Pregnancy & Infant Loss

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pregnancy-lossPregnancy & Infant Loss, by Dr Nikee Msuo.

The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy is often an unexpected and very tragic event. Thanks to Christie Collard for sharing her story, click here to read her to experience.

Pregnancy loss is often not talked about so, parents are often left feeling confused and isolated in their experience.

In fact as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, some so early that woman are not even aware. Approximately 80 % of all pregnancy loss occurs in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The are many reasons this can happen, and we often never find out why. Things such as chromosomal problems, infection, maternal hormonal imbalance, placentation or cervical issues could all be  involved.

Pregnancy loss that occurs after 20 weeks is classified as stillbirth. In Australia about 6-7 babies are stillborn for every 1000 babies born. These are some of the lowest rates in the world with over 170/1000 stillbirths in some African countries.

The majority of stillbirths are caused from heart abnormalities or other birth defects.

We are lucky in Australia that we have access to early imaging and advanced testing that can help identify some babies who are at risk and offer treatment in some cases that can change the outcome to a more positive one.

We know that good antenatal care, management of maternal disease , identification of risk factors and timely delivery of babies reduces the risk of stillbirth .

Sometimes however in some cases we lose a baby with no apparent risk factors .

Still birth and death of a baby in the neonatal period is a tragic event that affects parents, family, friends,  caregivers and often the community as a whole.

There are so many feelings, that different people feel from grief, to guilt, to anger and denial. Each person experiences loss in their own way- there is no right or wrong.

As community members being aware and sensitive to pregnancy loss can help. Allowing families to share their experience if they need to is important in the healing. Its often difficult in these situation to know what to say, and sometimes a simple hug and a “sorry” is all they need.

As pregnant women, its our greatest fear that something bad will happen to our baby. We have often welcomed them into our hearts and families as soon as we realise we are pregnant. If we have experienced loss before or been around loss it can we incredibly anxiety provoking.

Fortunately in Australia we have the other 993 babies per 1000 being born alive and well. The majority of pregnancies are low risk. Identify and managing risk factors improve outcomes. Access to antenatal care improves outcomes.

For those families who have experienced loss we can acknowledge their loss and  support them by increasing awareness around pregnancy loss , and offering support throughout their  experience.

One mother has shared her story, click here to read her to experience.