6 Ways to Ease Fear of Miscarriage
When you find out you’re pregnant, you may feel a range of emotions, from joy and excitement to stress and worry. Another common emotion is fear of losing the pregnancy.
Many people think it could happen to them, but for some, the fear of miscarriage is constant and overwhelming.
Common Fears Around Miscarriage
Miscarriage doesn’t happen in most pregnancies, but we all know someone who’s had one. It occurs in about 10% of known pregnancies—those are when the person was aware they were pregnant—according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). It may happen before some people even know they’re pregnant too.
Some things that can fuel fear include:
- Having a loss in the past. ”For someone who has already experienced pregnancy loss, the idea of reaching a full-term pregnancy may be harder to imagine. It’s almost as if they will only believe it once the baby has arrived,” says Sarah Baroud, a licensed therapist with a focus on perinatal mental health in Holliston, Massachusetts.
- Others’ stories of loss. “Having friends who’ve suffered miscarriages can also weigh on someone’s mind as they are trying to conceive and through early pregnancy,” says Baroud. It’s common to read others’ stories online too.
- Not “feeling pregnant.” Many pregnant people may not feel overt pregnancy symptoms during the early weeks, leading to worries about the health of the fetus,” says Nilou Esmaeilpour, a registered clinical counselor at Lotus Therapy in Vancouver, British Columbia, who often works with pregnant people.
- Trouble getting pregnant. If you were trying to conceive for a long time, or used fertility treatments, you might feel an even stronger urge to protect your pregnancy.
- Lack of control. In nearly every case, miscarriage isn’t the pregnant person’s fault, according to ACOG. It’s often due to an abnormal number of chromosomes in either the egg or the sperm when they come together to form a fetus. That makes some people feel better but makes others feel like it could happen no matter what they do.
6 Ways to Cope with Fear of Miscarriage
If you worry about pregnancy loss, there are some things you can do to manage your fears.
1. Know the Facts About Pregnancy Loss
As noted above, miscarriage is usually a random event. Close to half of pregnancy losses happen when the embryo doesn’t develop properly—it’s not because of something the pregnant person did. Remind yourself that arguing with your partner, exercising, having sex, or using birth control before getting pregnant don’t cause pregnancy loss. So you don’t have to worry if you’ve done those things.
If you've had a pregnancy loss, it doesn't mean you will again. Less than 5% of pregnant people have two miscarriages in a row.
2. Focus on Things You Can Control
“Coming to terms with the lack of control in pregnancy can feel challenging,” says Baroud. “However, the more we’re able to calm our mind and body, the better we’ll feel creating a nurturing space for our baby.” Find ways to relieve stress, whether it’s resting, taking walks, or spending time with friends.
Take good care of yourself too. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep, knowing that you’re taking good care of your baby, too.
3. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is being calmly aware of what’s happening in the present moment. Mindfulness practices help people accept things that happen and decide clearly how they’ll respond.
One way to practice mindfulness is through guided meditation. Meditation can provide relief from stress and anxiety, help you connect with the baby, and boost overall mental well‑being, says Esmaeilpour.
Not sure where to start? We have several guided meditations here on Twill Care.
4. Know What Is and Isn’t Typical During Pregnancy
If you’ve had a miscarriage before, “every twinge or change in symptoms can become a trigger, bringing back memories of previous losses,” says Esmaeilpour. “Talk to your doctor about the stages of pregnancy, what's typical, and what might be a cause for concern in order to reduce unnecessary anxiety.”
That way, you’ll know what aches and pains are expected. And you’ll know which symptoms are worth calling the doctor about. There are times they may want to check to make sure everything’s okay.
5. Talk to Someone You Trust
“When we’re overcome with worry or anxiety, the thoughts grow and grow when we keep them to ourselves,” says Baroud. “Talking with a loved one or a therapist is an important first step in processing these feelings.”
Share your fears verbally with the person, or write them down in a journal and then share them.
If your feelings affect your daily life, consider seeking support from a therapist who specializes in prenatal or perinatal mental health. Your doctor may be able to refer you to one, or you can search the Postpartum Support International (PSI) Directory.
You may also consider joining a local pregnancy loss support group, or sharing your feelings here in our community. PSI also has groups for people who’ve had past pregnancy losses.
6. Go to Your Prenatal Check-Ups
While it may seem anxiety-inducing to visit your doctor, regular prenatal visits are important for your and your baby’s health.
“This ensures that any genuine concerns are addressed promptly, provides regular reassurances about the baby's health, and fosters a feeling of safety,” says Esmaeilpour.
It’s okay to worry about pregnancy loss, but it’s also important not to let fear consume your thoughts. If you can calm some of your worry, you’ll be able to better enjoy this special time in your life.
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