Why are we expected to keep the first trimester a secret? How did this come to be? Will the stigma end? 12 weeks, 3 full months, and entire one third of the pregnancy are still commonly shrouded as the secret trimester. Is that because, according to the medical community, we are not yet experiencing a legitimate pregnancy?! That somehow, if we do experience such a dreadful loss at this time, it is less meaningful than a later term miscarriage?
Of course the first 12 weeks are legitimate! We are carrying and growing a tiny human being. Just because it isn’t visible does not mean that it is not viable. For many women the news of a pregnancy comes long before the onset of this ridiculous 12 week rule. And for what reason should anyone be expected to hide their joy, anxieties, fears, discoveries, milestones…or even their morning sickness?
Every woman has the right to openly experience her pregnancy, in each moment, fully embracing all that these iconic days mean. Rejoicing when she passes the hurdle and grieving when she doesn’t. She should not feel isolated and alone, separated from so many others who have been there, too. This is a time to bond with society, with our own common human race. We know what the 12 week signifies; does that mean we need to cover it up before then.
15 The Misconception
The widely held stigma from doctors is that first trimester miscarriages are no big deal, commonplace events that many women experience at least once in their childbearing years. Our society often suggests that women should shrug it off and move on, forget about it and ‘try again’ soon. What kind of advice is this for someone who is shattered and broken and empty? This is someone who has just lost a child, a soul, a person that she has already dreamed about, hoped for, and loved. It is not the same thing as being denied a promotion or being out-bid on your first house. This is not an inanimate loss. This is pregnancy, a baby, a part of who we are…forever. Women should be encouraged to grieve, be given the time to mourn, and offered the support appropriate for the catastrophic even that it is.
14 Professional Barriers
Women often feel that it is unprofessional to speak up about early pregnancy. Some fear that knowledge of the pregnancy will make them look weaker, less fit for their job, or even less goal oriented in their field. Sometimes they worry that their bosses and coworkers will suddenly see them in a new light, as less able than others to fulfill their job titles or to rise the corporate ladder. For this reason, women commonly struggle through the first trimester in secrecy, avoiding the news until it is already obvious. But, those of us who have been there know that reality couldn’t be farther than the truth.
Through our pregnancies we often become stronger, more capable, more driven than ever before. So, why is it again, that this stigma hasn’t ended? Bosses should know by now, that decades of women who have successfully hidden their morning sickness, is proof of just how determined we are!
13 Cultural Transgressions
This 12 week rule is far reaching, crossing all aspects of our lives from our doctors, to our bosses, to our own family and friends. But, in our closest inner circles, revealing the big news isn’t quite as taboo. Right after the father, we have a small list of people who must be clued in. Many of us are quick to call our Mom, sister, or best friend the second we get that blissful double blue line. But, things get a bit iffy when tragedy strikes and suddenly a miscarriage can mean sudden isolation.
Most people just don’t know what to say or do or how to help, so they just stay away. And many women are left once again, empty handed, with few people they can turn to in their great time of grief. It seems so unnecessary when so many others have been there, too. Why aren’t we better at supporting each other when one of us gets bad news?
Sometimes we hear that keeping early pregnancy news to ourself is more about luck than medicine at all. As if somehow we can jinx ourselves and the health of our baby, by speaking up too soon. “Hush”, people will tell you, it’s bad luck to talk about the baby. Or don’t buy clothes before it’s ‘confirmed’. But, it probably isn’t coincidence that this bashfulness is closely linked with the 12 week rule. Usually after the first trimester has passed, no one is telling you to hide the big news. But, these superstitions are somewhat understandable, as the cause of miscarriage is relatively unknown.
Generations before us, have tried to find ways to prevent a loss, or even more to prevent a connection before we know if our baby will beat the odds. But, Mommy-dom doesn’t work that way, and no matter what others say, you’ll still think about, talk about, and probably even shop for your precious baby from that first moment on. You can’t help it. 12 weeks means nothing, and a positive test is a positive test no matter how far along you are.
11 So, What Are The Odds?
Since everyone is so worried about miscarriage in the first trimester, maybe we should know, just exactly what it is that we should be so concerned for? From the March of Dimes, these are the numbers: as many as 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. If the numbers seem high, that is because these also account for the very early miscarriages that women are not even aware of.
A quarter of all miscarriages happen before a period is even missed, and often the woman never knows. But, 15-25% of known pregnancies will also end in miscarriage, and 80% of those will happen in the first trimester. Those are some pretty big numbers, meaning that after a positive pregnancy test, as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most but not all pregnancy losses; do in indeed happen before the 12 week “safety” period has ended.
10 Early Confirmation
There a few things that happen in this 12 week period that can give you hope for a successful first trimester, and remaining pregnancy, too. The first is obviously the pregnancy test. A blood test can come back positive 3-4 after implantation. A urine test can come back positive as early as 4-5 days after implantation, but in most women urine tests won’t come back positive until 2-3 weeks later. The first prenatal appointment is usually between 6-8 weeks pregnant, when your doctor will try to confirm a heart beat by sound. Sometimes it can’t be heard, but can be also be found visually by ultrasound. This ultrasound usually takes place at 12 weeks. This is when, visual and auditory confirmation let you know that your baby is alive and okay. It is very likely that is where the stigma comes in, when this ultrasound gives validation that the pregnancy has survived the first trimester.
9 More About The 12 Week Scan
At this appointment, you will get to see your baby on the screen for the first time, and you will probably get your first photo, too. Your doctor will spend some time looking at your baby and taking measurements. He or she will be looking for obvious signs of life as well as for evidence of normal development and multiple babies. The placenta, your uterus and fallopian tubes will also be examined to check for any possible issues. If everything looks okay, your doctor will send you on your way with pamphlets about pregnancy and the first memories of your little one. Many women treat this appointment as a social milestone, a time when they tell all their friends and family that they are expecting, and usually their boss, too. Even though pregnant woman have likely being feeling pregnant for weeks, the success of the scan makes it more real, that parenthood is right around the corner.
8 Receiving Other News
Not all 12 weeks scans turn out perfectly, and sometimes they sadly do not go as planned at all. But, for some reason, none of us hear much about what might go wrong or what happens when it does. For the most part, we don´t know unless it happens to us. Sometimes the 12 week ultrasound reveals an ectopic pregnancy, no heartbeat, and abnormalities or deformities. Ectopic pregnancies require termination. If the baby is alive but with serious problems; you will be asked to consider if you want to continue with the pregnancy. A no heart beat reveal, usually in combination with an underdeveloped fetus, indicates that the baby is no longer alive. If the baby is not alive, this is referred to as a missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage. For some reason the body has not recognized the death of the fetus. You will then have to make a decision to wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally, or to receive medical intervention to promote the process. Silent miscarriages happen in about 1 % of pregnancies.
7 Miscarriage Before The Scan
If there is going to be a first trimester miscarriage, odds are that it will happen before the 12 week ultrasound. Doctors say that the vast majority of these miscarriages are random, isolated events with no definitive cause. It is so common that many health workers refer to it as a natural part of the reproductive process, and that it does not indicate future miscarriages or pregnancy complications. Regardless of how early it is, most women still want to know why or what caused the miscarriage, especially so when it occurred before the ultrasound could show evidence of a problem. Experts say that around 60% of these early miscarriages occur when there is a chromosomal abnormality. This means that for some reason, when the sperm and egg combined, they didn’t match up correctly and resulted in an abnormality that caused the miscarriage. Other miscarriages occur because of: problems with the cervix or the uterus, immune disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, bacterial infections, or lifestyle issues like cigarette use, alcohol, drugs, or environmental toxins.
6 Stuff That Doesn’t Cause Miscarriage
There are many myths out there about things that might cause miscarriage. Most of the common beliefs are untrue. One important aspect to take note of: it is almost never the mother’s fault unless a true lifestyle issue came into play. Usually there is nothing to can do to prevent it, or to alter the likelihood of it happening. Just to clear it up: exercising during pregnancy does not lead to miscarriage, neither does lifting heavy objects, having sex, or falling. Even car accidents usually do not cause miscarriage. Occasionally one of these factors might influence a pregnancy loss, but typically in combination with other factors that already put the pregnancy at risk. Even exposure to bad deli meat and litter boxes probably would not cause a miscarriage, and only in rare cases might cause a pregnancy complication. However, a pregnancy loss could result from a serious infection or illness in the mother, including toxoplasmosis or listeriosis. Still, the chances of that are relatively unlikely.
5 Signs Of A Miscarriage
Some women do not experience any symptoms of miscarriage at all. Others experience spotting, but that can be a tricky one. For some women spotting is common in a healthy pregnancy and for others it is not. Experts say that spotting should never be considered normal though, and you should always call your doctor if you experience any. Other signs might be cramping or back ache. These can be caused by contractions as the body tried to expel the contents of the lost pregnancy. Also changes in the vaginal mucus could be a bad sign. White to pink discharge or the passing of clots or tissue are reported. Sometimes this happens after the cramping and back aches. Some women might not feel pain or discomfort, but instead an abrupt dismissal of their pregnancy symptoms. If you have been experiencing nausea, fatigue, vomiting or other signs of morning sickness- that suddenly stop; there could be reason for concern.
4 Can I Stop The Miscarriage?
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to stop the progress once it has begun. For some reason, your body has determined that the fetus is not fit for continued life. As awful as it is, it is better to acknowledge nature’s course and to work towards recovery. The process may not be easy, but it may be helpful to know that once the symptoms of miscarriage begin, the fetus has usually already been deceased for a week or more. It is unlikely that you are experiencing the actual moments of death, but instead that your body is preparing to discard the remains. Usually the body can complete the miscarriage on its own without complication, but you’ll still need medical consultation. It is critical that you see your doctor immediately upon the onset of miscarriage symptoms. Failure to do so could result in hemorrhaging or severe infection.
3 How Long Does A Miscarriage Take?
Once it is revealed that a miscarriage is in progress, many women wonder how long it will last. Experts say that it varies greatly from pregnancy to pregnancy, but that the process can last anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks. The average woman experiences the symptoms of the miscarriage for two weeks, unless medical intervention is used to aid in the progress. Early on, if the embryo is absorbed into the body, the woman may not experience any bleeding at all. For others, the bleeding and cramping can be intense and similar to or worse than the symptoms of labor. Sometimes a D & C is used to help open the cervix and forcefully remove the tissue. After such a procedure, most women continue to bleed for around a week, similar to a heavy period. The next regular period with resume about 4-6 weeks later and will likely be heavier than usual.
2 Can I Get Pregnant Again?
Probably. Most women, in fact 85% of those who experience a known miscarriage, go on to get pregnant again. The fact that you got pregnant once, gives you great odds that you will be able to conceive again in the future. It is natural for some women to want to get pregnant again right away, but it is important to wait until you are both physically and emotionally ready. Allow yourself the time for experience heartache and recovery. Medically, it is possible to get pregnant in the first cycle after your miscarriage and but it is considered safe to do so after at least 2 or 3 regular menstrual cycles. Some physicians recommend waiting much longer, 6 months to a year, for full emotional recovery. But, others say that such a delay is not necessary. It is largely a personal choice for a couple to decide when they are ready to try again.
1 Will I Have Another Miscarriage?
The answer is complicated and depends on a few variables, but there is no reason to assume that because you have had one miscarriage you will have another. Most women, who experience a miscarriage, go on to have a healthy subsequent pregnancy. Usually a pregnancy loss is a onetime occurrence, but the risk of a second one is about 14%. The odds continue to increase as the miscarriages do. After two miscarriages, the odds of a third are about 26%. If a woman has two or more consecutive miscarriages, doctors might recommend testing before attempting again. Is it possible that there are underlying reasons why it is not possible for a certain woman or for a certain couple, to carry a pregnancy to term. Sometimes blood tests, chromosomal tests, or uterine procedures may reveal previously unknown reasons. Other times, the results don’t reveal anything at all and there is still reason to hope for a successful pregnancy in the future.