Pregnancy is normally thought of as a time for joy and celebration. However, not all couples get to experience it quite that way. For many couples, their joy and celebration is cut short when they are devastated by the loss a miscarriage brings. This loss is felt and handled uniquely by both partners. However, miscarriage is much more common than one would think, and there are resources available to help these couples through this traumatic event.
What is a Miscarriage: Description, Statistics, and Causes
Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is thought of as a pregnancy that ends on its own within the first 20 weeks. Regardless of when the pregnancy ends, a miscarriage is a common occurrence and affects many people.
It is very difficult to ascertain the actual number of miscarriages that take place because many occur before the mother even realizes she is pregnant. However, it is estimated that "about half of all fertilized eggs die and are miscarried, usually even before the woman knows she is pregnant" (WebMD, 2001, p.
1). In addition, many miscarriages go unreported when they happen at home, as the mothers do not seek medical attention. Furthermore, according to Daiter (2003), "In the USA, there is no formal reporting of pre-viable pregnancy losses to a centralized agency as there is with live birth statistics" (p. 1). This loss of information can explain why it is so difficult to truly understand the substantial number of miscarriages that take place.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 miscarriages take place annually (Bowles, et al, 2000, p. 2). This equates to approximately 20% of all pregnancies, or one in five, ending in miscarriage (Turkington, 1995, p.1). The majority of these miscarriages actually take place during the first 12 to...