Friday, July 20, 2007

Miscarriage Blues

Women often go through severe trauma after miscarriage. Medical experts advise caution and steps to avoid this; and the ways to deal with miscarriage blues.

Sumana Rao (name changed) was 30 years old and a mother-to-be last year. Now she is depressed and scared of conceiving again. She went through a miscarriage and is still recovering, in mind and body. Miscarriage is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on its own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation. For women in child-bearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25 per cent and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20 per cent chance. "An increase in maternal age increases the chances of miscarriage," points out Dr Duru Shah, director of Gynaec World and consultant, Breach Candy Hospital.

The most commonly known cause of miscarriage in the first trimester are chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus. This may be nature’s way of eliminating an abnormal pregnancy. Other causes include maternal health problems such as diabetes, hormonal problems (polycystic ovaries, thyroid disorder), disorders of the immune system, infection, and congenital (present at birth) disorders. "Chromosomal abnormalities also become common with advanced age, and women over age 35 have a higher rate of miscarriage than younger women. Advancing maternal age is the significant risk factor for an early miscarriage in otherwise healthy women," according to Dr Shah.

Miscarriage can sometimes be an earth shattering experience for couples who are trying to conceive. While many go on to have healthy babies, it can take some time before they are ready "both physically and emotionally" to try again. "One vital step is to ensure a visit to the gynecologist before conception, to ensure a healthy atmosphere for conception to occur," advises Dr Shah. There is no evidence to show that conceiving makes any difference to the risk of miscarriage in the next pregnancy. In most cases, the couple is the best judge of when to try again. In case of a late miscarriage or repeated losses, the couple is investigated thoroughly before planning another pregnancy. The couple must feel recovered physically and emotionally before embarking on another pregnancy.

"Most women who undergo miscarriage go into environmental depression," says clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany. They suffer from a fear that they will not conceive again. They feel a sense of emptiness following which they are always looking forward to conceive again, even before they are ready for it.

Firstly, one must bear in mind that this is not an irrational behaviour. It is something that has happened to them and they will take time to get over it.

Talk therapy -- sit and talk to the person for hours.


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