The spontaneous abortion and the feelings of guilt that accompany it

The spontaneous abortion and the feelings of guilt that accompany it

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A Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion can be an extremely sad and devastating experience For many women. They often feel guilty when they suffer a perinatal loss; especially if they have had other abortions before.

However, a pregnancy that ends because of a miscarriage is a much more common experience than it might seem among women.


  • 1 What is a miscarriage?
  • 2 Prevalence of spontaneous abortion
  • 3 Predisposing factors of a miscarriage
  • 4 Signs of abortion
  • 5 Feelings of guilt after having an abortion
  • 6 A feeling of loss

What is a spontaneous abortion?

A miscarriage is known as embryonic or fetal death and the consequent loss of pregnancy that occurs naturally before having reached the 20th week of gestation.

The main threat of abortion is vaginal bleeding (without cervical dilation) that occurs before 20 weeks, and indicates the probability of abortion in a woman with a confirmed viable intrauterine pregnancy. The diagnosis is made through clinical criteria and ultrasound.

Generally, when the first signs appear, the most common treatment is to make absolute rest, gynecological control and, if abortion has already occurred or seems inevitable, observation and uterine emptying (curettage).

Prevalence of spontaneous abortion

Miscarriage occurs in at least 15-20% of all recognized pregnancies, that is, one in five, and generally occurs before the 13th week of pregnancy.

The rate of spontaneous abortion increases as the maternal age, being less than 15% below 35 years, 25% between 35 and 40 years and more than 50% in women over 40 years.

More than 80% of abortions happen before week 12. Apparently, the probability of a pregnancy being interrupted after week 9 is less than 3%. In some cases, a woman may experience a miscarriage without even noticing it.

Some women suffer repeat abortions. We talk about repeat abortions when they occur three or more successive abortions or five or more non-consecutively.

Predisposing factors of a miscarriage

The main causative factor of a miscarriage is the presence of some chromosomal defect in the fetus. It is believed that up to 70% of natural abortions are caused by this reason.

This does not mean that parents have to have any kind of problem related to their ability to conceive a baby. What it means is that that ovule and that particular sperm have resulted in an embryo that cannot develop or implant correctly.

Other factors causing a miscarriage are:

  • Uterine or cervical problems (uterine malformation)
  • Uterine infections.
  • Unusual hormone levels.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins.

Risk factor's

There are innumerable risk factors that are believed to increase the risk of having a miscarriage, including:

  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Maternal age (as maternal age increases, the risk of having a miscarriage is higher).
  • Poorly controlled diabetes.
  • Problems with the thyroid gland.
  • Chronic diseases such as lupus.
  • High fever.
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Use of an IUD at the time of conception.

Because spontaneous abortions are very common during the first trimester, doctors (usually) do not perform medical tests to determine the exact causes that led to the abortion.

If a woman were experiencing repeated miscarriages, both the woman in question and her partner should be examined for evaluate the presence of any fertility problem.

Abortion signs

Typical signs of a miscarriage are hemorrhage and abdominal cramps. In the event that a pregnant woman presents these symptoms, it will be important to make an urgent medical consultation, indicating if the bleeding is accompanied by mild cramping or back pain.

When the signs of an abortion begin to appear, even in those women who do not believe they are pregnant, it is always best to sin prudently and undergo the necessary medical examinations without wasting time.

Feelings of guilt after having an abortion

The fact of going through a miscarriage can be a very devastating experience. It is not surprising that many women, apart from an intense feeling of sadness over the loss, present regrets and blame for believing they have done something wrong.

In addition to being able to generate complications at an organic level, spontaneous abortion has a strong psychological impact with symptoms of depression and anxiety, being able to prolong its negative effects for months and influence subsequent pregnancies.

On the other hand, feelings of guilt and shame in women experiencing miscarriages are exacerbated by wrong thoughts and beliefs about their causes, according to a study conducted in 2013 in the USA.

The investigation showed that until 47% of women who suffer a miscarriage feel guilty of it. Up to 76% of them thought that their abortion had occurred due to high levels of stress, 64% that had been for lifting a heavy object, 28% for having carried an IUD (intrauterine device) for some time before pregnancy. , and 22% for taking oral contraceptives (the pill) before becoming pregnant.

Thus, more than forty percent of the women in this study they thought they had had the abortion because they had done something wrong during their pregnancy, and almost thirty percent felt very ashamed.

But we must be aware that in most cases this is not so, abortion is something that had to happen, most likely because it is an unfeasible fetus. In any case, in the cases in the doctors who knew what the cause of the abortion was and communicated it to the woman, her guilt disappeared, but unfortunately this did not happen when the doctors did not find the cause of the spontaneous abortion.

A feeling of loss

A strong feeling of loss also accompanies all the emotions described above. But experiment a feeling of loss involves starting a duel, and grief is a process that all people must go through to face any type of loss. Accepting the grieving process allows you to explore the meaning of pregnancy and incorporate the experience of abortion into the journey of life.

The woman's body will also experience hormonal changes that can affect your emotional state immediately after abortion. You have to allow time for the body to adapt.

At first, the woman may feel denial: "This does not seem real" or "This cannot be happening to me." After the denial, you may feel depression and anger: "I feel sad and angry because this has happened to me." Over time, acceptance will come.

It is also important not to worry too much if you feel sad, but to recognize that sadness can be part of any important life process. However, if sadness persists for a long period of time and continues to interfere with your daily life, it may be good to seek professional advice and support.