Issue No. 4: Black maternal health
words - Diana McDonnell: MSN, APRN, AGNP-CP
What is miscarriage?
Miscarriage is when a fetus or embryo dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. A reported 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, though they are likely even more common because many people experience miscarriages before they ever know they are pregnant.
Frequent causes of miscarriage:
Chromosomal or genetic abnormality in the embryo
Serious illness or infection
Your risk of miscarriage is higher if you:
Are over 35
Have hypertension, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder
Have had a miscarriage before
Smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs during pregnancy
If you experience either of these symptoms associated with miscarriage, please consult a medical professional:
Vaginal spotting or bleeding
Pelvic pain or abdominal cramping
If bleeding increases or you develop a fever, seek medical attention immediately, as these can be signs of infection.
What to expect when seeking medical care:
Interview with health care provider to discuss medical history and symptoms
Ultrasound for fetal heart rate
Standard pelvic exam to assess bleeding
Exam for signs of infection, including fever, elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, and lower abdominal tenderness
Pelvic ultrasound: transducer device placed inside the vagina in order to visualize the internal organs
Procedure to remove embryo/fetus. A D&C is a common procedure to remove tissue from the uterus. It may involve regional or general anaesthesia and is typically an outpatient procedure.
When a miscarriage occurs, individuals may not have shared that they were pregnant, which can make it feel like they have to grieve alone. Additionally, there can be pressure to get over the loss quickly as though it is not significant enough to be grieved. If you experience a miscarriage, allow yourself to grieve and reach out to your support system. You may also feel less isolated if you connect with other people who have experienced pregnancy loss.
@ihadamiscarriage on Instagram may be a good place to start to realize that you aren’t alone in this grief.