While miscarriages can be difficult to talk about, it’s important to know they’re common and it’s possible to get pregnant after having one. The dialogue surrounding miscarriages has entered the spotlight in recent years. More people are speaking about their experiences and sharing how their lives have been transformed. That’s why we’re committed to using our platform to share these stories and to shed light on subjects that are often swept under the rug.
Last October, model Chrissy Teigen wrote about the loss of her son after less than 28 weeks of pregnancy. Although losing a child after 20 weeks is considered a stillbirth, Teigen’s candour and honesty about the situation sparked a larger conversation about such losses in general, and how miscarriages are spoken about and dealt with in our society.
In an essay for Elle Magazine, reproductive rights lawyer Amanda Allen said she was shocked by her own miscarriage.
“And I feel angry about everything I didn’t know about pregnancy loss, even after more than a decade working in the reproductive health field,” she wrote. “I want people to know that miscarriage fucking hurts, both physically and emotionally. It can take a long time.”
Although each person will go through a different experience, here are the basics when it comes to miscarriages.
The term refers to the loss of a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy, but they usually occur in the first 13 weeks. This is called early pregnancy loss. Miscarriages after 13 weeks are less common, but can still happen. Between 13 and 20 weeks, a miscarriage can be referred to as a late pregnancy loss. Early pregnancy loss happens in 20 to 25 percent of pregnancies.
“One in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage,” said clinical director of National Miscarriage Research Centre, Professor Arri Coomarasamy. “That really means everyone will know of someone who’s had a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage. It’s that common.”
The cause is unknown in most cases. They can occur when a fertilized egg does not develop properly in the uterus. “A miscarriage is not caused by stress, exercise, or sex,” according to HealthLinkBC.
Another kind of miscarriage—which can lead to a positive pregnancy test—is called a chemical pregnancy. It is a very early miscarriage, before the fifth week. There are hardly any symptoms other than a late period. In many cases, most people don’t realize they’re pregnant.
In a chemical pregnancy, implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall is unsuccessful. That’s why if you detect a positive test result (especially if you’re using an ultra-sensitive test before the date of your expected period) it’s recommended to take a second pregnancy test a few days later to confirm the results. (That’s why all Ovry boxes include several tests.)
“Actually, a chemical pregnancy is somewhat encouraging, because it shows that the woman’s partner’s sperm can fertilize her egg, and her uterus can call for embryo implantation,” says infertility specialist Dr. Mark P. Trolice. “Fortunately, the prognosis is good for an ultimately successful pregnancy and baby.”
Here are some resources and support groups that are useful if you’ve had a miscarriage and are seeking guidance or help.
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network: https://pailnetwork.sunnybrook.ca/
- Roger Neilson House: https://rogerneilsonhouse.ca/
- Bereaved Families of Ontario: https://bereavedfamilies.net/
- In Our Hearts: https://www.facebook.com/inourheartsloss/?ref=page_internal
- Empty Cradle: http://www.emptycradle.bc.ca/index.html
- Abbotsford Hospice: https://www.abbotsfordhospice.org/parents
Always consult a physician for medical advice. If you are having a medical emergency, dial 911.