If you’re pregnant and have suffered a previous miscarriage, chances are you’re pretty nervous this time around.
According to Dr. Beverly Young, a staff psychiatrist in the Perinatal Mental Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, it’s normal to be a little stressed.
“You’re likely afraid that it will happen again and you will want to pass the date when you had a miscarriage the last time,” says Dr. Young. “It’s very common to feel anxious.”
She says that once you’re pregnant again, often other people forget your loss. But the mom-to-be remembers and can suffer in silence.
She suggests visiting your family doctor during your first trimester, when most miscarriages occur. “Discuss your worries with your doctor. You may just need some reassurance. After the first trimester, perhaps you can even book in earlier with your gynecologist’s nurse to hear your baby’s heart rate. Waiting until the end of the first trimester – or until your next monthly appointment – can seem like a long time when you’re worried.”
Timing matters, too. “Once you pass the first trimester, many women can begin to relax.”
During that first trimester, when you’re waiting for the 12-week milestone to come and go, Dr. Young recommends the following tips:
- Try to be distracted and keep your mind busy. Continue working if you can.
- Don’t look medical information up on the Internet. It’s not helpful.
- Continue to do things that are social and enjoyable; things you enjoyed before your pregnancy and previous miscarriage.
- Eat well and stay active. It’s very important.
- Make sure to get up, get dressed and shower every day.
If you’re not able to do these things and your worrying is interfering with things like eating, sleeping, enjoying your pregnancy and maintaining your ability to function, you may need further assessment.
Women with a history of anxiety or depression should be monitored especially carefully. Sometimes, a referral to a psychologist may be necessary, especially once you’ve passed the mark where your loss occurred the first time.
“You have to get to the point where you accept that the baby is coming,” says Dr. Young. “It’s important that you’re able to enjoy your pregnancy.”
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2014.