Amidst the millions of women who welcome a healthy baby every year in the United States, there is a grim reality: miscarriages and stillbirths are still tragically common. Even after childbirth, babies still pass away from SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – most often without any warning. If you have experienced a loss from any of these circumstances, you are not alone. Your grief and loss are real. That’s why October is nationally recognized as Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.
MISCARRIAGE AND STILLBIRTHS
About 1 in 4 women of childbearing age have experienced a miscarriage. A miscarriage is classified as the loss of an infant in utero before 20 weeks of gestation. The vast majority of miscarriages occur during this window of time – up to 80%. While the risk for miscarriage decreases as your pregnancy progresses, stillbirths can sometimes still occur. Stillbirths are pregnancy losses that occur anywhere from 20 weeks all the way to 40+ weeks of gestation. They are rarer than miscarriages and affect approximately 1 in 160 pregnant women. However, the reality is that these statistics are insignificant if you happen to be one of these women. Miscarriages and stillbirths are tragic circumstances that no one should have to go through, but sadly you are likely to know several people who have experienced one, including yourself.
SIDS AND INFANT LOSS
Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month also exists to draw attention to the babies lost in infancy due to SIDS and/or complications from prematurity, other health conditions, etc. SIDS affects about 1,300 families with infants every year in the United States and is the dominant cause of death for babies under a year old. Other forms of infancy loss occur from complications of prematurity, especially if a baby is born very early and/or does not have access to proper equipment and treatment services. Regardless of how or why an infant dies, it is a tragic loss and one that absolutely should be recognized and understood.
If you have experienced or been affected by infancy or pregnancy loss, you are not alone. There are services to help you grieve and work through the life-changing heartbreak of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or SIDS. If possible, seek out a licensed counselor to discuss that specializes in child loss. You deserve and need a dedicated space to walk and talk through your grief with someone who can support and grieve with you as well as help you move forward. Support groups with other women who have experienced these same losses are helpful if you or someone you know feels alone and isolated in their pain and grief. The goal of Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month is to educate the public and recognize the painful realities that parents and families of those affected by any of these losses experience.
To find out more information about local support groups and other resources for grieving parents in Massachusetts, email email@example.com or schedule a free consultation with one of our medical team staff members.