- Women's Health
Miscarriage: Why did I lose my Baby? What Went Wrong
I wanted this baby, other women who didn’t care or didn’t want them have had babies, why not me?
Unfortunately, you are not alone many women suffer miscarriages. The trouble is that it’s like talking about death and sex together, they are “taboo” subjects. People are afraid to talk about them in case they cause distress.
In a lot of cases miscarriage is not even suspected, women think that their period is just late and heavy.
Why was nothing done?
It is considered that as many as 1 in 5 of all pregnancies are grossly abnormal and are miscarried at about the time of the first period. It is only in very rare cases that intervention would actually lead to the birth of a healthy baby.
Investigations are not normally started until after the third miscarriage. This shows that the doctors are confident that this miscarriage is a one-off and not caused by any underlying infertility problems.
In the past women who had previously miscarried were given synthetic hormone injections, but there has been evidence that this is ineffective and can cause problems for the baby later in life especially for female babies. However, new research has indicated that natural hormone supplements do not cause this problem
What went Wrong?
The development of a single cell into a baby is very complex, and many things can go wrong, most of which are not understood.
Soon after conception the cells start to differentiate into four groups, 1) the amnionic sac, 2) the yolk (which the baby uses to make his blood), 3) the placenta, and 4) the embryo. It is thought that up to 1 in 6 miscarriages are caused by the embryo failing to develop at all. This is termed a blighted ovum, and is believed to be caused by the ovum being fertilised by an abnormal sperm.
In development, the formation of one organ is often dependent upon another organ being in place and certain conditions prevailing. If you take the example of creating a heart, the embryo needs to “know” where its left & right , its top & bottom and its inside & out are.
The order of development is determined by control genes. These genes need to be ‘turned on and off’ at specific points during development, which is usually done through the use of hormones. If one gene is not switched on then the organ that is to be formed is not created, this may create a domino effect. If the pregnancy was sustained the baby would be born malformed and be incapable of living a separate life.
As part of evolution, nature takes its course and the pregnancy is terminated before the mother invests too much time and energy on a pregnancy that is doomed to fail.
The Doctors had no feelings
Miscarriage is a sad fact of life, but as it is not talked about, the numbers of miscarriages are not realised by most people. A doctor has probably seen many such cases, each one as upsetting as the previous. His clinical approach reflects this, together with the knowledge that the next pregnancy will probably work out fine.
Why do I feel so Bad?
You have lost a baby, and just like a close friend or relative dying, you need to grieve. The death of an elderly person is expected and easily accepted, but the shock of an unexpected death of a baby is compounded by expectations of the baby’s future development and achievements. Guilt and anger are normal processes of grieving and should be vented, it’s good to talk.
This grief, combined with a drop in the “happy hormone”, progesterone, produces a very deep sense of loss. To help ease the grief there are miscarriage support groups full of people who have experienced miscarriage. However, you will probably never forget your lost baby, but the sense of loss will subside over time, especially after hormones have levelled out.
The first miscarriage is often the worst, especially if you have not already had a baby. Once pregnant you believe that your body will continue with it as it ought. The shock of something going wrong, and the thought that your body is incapable of doing something that is natural, is quite considerable. I believe this is underestimated by the clinicians. This is most likely due to the fact that your body is not likely to be at fault, just the mechanics of the development of this particular embryo.
Did I do anything wrong?
This is most unlikely, especially if you consider the number of babies born during drought and famine; also the number of unwanted pregnancies that continue despite all attempts to terminate them.
Although extra rest in early pregnancy is advised, it is not always necessary. A number of women who do not realise that they are pregnant carry on as normal, lifting and carrying, eating foods that are not recommended, and yet still give birth to healthy babies.
PS: Quitting Smoking
Since originally writing the contents of this hub, there has been other studies on the effects of quitting smoking while pregnant.
Although it is recognised that it is best not to smoke while pregnant, a link between suddenly stopping smoking and early miscarriage has been found. My view is that early pregnancy puts pressure and strain on the body, and when compressed with the stress and strain of suddenly stopping smoking is just too much for the body to cope with and gets rid of one of the pressures.
If I was a smoker who became pregnant, I would cut my smoking by half in the first few months and then look to reduce it further, with a view to stopping, gradually. e.g. reduce intake by one cigarette every couple of days.
These studies were borne out by my friend. When she fell pregnant with her first child, she was working and didn't change too many things until well into her pregnancy. She had her baby and then she kept getting pregnant, gave up smoking, had a miscarriage which then made her go back to smoking. On her last pregnancy, she took the view that she was going to lose the baby anyway, so why give up now? Once she got past the 16 week mark, she quit over the next couple of weeks and now has her second child. During the time she was trying for a second child, they went through various tests and examinations and nothing out of the ordinary was found.