Miscarriages: every third pregnancy ends in miscarriage

B just don’t say anything. Wait, fear and hope. Many couples keep it to themselves when they find out that they might become parents. Maybe, this restriction is important in the first months of pregnancy. "It’s estimated that thirty, maybe even up to forty percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first twelve weeks," says Christian Albring, chairman of the Professional Association of Gynecologists.

Abortion is the medical term for the loss of an embryo or fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy. Only after the twelfth week one speaks of a miscarriage.

There are many possible reasons for an early end to pregnancy: The most common are genetic disorders, faulty cell divisions that do not allow the embryo to develop further. "A luteal weakness, infections or immune reactions, i.e. rejection reactions of the maternal tissue against the tissue of the placenta, can also be causes," explains Albring.

Only in very rare cases is the woman seriously ill. "It’s simply the case that nature looks closely in the first few weeks to see which embryo can develop into a healthy child and which cannot," says Alexandra Gottmann, a gynecologist and psychotherapist at the Pro-Familia counseling center in Troisdorf.

Emotional attachment much earlier

In the past, women often wouldn’t have noticed at all. Today, women know very early that they are pregnant. "You can see a heartbeat on the ultrasound machine as early as the sixth week," says the doctor. Then many pregnant women already build up a bond with the child. In addition, pregnancies today are often planned for a long time: "Expectations are correspondingly high that everything will work out."

But that is not the case, purely statistically, in up to four out of ten pregnancies. "Women know about the danger," says Bettina Strehlau, a certified psychologist and midwife from Berlin. "But it’s quite different when it affects you yourself."

The time of the miscarriage then hardly plays a role in the personal consternation: "If women and their partners are looking forward to being parents, and have perhaps also tried for a long time to become pregnant, then a miscarriage is always associated with great sadness and pain."

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Some couples are then glad not to have told anyone about the pregnancy. For others, however, it is important to talk about their loss, Strehlau says. She recommends that women look for allies: "There are certainly women in your immediate environment who have already had such an experience."You can ask them, for example, what has helped them and done them good.

After the miscarriage, the hormones plummet. That can add to the grief, Albring says. It is important to take it easy and rest for a few days. Maybe the partner can take time off, too. "After all, he too has experienced a loss that he has to come to terms with," says Strehlau.

"Talking together about feelings, fears and worries is very important for the couple relationship." She recommends writing a letter to the child as a way of coping with grief. You can write down everything you would like to say to the child and keep it together with the ultrasound pictures as a reminder. Some people find it helpful to say goodbye symbolically.

Women are not to blame

Many women are also very worried after a miscarriage: "Can I have a child at all?? Albring reassures, "One or two spontaneous abortions are something quite normal in a woman’s life, and the probability of getting pregnant again afterwards is very high."

Nevertheless, affected women are often plagued by self-doubt: "Did I not behave properly?? Counseling can take the internal pressure off: "It’s important for women to know that they are not to blame, but that nature makes its own decisions," says Alexandra Gottmann.

Even one glass can harm the child

During pregnancy, women should completely abstain from alcohol. Because even a single glass can damage the brain of the unborn child and have terrible consequences.

It takes time for the emotional wounds to heal, says Strehlau: "Experience shows that it takes several months for women to reach the point where the grief no longer hurts so much." Those who cannot overcome the grief or develop great fears of a new pregnancy should seek psychological help. Sometimes couples therapy is good, too, Strehlau says. "Especially if couples deal with grief in very different ways and can’t talk about it."

After an abortion, women should wait at least two months before trying to get pregnant again, advises Albring. "The uterus needs time to fully recover from the previous pregnancy."

If stress, conflicts or an illness were the possible cause, it makes sense to wait with a new pregnancy until the stressful factors are resolved. Women who have already had three or more miscarriages should have the causes medically clarified.

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