One of the worst taboos around pregnancies is the shrouded secrecy and silence that women face after going through the tragedy of a miscarriage. Many people may be stunned to learn that upwards of 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and we never talk about that. But that taboo is changing. James Van Deer Beek announced in a pre-interview taping of Dancing with The Stars that his wife suffered a miscarriage over the weekend and it nearly killed her.
The emotional interview showed a visibly shaken and upset Van Der Beek who astonishingly spoke with candid vulnerability. Part of what makes his announcement so shocking, aside from the obvious tragedy of what his family is going through, is that we rarely if ever hear from fathers about the emotional impact of a miscarriage.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks of gestation. There are many causes for why miscarriage happen. The APA sites the following risk factors for miscarriage:
- Infections, hormonal issues, or other underlying health problems
- Lifestyle risks factors such as alcohol, drug, and nicotine use, high intake of caffeine, or exposure to other known toxins
- Maternal age can play a role in the elevated risk of miscarriage
- Maternal trauma including previous miscarriages
There are eight known types of miscarriages that a woman can go through so it is important that expecting moms talk with their health provider if they suspect that something is wrong. Not all signs and symptoms of miscarriage will result in a loss of pregnancy so it is critically important to seek medical help if any of the following signs appear.
- Back pain that ranges from mild to severe, the APA states that this is “often worse than normal menstrual cramps.”
- Weight loss of any kind
- Contractions that are sharp, strong, and occurring every 5 to 20 minutes. It is important to note that this is different from Braxton hicks contractions, which is a normal part of late-term pregnancy.
- Any white or pink mucus appearing
- Bleeding (not all bleeding is a sign of fetal distress but is worth telling your doctor about)
- Any tissue that is expelled from the vagina
- Sudden decrease or loss of pregnancy signs and symptoms (note, though, that not all signs and symptoms stick around throughout the pregnancy. Morning sickness, for example, tends to be temporary.)
Our hearts break for James Van Der Beek and his wife and we hope they are surrounded with the love and support they need to heal during this very sad time. To learn more about miscarriage risk factors, signs, and treatments including prevention, talk to your doctor.