Miscarriage is not a rare phenomenon in Australia; chances are, somebody you know has been touched by it.
Yet it remains a topic that’s rarely discussed in public. To help raise awareness, we’ve worked with SANDS — a miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support service — to share some important facts, information, and recommendations about pregnancy loss.
This week marks the start of Never Forgotten: Mamamia’s Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week.
1. It’s more common than you might realise
As many as one in four identified pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks. However, it’s likely this rate is much higher because some women experience early miscarriages without having realised they were pregnant.
According to SANDS’ Chair, Lyndy Bowden, pregnancy loss impacts on more than 100,000 local families per year.
2. There’s no “safe zone” for pregnancy loss
It’s common, and often expected, for women to wait 12 weeks before announcing their pregnancy. However, Bowden says this isn’t a “magic” or “safe” number.
“It’s hard to say this, but in reality babies can die at any gestation, be it six weeks or 40 weeks or 42 weeks, or two weeks after they’re born. Unfortunately, there is no ‘safe’ period,” she explains.
“You tell people when you need to; do what’s right for you. Remember that if you tell people of your early pregnancy, they can celebrate this beautiful new life with you. If you do go on to experience a miscarriage, then they will be the people who can then turn around and support you.”
Rebecca Sparrow reflects on the loss of her beloved daughter, Georgie. Post continues below.
3. Symptoms aren’t always present
“We tend to think of miscarriage as we see it on TV – the woman grabbing her tummy, being in excruciating pain or finding blood. But there would be a higher incidence of mums who have no signs or symptoms,” Bowen explains.
“It can be really hard, and the first time they find out is they’ve probably gone for a scan and it’ll be then they see there’s no heartbeat. For other mums there can be spotting or cramping, but then again that doesn’t mean you’re going to miscarry.”
Some mothers say they could feel something wasn’t right prior to having a miscarriage. If this is the case, Bowen recommends acting on those instincts. “Trust what you’re feeling … go to the doctor and get it checked out. It doesn’t matter how many times. Don’t worry about what people say,” she says.