Living with the Effects of an Amniocentesis Miscarriage

During pregnancy, parents may choose to undergo an amniocentesis, which is a medical procedure designed to detect chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders and neural tube defects and administered between 11 to 20 weeks. Amniocentesis is not a routine test since it poses risks to both the mother and the fetus but often it is recommended so that parents can explore and fully understand the health issues of their baby. One of the tragic risks of this procedure is an amniocentesis miscarriage.

Why It Happens

In general, amniocentesis is considered to be a safe procedure with benefits, thus, its popularity in approximately 200,000 women every year who chose to undergo the process. It is only when the risk of miscarriage is brought into the equation do many women chose to accept whatever their baby may be, abnormalities and all, instead of risking their babies’ lives.

The risk of miscarriage in an amniocentesis procedure is small – just 1 in 400 in medical centers where it is regularly performed. But in other clinics, the risks can rise up to 1 in 200. Indeed, the small risk of miscarriage after amniocentesis must be carefully weighed with the potential benefits before the doctor can perform the procedure.

So, how does a miscarriage happen after the amniocentesis? There are three ways by which it can occur:

• The amniotic fluid becomes infected, thus, incompatible with life for the unborn fetus
• The needle pokes the fetus and causes injury, thus, leading to the miscarriage
• The needle causes excessive bleeding during the test, which leads to pregnancy loss

The risk may be small but it is a risk that every parent must face when choosing to undergo amniocentesis.

Dealing with the Heartache

If you have suffered from an amniocentesis miscarriage just days after the procedure you may be wracked with guilt because it was a procedure that could have been skipped entirely. You may blame yourself for exposing your baby to the risks. You may be angry at yourself for making such a decision.  You may suffer from a roller-coaster of emotions that will make it seem impossible to overcome.

A miscarriage after an amniocentesis is a heartbreaking experience but there is something you can do to cope with the pain, the anguish and the fear.

• Acknowledge your own feelings for what these are – real feelings of a human being at the loss of a child
• Accept your feelings instead of repressing them to conform to societal standards
• Seek emotional support from your loving partner, family and friends
• Ask for professional help when your emotions become too hard to bear so much so that these are taking over your life and affecting your relationships
• Know that your path to recovery is your own – stop comparisons but learn from the experience of others

All of these steps in emotional recovery from miscarriage after amniocentesis can be found in greater detail in the book Beyond Pregnancy Loss. Take comfort in that you can regain your life even after the tragic loss of your baby.

Take care


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