Coping with Miscarriages and Stillbirths

A miscarriage or stillbirth is a traumatic event. How can we cope and how can we help others who have experienced a pregnancy loss? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility and adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Lori Leo, author of “After Miscarriage, A Journey to Healing”; Reva Judas, founder of NechamaComfort, a nonprofit providing crisis intervention, guidance, and support in cases of infancy and pregnancy loss; and Ellen Krischer, Director of Programming at NechamaComfort.

Hit the Highlights

Terminology: stillbirth, miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, fetal demise, pregnancy loss. Both stillbirth and miscarriage are types of pregnancy loss or fetal demise, but they differ by when the loss occurs. A miscarriage (sometimes called a spontaneous abortion) is when a baby dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Stillbirth is the death of a baby after the 20th week of pregnancy but before delivery.

  • How common are miscarriages? About 15-25% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.
  • How common are stillbirths? Stillbirth happens in about 1% of pregnancies.
  • Creating a Family has extensive resources on what causes pregnancy loss and the latest treatment.
  • The special impact of miscarriage on those in fertility treatment. Have been trying longer. No assurance that they can get pregnant again. Have spent a LOT of money to get to this point.
  • Our society’s discomfort with acknowledging the loss of miscarriage. I think that it is less the case with a stillbirth.
  • How to comfort someone who has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth? Practical tips.
  • Advantages or disadvantages of providing a ceremony surrounding the loss or a funeral. How to memorialize this loss.
  • How to seek closure without a ceremony?
  • Difference between when in the pregnancy you lost the baby.
  • How long does grief process take? When should you be concerned? When should you seek help?
  • Acknowledging the grief of extended family members.
  • Pregnancy after miscarriage. How to know when you are ready to try to get pregnant again?

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Image credit: x1klima