In October 1988, Ronald Reagan designated October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. As many as 25% of pregnancies end in a loss. This October, SIRM St. Louis would like to discuss pregnancy loss and ways to cope.

Pregnancy and infant loss could be due to miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, infection, prematurity, illness, or other complications. Research has shown that miscarriages and stillbirth can happen to even the healthiest couples. It is important to know it is no one’s fault, and these things happen for unknown reasons sometimes.

To give unborn babies the best chance at success, our fertility doctors recommend trying to achieve a healthy weight before pregnancy, quitting smoking before conceiving, and getting medical conditions– such as diabetes–under control.

As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant or is trying to conceive, it is important to visit a doctor to get prenatal care, which may help to identify potential issues early.

For those who have already experienced a loss, know that you are not alone. Take time this month to honor the loss. Here are some ideas to help you cope:

  • Take time off work to heal, mediate, and de-stress
  • Join a support group, online or in your community
  • Journal your thoughts and keep them to yourself, or publish a blog
  • Participate in a walk or fundraiser that raises money to help mother or baby-related causes
  • Organize a candlelight vigil in your community, or light a candle for your baby at home
  • Plant a tree or flowers in honor of your loss