It’s hard to think of anything worse than suffering from a pregnancy loss. Whether it’s a miscarriage or late fetal loss or some other form of pregnancy loss, it can be truly heart-breaking to have to go through – a harrowing experience. One minute you’re preparing to welcome a baby – a little version of you, your own flesh and blood – into the family, the next you’re mourning the fact that it won’t happen, that you won’t be cradling your own baby in your arms any time soon.
Different women handle pregnancy loss in different ways. Some bury their heads in the sand, try to ignore everything as best as possible and plough on with their daily lives. This can be dangerous because these are the women who are likely to implode at some point with a raging torrent of emotion, which is likely to affect those closest to them the most. Others grieve, grieve and grieve – totally understandable of course.
It’s the mental effect of pregnancy loss that hits every woman like a ton of bricks - some choose to do their best to turn a blind eye to it whereas others let it all out. What’s going on between the ears – that’s always a major concern, and it sometimes takes years to expel those mental demons and get back to a somewhat normal life. Anxiety, depression and other long-lasting mental health problems could have a debilitating effect during the period after pregnancy loss, but what does the experience feel like physically? What toll does it take on the body?
14 Feeling A Punch In The Stomach
Ever been punched in the stomach? Well for those of you who have you’ll know that it’s not a pleasant feeling. Now, I’m not comparing pregnancy loss to a punch in the stomach – there’s of course no comparison there. But some of the physical symptoms experienced during and after pregnancy loss will be stomach pain. The body’s begun to change in order to accommodate the growing fetus. Certain things start to swell, the womb grows and the uterus extends out, causing the stomach to get bigger.
During pregnancy stomach pain is expected; many women experience sharp, stabbing bursts of pain around the stomach or pelvic region. But it can also be a sign of pregnancy loss and be one of the physical symptoms immediately after pregnancy loss.
I use the term “like a punch in the stomach” because it can also feel like a punishment. Many women feel that they’re being punished for something and are now being made to suffer in the worst possible way.
13 Feeling Like You’ve Walked Through The Sahara
Now this can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. After walking through the Sahara desert you’re of course going to be exhausted beyond belief, but we’ll get into that in another section. But, unless you’re trudging through the desert with a gallon of water strapped to your back, you’re also going to be very thirsty – suffer from extreme dehydration.
When you suffer from pregnancy loss, it’s likely that your body’s going to suffer from dehydration, which can in turn have a negative effect on everything else, all your other symptoms and make things feel ten times worse. Depending on the nature of the pregnancy loss, you may lose a lot of fluid, but of course, you’re also going to shed more than a tear or two when you find out the news. Drinking water and building up your body again is likely to be the last thing on your mind, so dehydration could set in which could cause stomach pain and cramps in addition to many other issues.
12 Feeling Nauseous
Pregnancy loss can make you feel physically sick. Firstly, the emotional trauma of it all could cause you to heave up the insides of your stomach or just make you feel really nauseous thinking about it all. But the effects of the pregnancy loss on your body could also have a part to play in making you feel nauseous.
A lot of women feel nauseous during pregnancy – morning sickness and all that. Nausea can also happen at the time of the pregnancy loss, perhaps due to changes in hormone levels and generally the changes that are occurring in the body. The emotional upheaval of it all could exacerbate the feeling, but a lot of women also experience nausea after the pregnancy loss. That’s because the body will take time to adapt to its pre-pregnancy state and hormones will be going wild trying to adapt to changes.
Feeling or being sick after pregnancy loss isn’t a major issue, but if you’re experiencing excessive vomiting for a prolonged period of time, get checked out.
11 Feeling Anxiety And Depression
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t mourn a pregnancy loss in some kind of way. It’s the anticipation of it all – you’re gearing up to give birth, carry, raise and love your baby, but then in an instant, those hopes are dashed. This would break down even the strongest woman and cause her to crumble.
Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health disorder that women who have suffered from a pregnancy loss experience. Unless treated, it can last for weeks and months, possibly even years and debilitate that person’s life from then on.
Get the psychological side of things sorted and it’s likely the physical effects of pregnancy loss will also begin to get better. The body will begin to heal anyway, but expelling those mental demons will certainly speed things along. That’s because the emotional trauma and any subsequent mental health disorder could manifest as a physical symptom; clear up one and you’ll be well on your way to sorting out the other.
10 Feeling Physically Drained
When you’re told the news and it’s been confirmed that you’ve lost your baby, you’ll just want to lie down, be on your own and crawl into a hole. That’s of course, because of the emotional trauma of what you’ve just gone through, but it’s also because you’ll feel like you’ve just been hit by a ton of bricks; you just want to collapse and feel that at that moment all the life’s just been drained from your body.
It’s common to feel physically drained after pregnancy loss. The negative emotions swirling around in your head, hormone levels that are going wild, your body that still feels like it’s pregnant - all of this combined can make you feel really tired, like you just want to lie in bed and never get out.
Tiredness is expected during pregnancy but it could also be a factor after pregnancy loss – immediately and possibly for weeks after the experience; it’s possible you could feel absolutely flattened due to extreme fatigue.
9 Feeling Awful Headaches
Headaches and migraines could also occur as a result of pregnancy – really seriously debilitating migraines in some cases.
If you’re prone to suffering from headaches and migraines, it’s believed that pregnancy may actually improve your suffering and frequency of the migraines. It’s due to the changes in hormone levels – specifically estrogen – that’s thought to lessen the frequency and severity of the migraines.
In some instance, women who don’t experience migraines do so during pregnancy, or think they do; pre-eclampsia and migraines have similar symptoms, so it’s important to get checked out.
Although the subject hasn’t been studies extensively, researchers are also looking into whether having a migraine could be a symptom of pregnancy loss.
After pregnancy loss, many women begin suffering from either headaches or migraines, again due to the emotional trauma, possible dehydration, changing hormone levels – a combination of any number of factors.
Whenever you suffer from headaches or migraines, don’t suffer in silence, get help.
8 Feeling Serious Constipation
It sounds like a pretty weird thing, a weird correlation, but you could actually suffer from constipation at the time of or after pregnancy loss.
Many women have reported being constipated – it’s kind of embarrassing for many women so many have also probably kept quiet and suffered in silence.
During pregnancy, constipation is actually a pretty common issue. Approximately 40% of pregnant women experience constipation at some point or other during pregnancy and that’s mainly due to the hormone progesterone – otherwise known as the pregnancy hormone – and iron pills. Progesterone slows the transit of food along the digestive tract, and iron can also contribute to the stool remaining in the colon to too long.
Again, it’s important to reiterate that there hasn’t been any solid research to say that there’s a correlation between pregnancy loss and constipation. It’s just what many women experience, before, leading up to the pregnancy loss and afterwards.
7 Feeling Discomforting Diarrhea
You may get constipated but alternatively you may experience diarrhea around the time of your pregnancy loss. It’s actually more likely that you’ll experience diarrhea rather than constipation. It’s one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy loss, along with vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping and unusual discharge. It’s believed that diarrhea occurs during this period because the body no longer needs the nutrients and other substances which was meant for the growing fetus; it has an excess of these substances which therefore need to be expelled.
In rare instances, diarrhea may also be a cause of or contribute to pregnancy loss. If you get diarrhea due to any reason whilst you’re pregnant, you don’t get under control and rectify the issue, problems may start to occur which could have dire consequences for the fetus. Severe dehydration could set in and your growing fetus could be starved from getting an adequate supply of essential nutrients.
6 Getting Sleepless Nights
It can be difficult to get enough sleep whilst pregnant. The body’s going through a whole host of changes which will make it just feel weird and different, so it can be tough settling down for a good night’s sleep. Pressure on the bladder, nausea, pain, and just general restlessness are some of the reasons that keep pregnant women up at night. The good thing is that lack of sleep won’t cause the fetus harm; it’s more likely to affect you, impair your judgment which in turn could have dire consequences for the fetus, but apart from that there’s not really a whole lot to worry about.
But during the experience of a pregnancy loss, plenty of women become insomniacs. The emotional upheaval of the whole thing means getting forty winks is going to be tough, but it’s also due to the changes going on in the body – mainly the hormonal changes – that can make it really difficult to get in some shut eye.
5 Generally Being Really Uncomfortable
This one’s understandable. In fact, you’ll be more than uncomfortable when you’ve suffered a pregnancy loss, due to a combination of your emotions and body going through changes. Things like breast tenderness – which you’ll still experience – stomach pain and just feeling in an awful mood; all of this will make you feel really uncomfortable.
The reactions of others to the pregnancy loss could add to your feelings. Every time someone brings it up, the emotions come flooding back again, and that negative mindset could have an impact on the body.
The body will eventually begin to heal and return to normal – to its pre-pregnancy state – but the mind will always bear the scars. At any point you could go backwards emotionally which could lead to you feeling sick, uncomfortable and just not feeling right. Some women find it hard to shift that feeling and carry it around for years and years, but with others, the body begins to heal and the mind does too – as much as it can do anyway after going through such a horrific experience.
4 Feeling Like You've Suffered A Major Trauma
Well, your body has just gone through trauma, the trauma of losing the fetus, and the likelihood is that it will definitely be apparent – your body will look like it’s been through a major trauma.
I’m not talking about tons of gushing blood, cuts and bruises. But your face will resemble the face of someone who’s just gone through such an event. In terms of the body, there’s usually some sort of bleeding and perhaps some sort of discharge. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy loss, there may be more.
What I’m trying to put out there is that it will feel like what it is – a truly disastrous trauma that’ll have an impact on the body and possibly have a long-lasting effect on the mind.
Like the immediate aftermath of any major trauma, your body’s going to take time to adjust, and in the end it’s the mind that’s key on the path to trying to heal.
3 Feeling Pressed Out Of Shape
When you suffer a pregnancy loss, the strange thing is is that you’ll still feel and look pregnant. It’s a cruel trick the body plays on you; you’re already under mental strain and want to try and get back to normal as quickly as possible, but you look in the mirror and you look like you looked in your pregnancy days.
You’ll look pregnant; breasts engorged with milk, tenderness, a bit of pressure on the bladder, stretch marks, inflated stomach, look out of shape – all of this will eventually taper off and get back to normal, but it will take time which can be a real nightmare if you’ve just suffered from a pregnancy loss.
Certain organs on the inside may be out of shape too, as the body’s still in baby-carrying mode. But if you feel something’s not quite right, or you’ve suffered from a pregnancy loss multiple times, it might be this that’s the cause, so get yourself checked out, preferably as soon after the pregnancy loss as possible.
2 Feeling Like A Hormonal Cesspit
After a pregnancy loss, whether it’s a miscarriage, late miscarriage or a pregnancy loss at a later stage of the pregnancy, the body will take a great deal of time to adjust to not having to carry a baby. Like I’ve just mentioned, the body will look like it did when pregnancy, certain bodily functions might take time getting back to normal, and the body will feel like it’s still pregnant. A lot of this can be attributed to those weird and wonderful chemical messengers we have being excreted from glands and cells throughout the body – hormones.
After pregnancy loss, your hormones will still be all out of whack and it will take some time for them to adjust to their usual pre-pregnancy levels. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) rise during pregnancy, and after pregnancy loss they’ll gradually begin to taper off. It means that immediately after the pregnancy loss, your body will still feel like it’s in full pregnancy mode, but by four to six weeks later, hormone levels should have returned to normal.
1 Feeling Like The Body Just Wants To Give Up
The emotional trauma combined with a ton of other factors could make your body feel like it just wants to give up, like you just want to slump in bed, pull the covers up over your head and never come out again.
Of course, it’s understandable. Not many things are more traumatic or on par with going through a pregnancy loss. It can make you want to crawl in a hole and not come out. However, if this is still going on weeks and months after the pregnancy loss, it could be a sign of depression, so it’s important to get yourself seen to.
The body wanting to give up could also be in reference to trying for another baby. If you’ve suffered multiple pregnancy losses in the past, it could be the final straw, the last time you try. Even if it’s your first pregnancy, because it hasn’t worked out, it could make you not want to try again, so you don’t have to go through the emotional trauma of a possible pregnancy loss again.