your care provider’s decision.
It can help to have a plan in place, to allow you time to think about what you prefer to do. Your care provider can organise for you to have support and counselling during this time.
#5: Tell Other Staff
If you need to visit the hospital or clinic for any reason, it can be extremely helpful if the staff there are aware of the situation and can be sensitive to your needs.
No woman experiencing a miscarriage wants a doctor or receptionist to ask questions about her gestation and due date.
It can be hurtful and traumatic to have to explain what is happening and women can find this experience so off putting they will not seek assistance even if they need it.
#6: Prepare Me For What To Do
It’s not uncommon for women to be concerned about miscarrying while on the toilet.
This happens quite often and your care provider can give you a small container to place your baby in, if that’s possible.
If their miscarriage happens very early, many women are not even aware they are losing their baby. They might feel guilty if they flush the toilet afterwards, but it is important to know it is a possibility and that it is ok.
#7: Encourage Me To Remember My Baby
Women who miscarry are mothers too. Care providers can encourage them to honour their baby in a special way. Altars, memorials, or special mementos are all ways to remember their babies.
Some women want to bury or cremate their babies, and it’s important care providers make them aware of their options, so they can decide what they would like to do.
Find out more about ways to create memories after losing a baby.
#8: Talk To Me About Self Care
Care providers are often in the best position to encourage you to look after yourself after a miscarriage.
Having time off work, or deciding to not attend an event is ok. You need time to recover physically, but also need to allow yourself to process, and to heal emotionally.
Your doctor can give you a medical certificate if you take time off work, and encourage you to put yourself first for as long as you need.
#9: Help Me Find Support
Not all women will grieve a miscarriage, but those who do will need support and care while they deal with their loss.
Your care provider can point you to a number of different organisations that provide counselling and support for women who have experienced pregnancy loss. It is hard to imagine ever moving past this moment, but it does help to be reminded you are not alone.
How women are treated and cared for when miscarriage happens can have a deep and lasting impact on their lives. For most women, their doctor or nurse is a trusted source of information and support. The physical and emotional distress of losing a pregnancy can be eased if care providers are compassionate and kind.
Recommended Reading: How To Support Someone After A Miscarriage Or Loss.