Miscarriage and stillbirth
Some medical issues can happen during pregnancy that are beyond your control. However, that does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to have a smooth and successful pregnancy.
Miscarriage is when your body terminates the pregnancy on its own, before the pregnancy has carried to 24 weeks. Miscarriages are quite common in the first three months and probably one in six pregnancies ends in this way. An early miscarriage can be like a period - there may be bleeding and an aching pain in the stomach. With a later miscarriage, bleeding is likely to be accompanied by pains that feel more like labour pains.
What you should do
If you bleed or begin to have pains, contact the person who is giving you your ante-natal care - usually your midwife, doctor or hospital. Sometimes the bleeding stops by itself and both you and your baby will be fine. Sometimes the miscarriage will happen and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Remember, a miscarriage is no-one's fault and even if you have several miscarriages you can go on to have healthy children. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you have concerns.
Stillbirth is when a pregnancy has carried to 24 weeks or more but the baby dies before it is born. Reasons for a stillbirth are complex and not always understood. The hours and days after the death of a baby may leave you feeling shocked and overwhelmed. You will have a number of choices and decisions to make after the birth, and your baby will need to be registered. Bereavement counsellors at the hospital will be able to guide you about what to do next.
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
SANDS has a helpline: 07740 993 450 which offers advice and support to recently bereaved parents.