Written by Olivia Arrow

Pregnancy loss, also known as miscarriage, is a devastating reality for many expecting parents. It is defined as the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week, and can occur for a variety of reasons. Despite affecting 10-25% of all recognised pregnancies, pregnancy loss remains a taboo topic and is often shrouded in secrecy and shame. However, it is important to shed light on this subject and understand why it happens.

The most common cause of pregnancy loss is chromosomal abnormalities. These occur when there are errors in the genetic material of the embryo, which can happen during fertilisation or as the embryo is developing. In fact, it is estimated that 50-70% of all early pregnancy losses are due to chromosomal abnormalities. These abnormalities are usually random and not related to any actions or behaviours of the parents. They are simply a natural part of the process of conception and early development.

Other factors that can contribute to pregnancy loss include hormonal imbalances, maternal health conditions, and lifestyle choices. Hormonal imbalances, such as low levels of progesterone, can prevent the embryo from implanting properly in the uterus or cause the uterine lining to shed too soon. Maternal health conditions, such as thyroid disorders or uncontrolled diabetes, can also increase the risk of pregnancy loss. Additionally, lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can also lead to pregnancy loss.

While there are some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of pregnancy loss, such as advanced maternal age or a history of previous miscarriages, the truth is that anyone can experience it. It is important to remember that pregnancy loss is not caused by anything the mother or father did or didn’t do. It is not a punishment or a sign of weakness. It is a heartbreaking and often unpredictable event.

The physical and emotional toll of pregnancy loss can be overwhelming. Many women experience intense feelings of guilt, shame, and grief. It is common for these emotions to be compounded by the societal pressure to keep pregnancy announcements and early pregnancies hidden until after the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage decreases. This can make it difficult for women to find support and openly grieve their loss. It is important for society to break the silence surrounding pregnancy loss and create a safe space for those who are going through it.

In addition to the emotional impact, there are also physical effects of pregnancy loss. Depending on how far along the pregnancy was, the body may need time to recover and heal. This can involve heavy bleeding, cramping, and passing tissue or clots. It is important for women to seek medical care and support during this time, both for their physical and emotional well-being.

While pregnancy loss is a heartbreaking experience, it is important to note that most women who experience it go on to have successful pregnancies in the future. In fact, the majority of women who have one miscarriage will go on to have a healthy pregnancy afterwards. This is important to keep in mind, as it can offer hope to those who are going through the difficult process of grieving a loss.

Support and understanding from loved ones is crucial for those who have experienced pregnancy loss. It is important for partners, family, and friends to listen and offer support without judgement. Acknowledging the loss and allowing the person to grieve in their own way can be incredibly helpful. It is also important for society to recognise and validate the pain of pregnancy loss, and to remove the stigma and shame that often surrounds it.

Pregnancy loss is a heartbreaking and often misunderstood experience. It can happen for a variety of reasons, many of which are out of our control. It is important for society to break the silence surrounding pregnancy loss and offer support and understanding to those who have experienced it. Remember, pregnancy loss is not a sign of failure or weakness, but a natural and unfortunately common occurrence. With love, support, and open communication, we can create a more compassionate and understanding environment for those who have gone through this difficult experience.