Reviewed by

Uwe Porters - Mid-wife / Pregnancy & Postpartum Expert


Early Pregnancy Loss / miscarriage

Reviewed by

Uwe Porters - Mid-wife / Pregnancy & Postpartum Expert

A subject that is still a big taboo for women and couples is the loss of your baby in the first weeks of pregnancy. Also known by the still commonly used term miscarriage. At Guud we prefer to use the word 'early pregnancy loss'.

The emotions of an early pregnancy loss

A loss brings many different emotions and feelings of grief. It is often difficult to understand or process. Losing a child in any way is a difficult, unbelievable and indescribable event and can cause a lot of stress and misunderstanding.

The cause of an early loss is almost always a (pre- or post) conceptional disorder. This means that the embryo or cells were not viable. Usually a chromosome abnormality that arises during fertilization plays a role. Nature finds a logical solution, as it were: the embryo stops growing and the body rejects it.

The loss of a baby is a major event, even if it takes place during the first weeks of your pregnancy. Motherhood starts early. During the first weeks of your pregnancy, you already build a bond with your baby. As a woman, your body also changes from day one. And that also affects how you feel and how you think. Plus, having a baby takes preparation. Usually, you and your partner have already fantasized about how your life will look different.

Symptoms of a loss < 12 weeks

  • Crying and immense sadness 
  • Blood loss (little at first and more later)
  • Uncommon clots (blood clots)
  • Pregnancy symptoms, such as sore breasts and nausea, decrease

What can you do after?

  • Take the time to let it sink in and talk openly about it with your partner and possibly those around you, if they knew about your pregnancy.
  • Let yourself be guided by a midwife who can help you in the grieving process. 
  • You don't have to wait if your wish to become parents or get pregnant again is still big. When your cycle restarts, you can immediately start trying again.

What about a loss after 12 weeks?

A miscarriage usually refers to the loss of a baby before 12 weeks, but it can also happen that you lose the baby after 12 weeks. This is then referred to as a late miscarriage.

After 12 weeks, the placenta is formed. If you have lost your baby, you will probably have to undergo a curettage.

What is a curettage?

It often happens that after the delivery of the fetus, the placenta (placenta) remains in whole or in part in the uterus and does not want to be born. The body will not let go of this because physiologically it is still too early. 

Because the uterus cannot contract properly when the placenta remains and there is a risk of significant blood loss, it will be decided to surgically remove the placenta. This is done under anaesthesia by a gynaecologist in the operating room. It is a relatively minor procedure that takes about fifteen minutes.

How can you prepare your body for a next pregnancy? 

  • Stress
  • Lifestyle
  • Food: 
    • Make sure you have enough folate in your body by supplementing with folic acid. Low maternal folate status is a risk factor for the development of neural tube defects in the developing fetus.
    • Ensure your get enough omega 3 (DHA). Several studies show that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake contributes to normal eye and brain development in the fetus.

Your partner

Your partner (if male) can also contribute. There are 3 factors that play a role in determining sperm quality: 

  • Motility (ability to move spontaneously) of the sperm. When the sperm cells are insufficiently mobile, they cannot reach the egg to be fertilized and fertilization does not take place. Research shows that sperm motility decreases with age. 
  • Morphology (size and shape): A lower number of normally formed sperm results in a decrease in male fertility, as sperm with an abnormal morphology are less likely to fertilize an egg. Studies show that normal sperm morphology declines at a rate of 0.2-0.9% per year.
  • The amount of sperm cells. With each ejaculation, between 100 and 200 million are normally released when this number is lower, it is referred to as oligozoospermia (few sperm cells). Sperm volume can decrease over the years, but research has not been able to confirm this, so the impact of semen volume on male fertility is not clear.

Which nutrients are important for a man?  

There are several nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can contribute to male fertility. We will discuss four of them: Zinc, Selenium, Folic Acid and Omega 3.

Zinc contributes to normal fertility and reproduction. Good sources of zinc are oysters and lean red meat, as well as nuts, sesame seeds, beans and whole grains.

Selenium contributes to sperm quality. Seleneem (also called selenium) is found in fish and certain types of nuts (especially Brazil nuts).

Folic acid and omega 3 also seem to have a positive effect on male fertility. Many different studies show this, but the European Food Safety Authority has not yet included this health claim in its database of permitted health claims.

If you feel you want to talk about your loss, or if you need information or advise, please chat with us. We're here for you.