Researchers Say Up to 25% of Miscarriages Preventable

miscarriage researchNew research by scientists in Denmark suggests that it’s possible that about a quarter of miscarriages could be prevented by lifestyle changes. 

The research team looked at data from approximately 90,000 pregnancies that occurred between 1996 and 2002 and were tracked by a national registry in Denmark. They focused on modifiable risk factors including exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, drinking coffee, work schedule, regular heavy lifting, prepregnancy weight, and maternal age, and concluded that by lowering these risk factors, more than 25 percent of miscarriages could be prevented.

The prepregnancy factors they found that were most associated with lowering miscarriage risk were weight and age. Women who had a healthy body mass index (BMI) and were between 25 and 29 years old at the time of conception had a more than 14 percent lower risk of miscarriage. According to the data, the overall highest risk factors associated with miscarriage were drinking alcohol during pregnancy and a maternal age of 30 or over.

Critics of the study point out that “risk is not the same as cause.” However they agree that miscarriages should be a topic for prevention. See more about the study at: http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/researchers-25-percent-miscarriages-preventable-192300319.html.

When Should We Try Again: Am I Ready?

Have you thought about trying again in the New Year? There are many different schools of thought on how soon you should try again. It is important to consider your physical and emotional readiness.

Physical Readiness

Most experts and doctors agree that a woman who has suffered a miscarriage should wait at least one normal menstrual cycle before attempting to become pregnant. There is some evidence to suggest that failing to wait for one normal cycle increases the risk of miscarriage in the next pregnancy. Some doctors will suggest waiting for two to three normal cycles to ensure that your body has fully recovered.

It is important that you consult with your doctor to determine the proper wait time for you and your body. Together you can decide when you are healthy and ready to try again.

If you will require any additional medical attention, such as genetic counseling, be sure to seek that out before trying again. Having all the information you need is vital in helping you to make the choices and decisions ahead.

Emotional Readiness

Emotional readiness is much more difficult to determine, and in many ways, even more critical than physical readiness.

If you find yourself hurriedly trying to become pregnant again, you may not be taking the time to properly address your grief. During a time when emotions are running high, this can be dangerous. Many women find themselves grieving (over a pregnancy loss) long after the birth of their babies.

If your focus becomes trying again, it could delay the grief and healing process and put that part of your life on hold. Also, if you fail to become pregnant right away, it can cause a feeling of failure and add to the emotions you are dealing with.

Even if you believe that you ‘feel fine,’ and you do not feel overwhelming effects from your loss, there is still grief. Many parents find that their pain intensifies in the months that follow their miscarriage. Most doctors agree that dealing with grief is important before trying again.

On the other hand, if you find the months stretching on and you are still afraid to try again, it may be time to face the music. You will not be able to move forward without feeling fear. Becoming pregnant again can help you to feel that you are ‘moving on’ and progressing toward your dream of starting or adding to your family.

The important thing is that you take the time you need to become emotionally ready. That does not mean that you will awake one day without any fears or reservations. It simply means that you have allowed yourself to grieve and begin healing from the loss you suffered. This will open the way to try again when you are emotionally and physically ready.

This information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Remembering Your Baby

Remembering Your Baby

Remembering Your Baby

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is a great time to remember and memorialize your baby. Here are some tips we share each year at this time, adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.

There are countless ways to remember and honor your baby. No matter how much time has passed since your miscarriage, it is never too late to memorialize your child.

You can find comfort and healing by incorporating your baby’s memory into your life. Here are some suggestions:

–       Create a memory box. Include any mementos you may have from your baby. A positive pregnancy test, a toy, stuffed animal or outfit you bought for the baby (if you do not have one, then buy one). Anything you may have that reminds you of your pregnancy or your baby can be included, even if you just have a few things.

–     Make a donation in your baby’s name. Publicly acknowledge your child by making a charitable donation, or give something to a needy child that is the same age your child would have been now. Also consider submitting an article or poem about your baby to a newspaper or magazine.

–       Make something for the baby such as a quilt, a painting, a cross stitch, an outfit, a piece of pottery or furniture.

–       Buy a piece of jewelry that symbolizes your baby. Your baby’s birthstone, or an engraved necklace with your baby’s name can be good choices.

–       Plant a tree or garden in memory of your baby. You may even choose a houseplant or  indoor tree. Decorate the tree at special times of the year to remember your baby.

–       Add your baby to the family tree. If you named your baby, add him or her permanently to the family by including the baby in your family tree.

–       Donate baby items that you may have bought or received to a worthy charity. You may also do this in your baby’s name.

–       Have a celebration each year on your baby’s birthday or due date.

–       Include your baby in the hospital’s Remembrance Book. Most hospitals have a remembrance book, and even if your baby did not die in a hospital, you can contact the Chaplin at your local hospital.

–       Light a candle for the baby every evening until you feel you do not need to anymore. After that, burn it once a month, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, or on special anniversaries.

Remembering your baby is a very personal thing.  There is no right or wrong way to honor your child. Taking the time to memorialize your baby will bring you closure and comfort as your move through your grief, and work toward recovery.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Pregnancy Loss Awareness Ribbon

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Unfortunately, the President had a personal experience with infant loss during his first marriage, when his newborn died just 7 hours after delivery.
Many states have further declared October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, but remembrance and events are seen throughout this important month.
What do this mean to you? Awareness Month is a simple way to open the door to conversations about your feelings and your baby. You may feel compelled to talk to your family, friends, your community or maybe your spouse or significant other about your child who died.
Wearing a pink and blue Pregnancy Loss Awareness Ribbon during October, or anytime, is a great way to increase awareness and honor your baby. You can buy a Pregnancy Loss Awareness Pin by visiting:
http://www.stockpins.com/pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-pin.html The pins are well-made, inexpensive and arrive in a few business days.
Pregnancy Loss Awareness Ribbons can be handmade with pink and blue ribbon or purchased. The pins should be worn on the left-hand side just above your heart- where your baby already lives.

Fish Oil During Pregnancy May Reduce the Risk of Miscarriage

Fish oil may reduce miscarriage risk.

Fish oil may reduce miscarriage risk.

A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Western Australia suggests that women who take fish oil during pregnancy may be less likely to have a miscarriage or suffer serious complications like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Fish oil, not only enhances the development of the brain of a developing fetus, it is known to reduce inflammation in the body. Researchers found that the fish oil also improved the functioning of the placenta.

Although the study was performed on pregnant rats, the researchers are hoping to confirm the findings in humans. See the full story at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10208321/Fish-oil-during-pregnancy-reduces-risk-of-miscarriage.html.

Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Are you spending this Mother’s Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U.S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss.

“For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one,” says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss.

Mother’s Day is the most difficult holiday a woman must face after pregnancy loss. A time that was supposed to be a celebration of a new life and a new motherhood becomes a time of sadness and grief. Church’s book, Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death, encourages women to use the holiday to remember their babies, rather than making it a dreaded event to endure each year. “Nothing will lesson the pain of Mother’s Day, but with some planning you can make sure the day has meaning for you,” says Church. Here are some tips from the book that can help:

– You Are a Mother.

The best gift you can give yourself on Mother’s Day is the acknowledgment that you are a mother. You may not have a baby to hold in your arms, but you do have one in your heart.

– Let Your Family Know What You Need.

If you feel uncomfortable being recognized as a mother at a banquet or other function, substitute an activity you would feel good about. If you would rather not receive or wear a flower, then wear an item that helps you to connect with your baby, such as a piece of jewelry that includes the baby’s birthstone.

– Remember Your Baby.

Mother’s Day can be a great time for a husband and wife to talk about their baby and what the baby meant to them. Take a walk, have a quiet dinner, or just set aside some time to remember your baby together.

– Decide Ahead of Time.

The way you chose to spend Mother’s Day should be your decision- and one you make ahead of time. Setting time aside to remember and talk about your baby will make you “feel” more like a mom on the very day designed to do that. Church also reminds women that their spouses may experience similar feelings on Father’s Day, “so be sure to ask how he would like to spend the day.”

We run this article each year to help grieving Moms handle Mother’s Day.

Why Me?

rain_clouds_2After a miscarriage, Mother’s Day is never the same. As we all prepare to honor and appreciate our moms, you may be struggling with intense feelings of grief and incredible loss. You may even be asking how God could let this happen.

After my miscarriage, I found that the church services I always enjoyed were leaving me numb. Something felt different, and it was hard for me to feel love or warmth or…God. I struggled with this for many weeks as I wandered through the early stages of my painful grief.

Facing a major loss often causes us to confront or even reconsider our basic beliefs about God, religion, death, and the afterlife. Some may turn to God for strength and comfort, while others find themselves questioning the faith they have known all of their lives.

Even those who have no religious upbringing or practices may feel angry with God, or abandoned. Everyone responds to loss differently, but it does have a way of forcing us to confront questions we may have been avoiding…about death…about God…about ourselves.

A traumatic loss can leave parents feeling like they have been shaken to the core. These are the times that cause us to examine what is inside. In the depths of grief you may feel yourself doubting God. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is common to ask ‘Why God?’ when tragedy strikes.

While some are left angry and questioning how God could allow this to happen, others find that their faith can actually be deepened during such a time.

A belief in God is not a guarantee against pain and suffering. Death is an unavoidable part of life; and faith can be there to help us get through our losses, but it cannot prevent them.

You may not understand or believe in God, or you may have conflicting feelings about the God you love, because you feel He has failed you. If you have unanswered questions, a pastor, rabbi, or priest can offer help. Seek the answers you need.

The above is adapted from an excerpt of the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Aspirin May Improve Baby Survival After Miscarriage

aspirin
Researchers at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine reported that some women who have suffered a miscarriage may increase their odds of having a full-term baby during their next pregnancy by taking aspirin.

The study included women who had suffered two previous miscarriages and had no infertility issues. Results showed that women who had a miscarriage early in the pregnancy (less than 20 weeks) and were within one year of the loss benefited from taking a low dose aspirin each day. The women took the aspirin while they tried to conceive and throughout most of the pregnancy- through 36 weeks.

Researchers believe that the aspirin may have helped because it increases blood flow. More study will be needed, but the results are promising. See details on the full study by clicking here:

http://www.obgynnews.com/news/top-news/single-article/aspirin-improves-chance-of-live-birth-after-recent-early-pregnancy-loss/7eac3c21f854231e44d0b89229a7156b.html

A New Dawn: Adjusting to Life Without Your Baby

The month of October can difficult for many who are dealing with the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.  Since my miscarriage happened during the month of October I am always reminded at this time of year. It was right before Halloween…and now that emotional event is marked each year by the coming of Fall and the activities that accompany Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. As each year passes, I try to focus less on grief and more on reflection remembering the child I never knew. 
 
When a baby dies during pregnancy, or shortly after, the hopes and dreams of the parents die with it. If the couple has no other children, the loss can be even more devastating because the ‘family’ has died as well.
 
Pregnancy loss causes a void, and this emptiness must be addressed in order for parents to adjust to a life without their baby. For the woman, the physical connection between mother and child is even greater. She must overcome the feeling that a part of her is gone.
 
You will never forget the child who died; you will find ways to remember your baby as an important part of your past. As a couple, or even a family, you will form a new view of your future.
 
Here are some suggestions to help you adjust:
 
  • Return to work. Going back to work can help you to feel that you are getting back to your routine. It is also helpful to be surrounded by familiar and caring co-workers.
  • Keep your routine as normal as possible. Maintaining structure will help you feel a sense of control.
  • Volunteer. Helping others actually helps to keep your mind off of yourself, and it can improve your perspective. This is both rewarding and healing.
  • Indulge yourself. Get a message, go shopping, or treat yourself to a facial or manicure. Anything you find relaxing or soothing will help.
  • Recognize your progress. Notice when you can get through a few hours or days without pain. Find something you are thankful for, laugh, look forward to something.  Recognize when you can talk about your loss more easily or feel less preoccupied with yourself and your loss.
  • Get counseling if you cannot function normally, you feel no relief, or your grief has gone on for too long. If, despite all of your efforts, you cannot cope or adjust, seek professional help.
Readjusting the hopes and dreams you had before your loss is not easy, but it is an important step in moving on with life. It allows you to create a new place for your baby and move on to new hope and new dreams for your future.
 
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.   
  

Study Finds Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Not Tied to Miscarriage

Over the counter pain relieversWomen are often nervous about the medicines they may have taken during early pregnancy- even simple pain relievers can leave you wondering. A study recently published by researchers writing in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology looked at the possible connection between miscarriage and common painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Over 3,000 pregnant women were included in the study, which found no increased risk of miscarriage for women who had taken over-the-counter pain relievers at conception, or early in their pregnancies. Prescription pain killers, such as NSAIDS, however, have shown evidence of an increased risk. Experts still agree that acetaminophen is the safest option for occasional pain relief during pregnancy.