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Trauma and Support Topics

Miscarriage

Miscarriage

Miscarriage, Termination, Still Birth, and challenging pregnancies, happens to every colour and creed of women. Every status, an individual outcome without answers and solutions to prevent. Or so we are told and believe. 

From a JWT perspective long term mental and emotional issues around Miscarriage, Termination and Still birth are underestimated and unacknowledged. Volume is mammoth, especially if non pregnancy situations continue to exist. Without resolution. 

There is little or no follow up or support for women who have experienced miscarriage, termination or still birth. Left to their own devices and family to support them through their devastation, loss, and grief. Some women feel as if they have been in a battle exhausted by the process, clinical and cold treatment received with little understanding of the women’s emotional state. Many feel isolated with nowhere to turn. Dread and fear of a reply returns from becoming pregnant again and PTSD, fear of repetition of loss. Even in 2022 we are emotionally bereft of assistance or professional help.

JWT has programmes support women in their hour of need and to assist couples in fertility. Couples and individual help, logic and guidance with a compassionate ear and heart felt one-to-one therapy. New approaches and solutions to change inner states and reduce emotional dis-stress, helping a turnaround to success.  Give the body the right conditions and change happens automatically.

There are solutions, new approach guidance programmes to prevent, support and turn life around for successful parenthood. Structure, guidance, and planning is essential for change. That means for both parents.

Education is key. As is the removal of trauma. Learning to be aware of our body and body’s needs. Physical and biochemical correction helps alignment and balance of hormonal surges. Help the body to internally change for reproduction… successful new life. Giving women their life back.

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Thousands of women experience miscarriage every day. 

The charity Tommy’s say 23 million women miscarry yearly worldwide. (2021 stats) 

No one knows the real numbers of women affected by miscarriage as records are unreliable, not all miscarriages are recorded.

Miscarriage, Termination, Still Birth, and challenging pregnancies, happens to every colour and creed of women. Every status, an individual outcome without answers and solutions to prevent. Or so we are told and believe. 

There is little or no follow up or support for women who have experienced miscarriage, termination or still birth. Left to their own devices and family to support them through their devastation, loss, and grief. Some women feel as if they have been in a battle exhausted by the process, clinical and cold treatment received with little understanding of the women’s emotional state. Many feel isolated with nowhere to turn. Dread and fear follow ‘will it happen again’? Dread and worry replaces pregnancy happiness, PTSD, fear of repetition and loss is at the forefront of the mind. 

Even in 2022 we are emotionally bereft of assistance or professional help from miscarriage.

Some women are aware of the miscarriage event while others are oblivious. 

When talking to women of all ages they have their own story of miscarriage or pregnancy issues.  Most will keep it a secret. Unable to explain the extent of emotional loss and grief. 

What is common is that women appear to have dealt with it, carry on, yet unbeknown to them underlying emotional scars and pain from the event remains in their subconscious. Tainting their life and further pregnancies can be affected by the bonding of mother and child.  The effects of long-term grief, emotional loss and sadness, depression and isolation underlie even forty years after the experience. 

The long term mental and emotional issues around Miscarriage, Termination and Still birth are underestimated and unacknowledged. Volume is mammoth, especially if non pregnancy situations continue to exist. Without resolution. 

The experience of miscarriage is physical, emotional, with psychological trauma, often vast shock and PTSD symptoms prevail. Unique outcomes to each woman who will feel different degrees of trauma.  Some women feel inadequate and a failure from the event. Knocked self-esteem, confidence, inconsolable from the loss is normal. 

Many women do not want to go through this trauma again and walk away from pregnancy. 

Both members of the couple are traumatised via miscarriage. Men feel out of their depth and unable to help the situation. They feel helpless and strain on relationship can be a factor. Anxiety and depression can affect some couples and trauma around sexual contact after miscarriage may be fearful, a non-starter from traumas and associations from previous shock experiences. 

There is a need to get fit for Pregnancy 

The fact is couples are less fertile these days and conception can be a long road for some relationships. IVF can be a hit and miss affair, with disappointments and undue anxiety within the process. No guarantees, everything can seem perfect, yet technician mishaps can interfere with positive outcomes. 

Even if IVF worked previously, it is not a ticket to success second or third time around. Not every couple is as fertile as they think they should be. Stress, guilt, shame, and body strain can be underlying factors and outcomes. 

The fertility levels in each of us is different and we receive our fertility from our parents, formed as foetal origins in the womb. We are supplied with the sperm and egg dominance for life. Once born individual lifestyle can reduce our fertility. Fully explained in Pregnancy and Birth a New Generation. (PBANG). Drink, drugs and medication, poor diet and lacking in exercise, vitamins and minerals give weak body factors.  Essentially, we need to become fit for parenthood.  

Joy has personally helped and provided solutions for couples who find it a challenge to become pregnant. And passed on my knowledge to other D.A.R.E practitioners in training etc. 

The long term effects of experiencing miscarriage are elongated and many women take their grief and hurt to the grave. Unresolved.  Their world has been turned upside down, shock from the unexpected outcomes, trauma is underlying. PND/PTSD is underestimated and unacknowledged. Volume is mammoth, especially if non pregnancy situations continue to exist without resolution.  Hormonally we are reminded of the loss and grieving continues unannounced.

When in stress and/or depression from miscarriage it will be challenging to successful fertility. The Fact is – our body needs support and parents will need to be in tip-top condition for pregnancy. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Especially after miscarriage, D.A.R.E therapy can assist to bring balance to systems and biochemical factors to make an inner change, an inner conversion to success. JWT guidance and support given throughout to their successful parenting journey. All our systems need to be in balance to produce an infant.  Improving diet and health changes can improve outcomes, the bigger part of the picture is stress hormone reduction, the key to help bring the right conditions together for rebirth. 

Numbers of miscarriage have escalated 

Nothing has changed since I first wrote about Miscarriage in 2007 and launched Pregnancy and Birth a New Generation book in 2009. 

Since 2009 the numbers of miscarriages and pregnancy trauma has escalated. There is no support on either side of the coin. Associations and government will say there are systems in place. However, in reality support is sparse, a challenge to find them and how many are effective? Even with counselling the emotional surges exist.  We can rationalise the mind all we want, but it is the hormonal drives that make it uncomfortable and distressing for many women to live with. It is the biochemical outcomes that require focus and change.

Both parents are affected by Miscarriage 

Partners, husbands, and lovers will be sympathetic and compassionate about the loss, they too have grief and loss to come to terms with and feel uneducated and unprepared for the emotional surges felt. Both parties are scared for life. Men seem to recover faster than women. What males do not have to deal with is the hormonal surges that come from conception.  

When pregnant biochemical process has been started and will not stop immediately after miscarriage!

A process has been started for new life and hormonally a process is in motion. Even if termination medication is taken. Hormones still exist and will continue with the body process. Mixed messages will be felt hormonally. Women feel all over the place. They cannot function and behaviour will change with the surges of hormonal excretion. Overwrought and overwhelmed in the hormonal cocktail received. In some cases, it can take months and years to regulate again. Unique outcomes for each woman, dependent upon their natural hormonal balance.   And where one-to-one therapy is required to correct. 

The reality, a mismatch of unresolved, uncomplete attainment for the body. Physically processes have been started… and did not complete. Women can have all sorts of biochemical misalignments within the body after a miscarriage or termination event. Living with this mismatch can be unbearable as hormonally we are reminded daily of the loss. 

Emotional outcomes include shock and underlying trauma, unaware consciously, women know something is wrong.  Most parents, carry on with stiff upper lip and push our feelings down and away. No resolution continues. Some find it too distressing to talk about the subject. Others will keep it a secret between themselves. It becomes the elephant in the room. Others will talk it out, yet emotionally and hormonally not resolved. We put great store in talking about our problems with little understanding of the internal response which is more stress hormones and hormonal status that puts strain on the internal physical state. Subconscious mind is our black box and puts all in store, underlying adverse trauma remains. We need more than talking to correct body processes including PND/PTSD. Direct action is required.

Parents find themselves living in no man’s land, on survival and treading water. We live in a war zone emotionally and come home battered and bruised daily! Devastated, emotionally drained and out of sync in life.  Shell of self out of body, foggy brain, can’t think straight from the level of grief, sadness and trauma underlying. Life goes on and the woman loses herself in the process becoming a shell of herself. Women are misunderstood from miscarriage and classed as overreacting.  Of course, those who say this are not in the hormonal chaos… the victim is! It does not matter if you have status, money or not.  What is common is that women leave pregnancy to later life today when it can be tricky to produce, where previous challenging lifestyle choices have prevented a pregnancy smooth passage. 

Education is key. As is the removal of trauma. Learning to be aware of our body and body’s needs. Physical correction helps, alignment and balance of hormonal surges. Help the body to reproduce new life. 

Mayleen Klass (celebrity) shared in Newsnight TV programme in 2021. Mayleen experienced several miscarriages and felt a failure as a woman. Felt alone and embarrassed, didn’t know who she was anymore. Loss was incredibly painful, and she didn’t expect the depth of devastation received after each miscarriage.  

In modern day terms miscarriage for Mayleen was equivalent shocking outcomes with a mini breakdown after several miscarriages.  Lost herself in the excruciating scenario of fertility.

PTSD is made of this. Hearing a baby cry puts shivers down the spine. Hurtful to listen to and traumatised by the experience. We feel alone out of our depth, and no one understands our predicament.  Friends and family will move on. You won’t!  

Holding the fear, grudges and upset as our would has been turned up-side-down.  Keeping the event, a secret and hide away.  When eventual success happens after miscarriage PTSD leaves its mark with overcompensating, unpredictable and fearful behaviour, the underlying fear/PTSD horrors continue. The fear of losing the precious baby received. Mothers become overprotective. Not wanting them to go out of their sight. Pushing others away as only the mother can do anything for the child. Fathers can be ignored in their child’s care. 

The facts around miscarriage 

Early miscarriage is a common factor in pregnancy. Some women don’t even recognise they had a miscarriage, believing a heavy period.  Miscarriage is the term for loss of pregnancy in the first 23 weeks. Most happen within first trimester (12 weeks). Second trimester miscarriage is lower 1 or 2 in 100.

The facts around miscarriage are various although no one really knows why some women find it challenging to become pregnant and unable to go full term. The main symptoms of miscarriage are vaginal bleeding or spotting, with or without abdominal pain or cramping.  But sometimes there are no obvious signs at all. The stats are recorded of women who reported or realised a miscarriage.

  1. It is estimated 1 in 4 will miscarry within first trimester. 
  2. The most common cause in three months is development. Termed ‘Chromosol abnormalities’
  3. 1 in 100 in UK experience recurrent miscarriages (3 or 4 in a row)
  4. Epitomic pregnancies result in 11 in 1000 
  5. It is estimated that 6 in 10 women who miscarry will go on to have a successful pregnancy. 

As we have established Miscarriage brings untold pain and emotional suffering to both parents, adverse trauma and various levels of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, often ongoing without awareness. Often forming depression/anxiety, isolation, and mental disorders, in a two-year period after the event. 

Often not linked to the distressing event experienced. Obviously, those who suffer recurrent miscarriages can go on to more severe levels of depression etc. the memory is a black box of events and can and do throw out at the most unpredictable times of emotional burnout, psychological breakdown, and exhaustion. 

I have seen women several years after the miscarriage event suffering with depression and symptoms as described above. We need to remember adverse trauma involved in challenging pregnancies, miscarriage etc. does not go away. It may appear to subside, but the scars and fears are still evident decades later unless professionally dealt with. 

Recurrent Miscarriage – Source Tommy’s 

Unfortunately, for a percentage of women, resulting in miscarriage are at a higher risk of further repeat scenarios. Research is underfunded and answers are lacking in today’s world of science.  I have seen women who have had ten and fifteen miscarriages and they are literally grey under the strain of their experiences.  Broken women, whose relationships did not last the exhausting and extensive disappointing journey of pregnancy. 

  1. 1 in 100 experience recurrent miscarriage
  2. Age is a factor
  3. Causes are unknown in 50% of recurrent cases 
  4. 6 out of 10 women who suffered from recurrent miscarriages will go on to have a full-term pregnancy.
Still Birth

Still Birth

Still birth must be the most emotive of all losses in pregnancy. Inconsolable for parents. A tragedy of the greatest kind. The emotional and psychological outcome is long term with shell of life living take over the numbness and shock. Frozen from their experience. It is a challenge for parents to come to terms with their loss and grief. Statistics show that women who suffer still birth are twice more likely to suffer long term depression and mental illness. Seven times more likely to suffer PTSD. Depression was found several years after the shocking event. 

Joy Wisdom Trust, Emotional and practical support programmes available for parents and professionals.

Still birth must be the most emotive of all losses in pregnancy. Inconsolable for parents. A tragedy of the greatest kind. The emotional and psychological outcome is long term with shell of life living take over the numbness and shock. Frozen from their experience. It is a challenge for parents to come to terms with their loss and grief. Statistics show that women who suffer still birth are twice more likely to suffer long term depression and mental illness. Seven times more likely to suffer PTSD. Depression was found several years after the shocking event. 

  1. One in every 225 pregnancies ends in still birth in UK 
  2. Equates to 7 per day in UK.
  3. Croatia, Poland, and Czech Republic all have better stillbirth rates than UK
  4. Still birth is an infant who died after 28 weeks before or during birth.
  5. Data suggests 42 weeks seems to be the common factor of still birth difficulties 

Still birth Statistics Source Tommy’s

In a recent 2021 Lancet report the conclusion of investigation into Still birth said the loss of a baby late in pregnancy remains too common. Although the burden is immeasurable for women, families, and society, stillbirths remain a largely unseen and unaddressed problem. In the 20 years since 2000, an estimated 48·2 million stillbirths occurred globally, with an estimated 2 million women and families experiencing stillbirth in 2019. 

The slower progress in preventing stillbirths, compared with reductions in neonatal mortality rate and mortality rate in children aged 1–59 months, highlights the insufficient effort and investments in ending preventable stillbirths. Furthermore, our estimates did not show acceleration in preventing stillbirths in the past 10 years globally. If current trends continue, a total of 19·5 million babies will be stillborn in 2020–30, a great tragedy for too many babies, women, and families. 

Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01112-0/fulltext#

Still birth risks: BMI and Smoking while pregnant

Women with a high BMI (over 26) and risks higher by 20% with every extra BMI points.

  1. The risk of stillbirth is 52% higher in pregnant women who smoked 10 or more
  2. The risk of stillbirth was 9% higher for those smoking 1 to 9 cigarettes a day.
  3. In women with a previous stillbirth, the risk of another increases 4 times, from 1% to 2.5%

Why?

According to one study of 1064 pregnancies, around 60% of stillbirths are unexplained. Doctors cannot tell parents why their infant died. 

The same study ranked the following reasons for the stillbirths that could be explained:

  1. 17% caused by ascending infection
  2. 12% caused by placenta factors, including placental abruption and pre-eclampsia
  3. 5% caused by congenital abnormality
  4. 2% caused by foetal growth restriction and complications with twins

When a foetus is getting less oxygen or nutrients in the womb, they will move less to conserve energy, therefore reduced baby movements can be a sign that something is wrong. Half (50%) of mothers who resulted in stillbirth, noticed slowing down of baby movements beforehand.

Mental Health outcomes from Stillbirth

Women who have suffered stillbirth or neonatal death are more likely to have anxiety and depression afterwards.

  1. One study in the US of 800 women showed that women who had a stillbirth were twice as likely to have depression compared to those who had live births. 
  2. When they were studied again 2 years later, showing that stillbirth has a long-term effect on mental health
  3. Another study of 609 women who had experienced a stillbirth or neonatal death, showed that women who had loss: were 4 times more likely to have depression
  4.  7 times more likely to have PTSD

Still birth Statistics Source:  Tommy’s

Early Mortality

Early mortality

Early mortality and Still birth is very distressing for parents, families, and siblings. A grief process kicks in while the mother may still be in the hormonal stimulus preparing for birth even though heartbeat has stopped. A confusing and grief-stricken time and hormonal surges do not help the situation. PTSD, shock, and trauma are involved. Some charities offer bereavement support. Which is a guiding hand through helpful in the initial stages. Unfortunately, like any bereavement the grief will carry on and parents will find it a challenge to come to terms with the situation. It makes it more of a challenge when we have other children to look after and PND/ PTSD, emotionally struggling with sleep deprivation, living shell of self, we retreat.  Emotional scars are deep and raw. 

JWT can offer one-to-one therapy to bring comfort and support with new approaches to help rebalance hormonal processes and pregnancy distress.  Ease the burden of grief and loss situation. Individual and couples/ family programmes are available. The first 24 hours after birth is deemed the critical time period when tragedy can strike.  We need good structure and confidence in bringing our baby home and prevention is the key to avoiding this outcome. Be Prepared – see details for improved parenting and new baby and home programmes/solutions. 

Early mortality and Still Birth is very distressing for parents, families, and siblings. A grief process kicks in while the mother may still be in the hormonal stimulus preparing for birth even though heartbeat has stopped. A confusing and grief-stricken time with hormonal surges do not help the situation. PTSD, shock, and trauma are involved. Some charities offer bereavement support. Which is a guiding hand helpful in the initial stages. Unfortunately, like any bereavement, grief is a process and carries on long after the event. Parents find it a challenge to come to terms with the situation. It makes it more of a challenge when we have other children to look after and PND/ PTSD, emotionally struggling with sleep deprivation and living shell of self we retreat.  Emotional scars are deep and raw. Relationship strains can be involved.

WHO says early mortality is found mostly in low- and middle-class incomes. Although not a certainty. Poverty does have a part to play, and mothers health is the primary factor.  Early mortality numbers vary around the globe. African states, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have high volumes of early mortality. USA had a high rate of newborn deaths for some decades, planned pregnancies with birth control has helped change practices. Education around safe sleep practices for babies to reduce the risk of sudden death syndrome (SIDS) has helped to reduce volume.

Improving survival and wellbeing 

A big factor is too many newborns die at home due to early discharge from hospital.  WHO thinking is we need more health care provision in place, including improved postnatal mum and baby care by midwives and health visitors, community care structures to reduce pre-term and neonatal deaths. For example, same midwife team throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal period with 24 hours plus hospital stay. Allowing the medics to get a good relationship and know their mums to be before birth. Confidence and relationship would bring better outcomes for new mums with confidence in care.   The first 24 hours is deemed the critical time period.  With overloaded and reduced staffing new mums can feel like they are in a production line without the personal touch.

Pre-term and low body weight in baby can be factors for high risk newborns. Once again, the health of the mother is paramount to the outcome for the infant. 

Reducing alcohol, social drug intake and smoking will help prevent low birth weight. 

If the mother is already an alcoholic or heavy drinker, even if she reduces intake the baby will be pickled in the already consumed alcohol intake, while in gestation and reduced growth due to Foetal alcohol syndrome will be present from conception.  Infant will show low body weight with preterm birth outcomes.  

First 24 hours are the critical time frame. Strengthening quality of care, ensuring availability of quality health services for the small and/or sick newborn are key points from WHO. Some newborns require additional attention and care during hospitalisation and at home to minimise their health risks. 

Low-birthweight and preterm babies:

  • Bonding and skin to skin contact is essential for the newborn, especially the pre-term.
  • increased attention to keeping the newborn warm, including skin-to-skin care, unless there are medically justifiable reasons for delayed contact with the mother.
  • assistance with breastfeeding 
  • additional support for breastfeeding and monitoring growth.
  • extra hygiene attention, especially hand washing
  • education regarding danger signs and the need for care. Parents and/or care giver.

Newborns and HIV infected mothers

  • Many HIV-infected newborns are born prematurely and are more susceptible to infections.
  • HIV testing and care for exposed infants
  • Specialised issues around infant feeding

In western societies the numbers can vary from country to country. Early mortality is low in the western world. However not all countries are equal and third world countries Sub Saharan and African such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, African countries such as Chad, Congo and Central African Republic and Asia are ten times more likely to exit in the first month of life. Malnutrition and disease are the main causes. Numbers are high with early mortality rates from 46 – 81% Source WHO

Early mortalities are found in low- and middle-income countries. World Health Authority shows examples from 2019 with India is the highest with 522,000 deaths per year. Nigeria being at second place with 270,000 and Pakistan 3rd highest with 248,000

Antenatal care, skilled care at birth, postnatal care for mother and baby is key for newborn survival. Read more about pre-term births with case study in PBANG book.

Parental Guidance

Parental skills education and support packages

Joy Wisdom Trust offers a range of packages to help support new and seasoned parents pre and postnatal parental guidance and bigger picture logic for improved child care support. 

We have been misled and misguided from out of date thinking for a long time around parental care and wellbeing. We live in more enlightened times and want a different vision from what happened in our upbringing. Society is more aware of how important children’s bonding to parents are. Children do have traumas around birth process and are fractious from the event. Lack of sleep, poor eating and digestive issues adds to their lack of immediate bonding and sensitivities that need time and patience with children We all know what we would like to improve but may not have the skills or education to do it. Joy as a clinical Cranio Sacral Therapist and specialist in women’s and children’s health has vast experience and knowledge in treating and settling children and parents. Help is at hand to reduce stress and distress for all concerned. As described in PBANG book.

We have been misled and misguided from out of date thinking for a long time around parental care and wellbeing. Living in enlightened times we want a different vision from what happened in our upbringing. Evolution happens this way. Society is more aware of how important children’s bonding to parents are. Children do have traumas around birth process and are fractious from the event. Lack of sleep, poor eating and digestive issues adds to their lack of immediate bonding and sensitivities that need time and patience with children. 

We all know what we would like to improve but may not have the skills or education to do it. Joy Wisdom Trust offers a range of packages to help support new and seasoned parents pre and postnatal parental guidance and bigger picture logic and improved childcare support. 

Parental lack of skills is a factor in infants survival and we need to address and ensure that parents are prepared and educated on what will be necessary for the care of their new infant. What is expected and required when their new bundle of joy is brought home. 

Parents can find themselves out of their depth with a new baby. Sometimes the most educated are ignorant and under educated on the basics of care. Not used to looking after anyone other than themselves can be a problem in baby’s care as it does not include a takeaway menu. 

Some parents glide into the roll fully aware, while other parents don’t have a clue. Either way the baby will need attention and lots of it. It is better to be prepared and sail through the sleepiness nights.  

JWT structures and education packages for new parents are essential for confidence as a parent.  Some mums and dads feel overwhelmed from the birthing event and feel unprepared for what is about to take place in the home with a new baby. 

Family guidance is helpful and can be a boon for some new parents and grateful for the help. While for others it is an intrusion, and they don’t want the interference through pride and muddle through!   Which may be alright for the adult but not a great start for the baby. 

JWT offers Digital and video assistance: One to One and group education support and guidance. 

Book reference:  Pregnancy and Birth Book chapter on step-by-step guidance on preparing for coming home after birth.