Support Following Pregnancy and Infant Loss
The loss of a baby is devastating. And, no matter when it happens or what the circumstances, it is normal to experience a range of emotions that may include grief, denial, anger and depression. At St.Vincent Women’s Hospital, we provide compassionate care, enduring support and a healing environment for you and your family during this difficult time.
Determining the Cause of the Loss
Approximately 15-25% of all recognized pregnancies result in an early miscarriage, and just less than 1% of births result in a stillborn baby. In some situations, the cause of a pregnancy loss can never be determined. However, it may be helpful to seek a thorough investigation into the cause of the loss in hopes of preventing similar complications in a future pregnancy. Many families choose an evaluation when they have:
What will be evaluated?
An evaluation for repetitive pregnancy loss may include:
- Chromosomal studies of both parents
- Evaluation of the uterus/cervix
- Hormonal evaluation
- Immunologic testing
- Other tests, as required
An evaluation of a stillborn baby requires enrollment in our Perinatal Loss Evaluation Program. Our evaluation includes a comprehensive report generated by our specialists for you and your healthcare provider, and offers recommendations for the future. The evaluation may include the following:
- Bloodwork from both mother and baby
- Photographs and/or x-rays of the baby
- Placental evaluation
- Autopsy of the baby
Becoming Pregnant Again
If you have had a miscarriage, stillbirth or given birth to an extremely premature baby, there are some things you should do before becoming pregnant again. These include:
- Take at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day
- Don’t smoke
- Consult with your primary obstetric care physician to learn more about the tests that you and our your partner may need before you become pregnant
For families experiencing the loss of a baby, we offer the following services:
Support Group for Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Parents who are experiencing a pregnancy following a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death can meet to discuss their feelings, share experiences or just listen. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Please call (317) 415-7494 for more information.
Center for Perinatal Loss
St.Vincent’s Center for Perinatal Loss offers programs and resources for grieving families in a warm, healing environment. Although nothing can erase the pain caused by the loss of a child, we can help ease it, guide you towards healing, and perhaps help you find hope for your next pregnancy. For more information, please call (317) 415-7494.
Stillbirth is defined as a baby born greater than or equal to 20 weeks gestation without signs of life at the time of birth. Although some reasons why a stillbirth occurs are unknown, others may include:
- Congenital or genetic abnormalities
- Cord accident
- Pregnancy greater than 42 weeks
- Placental abruption
- Severe maternal complications
- Extremely preterm labor and delivery
Early pregnancy loss, often called miscarriage, occurs within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and is very common. In fact, between 15 – 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, the majority of which are due to chromosomal abnormalities not compatible with life.