Pregnancy Loss Program

If you have ever experienced the loss of a pregnancy, you know how devastating it can be. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), our team of maternal fetal medicine specialists are the best choice for women who have had suffered more than one miscarriage or have had a stillbirth.

We are here to help you have a successful pregnancy. Our care team works closely with you to help reduce risks, have a safe pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.

It’s a good idea to schedule a preconception consultation with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to plan for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

 

LVHN services related to pregnancy loss

Our experienced team can help you have a healthy pregnancy by offering you specialized services, including:

Miscarriage and stillbirth

Miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week of gestation. It is not uncommon; in fact, 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. About one-half of all miscarriages are caused by a random event from extra or missing number of chromosomes in the embryo. This causes abnormal development and the pregnancy ends in a miscarriage. Although miscarriage is fairly common, it does not make it any easier to go through. At LVHN, we’re here to care for you with medical and emotional support.

A stillbirth is a pregnancy that ends after the 20th week of gestation or if a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

While most spontaneous miscarriages are unavoidable, some risk factors for miscarriage and stillbirth are:

  • Maternal age over 35 years
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Smoking, alcohol or substance abuse
  • Untreated thyroid disease
  • Abnormally formed uterus or cervix

Additional risk factors for stillbirth include:

LVHN maternal fetal medical specialists or your obstetrician will help recognize and deal with risk factors that could impact your ability to have a safe and successful pregnancy.

Miscarriage warning signs: When to call the doctor

The typical warning signs of miscarriage – vaginal bleeding and abdominal (belly) cramps – are common in early pregnancy. While most women who experience these symptoms go on to deliver healthy babies, you should still contact your LVHN provider right away if they occur.

Your obstetrician or high-risk pregnancy specialist will likely do a physical exam and an ultrasound to find or dismiss any concerns.

Coping with pregnancy loss

The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group

Parents and families need time to grieve and heal from pregnancy loss before thinking about their next pregnancy. There is not a hard and fast rule about when you can start trying for a baby after the loss of a pregnancy. Your doctor will guide you on when it’s a healthy time to get pregnant again. Whenever you are mentally, emotionally and physically ready, your LVHN care team can help you try again. If you need help to deal with the grief of pregnancy loss, we have a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group that meets regularly to compassionately help those who have experienced a death through miscarriage, stillbirth or loss of an infant.

Helping prevent repeat pregnancy loss

Repeat or recurrent pregnancy loss is defined as having two or more miscarriages. There are many reasons why women suffer repeated miscarriages. Sometimes there can be genetic problems. In other cases there can be a problem with reproductive organs like the uterus. There also can be problems such as an autoimmune disorder, such as antiphospholipid syndrome. In about 50 percent of women, no cause can be found for the recurrent pregnancy loss. What’s important to know is that at LVHN we offer diagnostic tests and exams to help look for the cause of repeated miscarriages. Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and past pregnancies. You may have blood tests to look for immune system problems and uncover genetic causes of repeat miscarriages.

If a specific cause of miscarriage is found, your health care provider may be able to suggest a treatment to deal with the cause.