If you read Baby Dust and
fell in love with Stella, the leader of the miscarriage group, she now
has her own book of how she and her husband met. No sadness here, just a
roller coaster romance between two out-of-the-box characters.
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Sometimes after your miscarriage you will remember straining to
lift something, worry over the three martinis you drank before you took the
pregnancy test, or wonder if you should have still been working out. None of
this matters. Miscarriage happens, whether we do our best to prevent it or not.
Here is a list of commonly blamed factors that are NOT causes of miscarriage.
These things do NOT cause miscarriage:
Stress. All mothers worry about their
experience traumatic life events during pregnancy, such as family deaths,
even deaths of children or the baby's father. You will get through it, and
your baby will too. As a strong case in point, over 50 women were pregnant
when their husbands died on September 11 in a terrorist attack on the United
States. Their babies are arriving, kicking and squawling, despite the
pregnancy occurring during the absolute worst days of their mothers' lives.
Sex, even the passionate kind. Orgasm may scare you
when your uterus enlarges because you can feel the contractions, but it
doesn't do anything to the baby other than maybe rock him to sleep (or get
him to kick you to stop and let him sleep already.) Sometimes you will have
spotting after sex, but this is just because the cervix is very soft and
filled with blood. A little banging sometimes makes it bleed a little, but
this is not a problem. You only need to curtail your loving if your doctor
has told you to do so.
Lifting your toddler or older children. Your body
will complain to the point of making you drop them well before you can do
anything that is harmful. Remember to pick them up by squatting and lifting
with your legs, not bending over and lifting with your
back. This is still not a miscarriage factor, but will
save you many aches and pains.
Working out. This is actually something that helps
you and the baby. There are some rules, however. Do not get your heart rate
above 140 (still not a miscarriage factor, but does start to reduce the
amount of oxygen to the baby) or work until you feel faint or exhausted.
Getting kicked or hit in the stomach. Remember the
baby is well protected, and only you will hurt. This is often done during
the night by a sleepless child you have pulled into bed with you, but if it is by a partner or other adult,
get help. You don't need to bring a child into a world where abuse is
present. Please visit http://www.ncadv.org/
for help and information on domestic violence.
Poor eating habits. The baby will rob you of the
nutrients it needs and only you will suffer. However, you can cause a low
birth-weight baby with developmental problems if you refuse to have a
healthy diet through the entire pregnancy. You should still eat well, but
don't blame a miscarriage on your eating habits.
Drinking before you knew you were pregnant. The
majority of women do this and it has no bearing on miscarriage. I personally
tossed quite a few tequila shots the night I had a negative pregnancy test
on the ninth month of trying. Two days later another test was positive. I
didn't blink an eye. The baby doesn't get a drop of blood before
implantation, and receives so little for the first few weeks that you really
just don't need to worry about it. If you continue drinking once you know
you are pregnant, however, you can cause a serous problem with Fetal
Alchohol Syndrome. Once the test is positive, pick up baby bottles, not
Scaring the baby. Just because a near accident, or
loud terrible noise, earthquake, or other event scared you, does not mean
the baby even noticed. Even if the baby does jump upon hearing something
loud, this is just a startle reflex and actually a healthy sign that he or
she is developing normally. Babies do not have "heart attacks"
from fright or get scared "to death." This is a persistent myth in
several cultures and simply does not have any basis in fact.
The baby "knowing" it was unwanted. Just
because a pregnancy surprised you, and even if you debated having an
abortion, you did not cause your baby to die. This is a grief and guilt
emotion you are feeling, but it is not true. The fact is, at least 10% of
all babies die, whether they were desperately wanted or not.
These things may cause complications,
but not typically a miscarriage:
Falling. We all become klutzes as our belly expands,
joints loosen, and our center of balance changes. Most falls do not cause any harm to the baby. If, however, you experience
bleeding or serious soreness afterward, or if you landed square on your
belly in the second trimester or later, see a doctor to check the placenta for tears. Otherwise
just be embarrassed.
Car accidents. While some people will blame their
miscarriage on an accident, usually it isn't so. The baby is very well
protected in its amniotic fluid, so unless the stomach and uterus is
punctured, or the woman undergoes a period of cardiac arrest or without
breathing, the baby should survive. Certainly get checked after a car
accident, especially if you begin bleeding, as you may have pulled a bit of
the placenta from the wall of the uterus, but don't worry too much about miscarriage. It is rare in this
Lifting something heavy. This caution is really for
women who can cause a placental tear in the second or third trimester. This
does not necessarily mean a miscarriage, and usually if you feel terrible
pains later, it just means that you strained one of the round ligaments
holding your uterus in place. A little rest will be all that is
needed. If you have bleeding, however, it is time to get a sonogram just to
be sure you didn't pull a bit of the placenta away, although this will
almost always heal itself without incident.
Yes, I know. You started bleeding right after sex, or right
after a workout. Or your baby died the day after the car accident, or the
checkup at the hospital after you fell down showed no heartbeat. These things
MUST have caused the miscarriage, because babies don't just die, right?
Babies do just die. Over half of all miscarriages
are caused by chromosomal factors that are completely out of our hands. Not
preventable. Nothing we can do. The majority of the others are also unrelated to
anything we personally did, but some infection that got us, a poorly formed
placenta or umbilical cord, a hormone problem, or health condition we didn't
know about. Don't let anyone, not even your partner or your mother (or yes, the
mother-in-law) tell you this was your fault. It absolutely, positively was not.