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Managing pregnancy loss

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Losing your baby is a tragedy. Take your time to recover.

Losing your baby at any stage is a traumatic event which will have an intense emotional impact on you and your partner's life.

Early Pregnancy Loss

About 20% is an unforeseen event in early pregnancy, and in the majority of women, the cause is not known. A miscarriage often brings about disappointment, depression and shock. This effect is more significant for sub-fertile couples. Other possible cause includes genetic problem. In most pregnancies, the event is random and therefore, will not affect future pregnancies. It is only when miscarriages happen for two or more times (recurrent miscarriages), that we would be concerned about underlying medical problems in the parents. Under these circumstances, a more thorough assessment and investigation of the couple is warranted.

Late Pregnancy Loss/ Stillbirth

Stillbirth is an unforeseen event and born after 24 weeks of pregnancy this occurs only in 1:1000 pregnancies, but when it happens, it is devastating. In many cases the cause of death of the baby cannot be established and there is no way of reliably predicting its occurrence. Other known causes include placental problems, growth restriction of the baby, infections, development issue, umbilical cord accidents, maternal diseases (such as diabetes, high blood pressure), post maturity (> 42 weeks of pregnancy) and blood type incompatibility.

Is Induction of labour necessary?

Some women will find it very difficult to come to terms with the fact that they are still carrying a fetus that is no longer alive. Studies show that a woman is much more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms after delayed delivery of a stillborn. Most women will opt for an induction of labour to avoid this. The doctor may take into account the mental state, physical conditions and advise on when is the best time to induce a natural delivery. This avoids the risks of a C-section. On the other hand, it is generally safe to delay delivery and await spontaneous labour if the mother wishes.

However, there may be a theoretical concern that clotting problems may develop in the body when delivery is delayed for a long period of time (> 4 weeks). As such, periodic blood tests to screen for such clotting problems may be necessary if delivery is still delayed after a few weeks. Seek advice from your doctor.

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