It is natural to be worried about a subsequent pregnancy after miscarriage. You may feel that you don’t want to invest emotionally just in case things don’t work out again. You may still be grieving your loss, which can make it difficult to get excited about the subsequent pregnancy.
Allowing yourself to feel sad and recognising that the delay in forming an attachment is a normal part of the process of grieving and moving on.
Here we look at five strategies to help you navigate your way through the difficult time between discovering you are pregnant and feeling that your baby is safe.
- Take it one week at a time. Often reaching a milestone such as hearing the baby’s heart beat, or passing the point where the previous loss occurred can help, so focusing on these milestones as they approach can help you feel more empowered.
- Ensure you are informed and educated. Ask your doctor as many questions as you need to. Understanding the statistics around miscarriage and subsequent losses can be helpful in managing your stress. For example, research suggests that one miscarriage generally doesn’t increase your likelihood of a second miscarriage. Most women who miscarry will go on to have a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage.
- Request extra early blood tests and ultrasound scans if you think it will help ease your worries. In the first weeks after conception you can have your HCG measured by blood test every two to three days. If the HCG levels are doubling with each reading it is a good indication that the pregnancy is developing as it should be. Alternatively, a viable pregnancy can be seen as early as five weeks with modern scanning equipment. If you are willing to cover the cost of these scans, your GP or obstetrician can organise for some extra scans to help ease your anxiety.
- Engage in some relaxation techniques such as meditation or mindfulness. Walking can help regulate emotions, and gentle yoga can also help. Coming up with a mantra to help you through those very dark times can be very helpful. Rather than focusing on your fear of losing the baby, repeat something positive such as ‘I am growing a healthy baby, who will soon be part of our family’. This will help shift the focus from fear to optimism.
- Communicate with your partner, your close friends and your doctor. If your anxiety is overwhelming ensure you seek help. Share your fears with your partner, or a close friend. Often just verbalising it can help. If you feel that your fears are becoming difficult to handle talk to your doctor about seeking some counselling.
Each woman will reach a point where she feels more excitement than fear around her pregnancy, but it is different for each individual. Using the strategies outlined above should help you manage your feelings of worry until you reach this point.