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Coping with the pain of having a miscarriage is not easy and can take its toll on a relationship. Read more about real talk from experts on coping with miscarriage.
As common as miscarriages are—one to two of every woman who gets pregnant experiences one, according to Planned Parenthood—having a miscarriage can be devastating. Here, experts share coping mechanisms to heal from the physical and emotional pain.
How a Miscarriage Can Affect Your Relationship
Couples who miscarry are 22 percent more likely to split than those who have successful pregnancies. A miscarriage unites some pairs—and tears others apart. “A woman may feel like her partner can’t truly understand her experience, and recede into herself,” says psychiatrist Amanda Itzkoff, M.D. This can make significant others feel as if they’ve lost a spouse as well as a pregnancy, especially if the would-be birth mother starts to shy away from sex out of fear of miscarrying again, or because intimacy reminds her of how she got pregnant in the first place. Conflictscan also arise when a duo has mismatched coping methods (e.g., one person is outwardly sad and the other deals with it more privately)
Then there’s the blame factor. The miscarrying woman may fault her body for failing her; her partner may assign blame (“You shouldn’t have been working out”). Both can breed resentment.
Be aware that you and your partner may process grief differently and may not always be in the same place at the same time. If you are fighting or feel disconnected, or if your sex drive doesn’t bounce back in a month or two, you may want to try couples counseling—even just one session, says Itzkoff. Particularly if you’ve been referred for genetic testing, therapy can be crucial in helping deal with any emotional fallout or the news that one or both parties has a genetic issue.
What to Expect Physically
If an ultrasound confirms that you’ve miscarried, stock up on pads (notampons or menstrual cups—they can introduce bacteria to your open cervix) and ibuprofen. If you’re around six or fewer weeks along, your body will likely expel fetal and placental tissue on its own. It will look and feel like a very heavy period with cramping that can range from light to labor-like contractions that can last up to three weeks. For later miscarriages, losses that don’t resolve on their own, and miscarriages in which all pregnancy-related tissue doesn’t come out (your doc can figure this out with a blood test), you’ll need a dilation and curettage, known as a D&C. During this outpatient procedure, you’ll be given anesthesia, and your OB will dilate your cervix and clean out your uterus. Afterward, unless there’s a rare complication, most women experience a few days of light spotting and minor cramping.
After most pregnancy losses, it’s safe to try again as soon as you get your next period (usually within a month of the miscarriage), with no increased risk of miscarrying again. But as always, get the green light from your OB first.
Source: Jane Frederick, M.D., ob-gyn with HRC Fertility in Orange County, California
Source: Women’s Health