This year, Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place from October 9 – October 15, 2019. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a day for remembrance of pregnancy loss and infant death. This includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, SIDS, stillbirth, and the death of a newborn. This day is honored on October 15, 2019.
Nearly 20% of pregnancies terminate in spontaneous abortion, but about 75% of spontaneous abortions occur before the 16th week. Most spontaneous abortions occur before the 8th week. More than 60% of spontaneous abortions are due to chromosomal defects. Only about 15% are associated with other factors, such as maternal trauma, infections, lupus anticoagulant-anticardiolipin-antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, etc.
Recurrent pregnancy loss is a much less common phenomenon. Only 1-2% of couples experience recurrent miscarriage. This is defined as >3 consecutive losses at <20 weeks’ gestation or with a fetal weight of <500g. A full discussion of recurrent pregnancy loss is beyond the scope of this post, but can be explored here. The clinical management of pregnancy loss, including retained products of conception is also outside the scope of this post.
Pregnancy loss at any gestation is often emotionally devastating. Patients and spouses may suffer long-lasting effects impacting mental health. These aspects of care are easily overlooked. Patients and spouses may suffer marriage difficulties. Patients may suffer from PTSD, depression, and fear of trying to conceive again.
For the above reasons Baby Loss Awareness Week has been founded in the UK, along with multiple charities to assist with providing families with bereavement tools and psychological support free of charge. Examples of charities involved include the Miscarriage Association and the Wave of Light from the Lullaby Trust. These resources assist parents who suffer from pregnancy loss or death of an infant in order to provide psychosocial support.
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020: 19-08: Spontaneous Abortion
Williams Gynecology, 3e: CHAPTER 6: First-Trimester Abortion