For women who have experienced a miscarriage, the only thing that feels certain is that nothing is certain.
"The emotional loss following a miscarriage can be devastating," explains Dr. Zev Williams, MD, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (PEARL) at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "In a national survey that we completed, 1 in 5 women reported that the emotional loss following a miscarriage was similar to that of losing an older child."
A woman planning to conceive after a miscarriage can think of herself as packing her mental toolbox in preparation for her pregnancy. "Attitude, positive thinking, receiving the correct information about her previous miscarriage, knowing her possibilities, considering that more than 85 percent of women get pregnant after a miscarriage, but at the same time, knowing her risks," are all part of the package explained Dr. Ricardo Huete, Chief of OB/GYN at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California.
In addition to general recommendations for pregnancy planning, such as maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet and starting on prenatal vitamins that include folic acid several months before trying to conceive, Dr. Williams recommends that a mother-to-be "check in" on her emotional well-being.
One of the hardest parts about moving forward after a pregnancy loss comes with the decision to try to conceive again. When planning for a subsequent pregnancy following a miscarriage, many doctors feel that ensuring a woman's emotional and mental health is as vitally important as taking precautions to ensure that her body is physically ready for another pregnancy.
Kara Collins and her husband are familiar with the mental preparation it takes to embark on a journey to pregnancy following a miscarriage. After experiencing their first miscarriage, they, like many couples, had no reservations about trying for another pregnancy. "We tried again without hesitation or fears," Kara said. "We really just wanted to start our family." Sadly, Kara experienced another miscarriage when she lost the pregnancy around 8 weeks. "After that miscarriage, we were devastated," Kara explained. "The miscarriages were painful physically and emotionally and we struggled with many questions. We wondered why God didn't see us fit to be parents."
After waiting the three months that Kara's doctor recommended, she and her husband tried again to conceive. "We were scared and worried every single day of the entire pregnancy," Kara confessed. "But at 37 weeks we had a healthy baby boy."
Kara credits "great family support" and constant, open communication between her and husband as the tools she needed to successfully plan and prepare for pregnancy after her miscarriages.
"I just kept saying, 'It will happen,'" Kara stated simply.
And it did--Kara is now expecting her second child, a baby boy due in the fall, with her husband.
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