By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
There's a good reason to wait until the end of the first trimester to officially begin celebrating your growing belly. While learning that you're pregnant is a joyful moment, pregnancy can be delicate and unpredictable, especially in those early months.
Monday's episode of Giuliana & Bill made this all the more clear when the couple received some devastating news: Giuliana had miscarried the baby that they had worked so hard to conceive (ultimately via IVF). Heartbreaking. And seemingly a common occurrence in our circle of friends.
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To find out what we -- and you! -- can learn from Giuliana's story, we spoke to Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association.
1. You're not alone. You may not hear much about miscarriages (often, people don't share because it's so early on that they haven't made the pregnancy public knowledge), but they're more common than you might think: Of all pregnancies, 15 to 20 percent end in miscarriage with 75 percent occurring in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
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2. Often, nature knows best. There are multiple causes of miscarriages, but about 50 to 60 percent of all miscarriages in the first three months of pregnancy are due to chromosomal abnormalities or genetic errors (this was the case with Giuliana). Other factors that may play a role in miscarriage include structural problems in the uterus, infections, environmental issues, cervical issues and immunologic causes.
3. If you have one miscarriage, you may be at risk for another. The chance of future miscarriage may be related to the cause of the first miscarriage. RESOLVE urges you to be evaluated by a fertility doc following a miscarriage to determine what issues may be impacting your chances of delivering a healthy baby.
4. Increase your odds by seeing a specialist. Collura recommends that women (and their partners) who are having difficulty conceiving or carrying a baby to term see a fertility specialist as soon as possible to increase their chances of conceiving and to pinpoint any issues they may have. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, you should see a fertility specialist if you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year or more, or if you are over 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months. To find the best fertility doc for you, click here.
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5. Find a solid support system. When the joy of pregnancy gives way to the disappointment of a miscarriage, feelings of unreality can set in. Is this really happening to me? This is mixed with a deeper sense of having lost something precious.
If you don't feel comfortable talking to family and friends (some people find this more stressful since they hadn't even told them they were expecting), talk to your doctor about finding a support group or click here to join the conversation at RESOLVE (an internal study by the organization found that women who joined support groups were more likely to have a healthy pregnancy in the future!).
Bonus: Having trouble getting pregnant? Check out this very important video message from Giuliana and Bill.
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Photo Credit: WWD