Infertility,  Miscarriage,  Pregnancy

A Pregnancy Loss is NOT a “Heavy Period”

I know that every pregnancy loss is different. Depending on a lot of different things, the physical process might very well just be like a heavy period. However, I think that doctors could and should do a better job of preparing women for all of the possible realities of what pregnancy loss can include.

Aside from the physical experience being different from a heavy period, the emotional aspect is clearly different as well. A pregnancy loss is not just the passing of blood and tissue. It’s the loss of a life. It’s death and birth all in one moment. To call that a “heavy period”, to equate it with a normal, regular reproductive function is insulting to the little life lost, as well as to the grieving parents.

My first two losses were, physically, very much like a heavy period. When my doctor went over what to expect during my third loss, she again used the description of a “heavy period”. Since that was pretty much my experience with my previous two, I figured I knew the drill. I was wrong. (If you haven’t read about my third pregnancy loss, you can start here.) I was completely caught off guard by the physical intensity of my third loss. I know there’s no way a doctor can predict exactly what is in store for a woman during any given pregnancy loss, but I feel like there needs to be a change in the way it’s talked about.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess I just wanted to start a conversation and see if anyone else has been similarly unprepared for all that a pregnancy loss can include.

Please, let me know your experience.

  • Do you feel your doctor gave you accurate, adequate information of what to expect during the physical process of pregnancy loss?
  • Would a description of a “heavy period” sufficiently describe the physical process of your pregnancy loss?
  • What surprised you most about the process (physically or emotionally)?
  • What advice would you give to someone going through a pregnancy loss for the first time?

One Comment

  • Karen @

    I was led to expect a “heavy period” too. I experienced contractions for days with my first. The second was totally different. Maybe I’ll write about it one day. But, as I talked about in my most recent blog, the body knows when a baby is lost. It was not just a period – there was real grief. Best wishes on your healing process, Heather.