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Is it really a miscarriage?

(44 Posts)
Bluebellwould Sat 31-Jul-21 18:48:34

Whilst I have total sympathy for anyone who has a miscarriage, I do wonder if they are not what we would have called them back in the day.
Pregnancy tests are now so sensitive that, I believe, you can tell that you are pregnant the day after conception. In my child bearing years (1980’s) you had to wait until 2 weeks after your period was due to even get a hint. Many women would have lost a pregnancy before knowing and it was usually put down to a late period or erratic cycle. I could go months between periods and was 20 weeks pregnant with my first child before I even knew.
Was ignorance bliss?
A late period surely doesn’t warrant the same distressing thoughts as a miscarriage would cause. I hope I’m explaining myself properly and not causing upset. I was just wondering if advancing technology (pregnancy tests) has caused more upset and not been as helpful as might have been hoped.

NfkDumpling Sun 01-Aug-21 20:12:05

When I had my late miscarriage I too felt I was surrounded by babies and pregnant women. I remember coming out of the local supermarket and seeing a tiny baby in a pram left outside the shop the way they were in those days and for one second, just one second I had that urge which some poor ladies had and gave into, to take that baby. Fortunately babies are never left outside shops nowadays.

I also often wonder what happened to my baby. At over 27 weeks he would maybe have lived now, but he was taken away and I assume went the way of all foetus'. Now, I think he would have had a funeral perhaps? It was nearly 50 years ago and I was just kept in one night (in the maternity ward with the mothers) and sent home next day. Like all women before us we were just supposed to get over it and get on with life.

GillT57 Sun 01-Aug-21 14:05:58

I have heard the term rainbow baby, it is an acknowledgement of the ones who didn't make it and rather nice I think. I miscarried my first at around 8-10 weeks and certainly would not have been heartened to hear about other pregnancies, on the contrary I seemed to be surrounded by pregnant women, women with small children, many of whom to my eyes seemed to be unfit Mothers. They weren't of course, it was my grief.

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 01-Aug-21 12:02:21

I do think it was easier OP. We knew less, and so less to grieve over. I’ve had two miscarriages, both at 13 weeks, but could have had more, just never knew.

When I was nursing in the early eighties, it was thought then, that every woman lost her first baby, due to immaturity of the womb, but would have been far too early to test for.

Once you know, it doesn’t matter if it’s at conception, or months later. It’s a baby.

winterwhite Sun 01-Aug-21 11:55:39

I thought that early miscarriages had some other name. Spontaneous abortion?

What I find rather strange is the thought (expressed by Carrie and by Meghan) that women trying to conceive after a miscarriage will be heartened by hearing about other women's success. I had an ectopic pregnancy, and remember I could have scratched the eyes out of any woman announcing a pregnancy before I became pregnant again myself.

Had never heard the term rainbow baby before.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 01-Aug-21 11:28:42

If you want children and cannot have them, the sadness and pain are the same whether we are just talking about getting your hopes up because your period was two weeks late and breaking down in tears when it started, or a miscarriage after the pregnancy had been confirmed.

Surely, any woman who misses her period thinks, "Am I pregnant?" either in joy or dread.

They did when I was young.

lemsip Sun 01-Aug-21 09:29:56

harrigran That happened with my sister. Taken to hospital had D&C to clear womb and home to carry on..... sad but that was what happened back then.

lemsip Sun 01-Aug-21 09:27:14

I had to go to the doctor's to have pregnancy confirmed not before missing two periods. No over the counter pregnancy tests back then......

harrigran Sun 01-Aug-21 09:24:33

When I had my children there were no over the counter pregnancy tests, by the time you had a result from the doctor's surgery you probably knew anyway.
In my early marriage my menstrual cycle was erratic so could have had early miscarriages but the one that stays with me was when I was 16+ weeks. I was taken to hospital, delivered the foetus and had a D&C, I went home and it wasn't mentioned again. Different times, I had a toddler to look after and didn't have time to dwell on what might have been.

Grammaretto Sun 01-Aug-21 08:58:18

I believe there is more expectation nowadays (excuse the pun) to have a baby when you want to and if you have a problem conceiving or carrying to term, there is help out there.
When I saw the surgeon before my hysterectomy - I had 4 grown up DC and was nearly 60- he asked me if I had finished my family!
I laughingly reminded him of my age and he said, quite seriously, he also ran the fertility clinic so knew that women had to be certain before saying goodbye to their wombs.

Witzend Sun 01-Aug-21 08:13:54

Way back in the 50s or early 60s an aunt who’d moved to Canada didn’t tell us she was expecting her 4th until it had arrived safely, because she’d had 2 miscarriages after no. 3. Also, my mother told me that a GM who’d had 6 children, one of whom died at 8 months, had also had more than one miss.

Lincslass Sun 01-Aug-21 07:45:24

Incredibly heartbreaking for all involved, thinking of a happy time then having it be either a late period, or an early/ late miscarriage. Have been with women and their partners through this heartbreak, touches you every time. Having experienced a miscarriage and loss of a child, no matter who you are, from whatever walk of life, the devastation is the same.

NfkDumpling Sun 01-Aug-21 06:42:32

You're right, JackyB, that our parents generation didn't talk about such things openly. 'Women's problems' were only whispered about with very close women friends and family. My parents wanted more children than just me, but it never happened so they just accepted that was how it was. If my DM had miscarriages she never ever spoke of them. Our generation broke the mould and talked a bit more openly and questioned. Now periods and pregnancy problems are spoken of in general conversation. Everything is out in the open. No mourning quietly and politely behind closed doors.

JackyB Sun 01-Aug-21 06:07:22


I don't remember this pressure of trying for a baby that all the young ones talk about now. I dont know anyone my age who tried, they just arrived naturally.

From what my parents said, they tried for a long time to have children. They married in 1944 and although they didn't want to start a family straight away, by the time I was finally conceived in 1954 they had been desperate and had had some treatments. I don't know the details as they didn't talk about it much to us and they admitted themselves they didn't really understand that sort of thing.

CafeAuLait Sun 01-Aug-21 01:28:28

It's a loss at whatever stage. How a woman feels about that is individual. We all have different situations, different perspectives on early pregnancy loss and different starting points in where we are emotionally at any point in life. That might affect how we react to an early pregnancy loss. I didn't wait until 12 weeks to tell people I was pregnant.

JaneJudge Sat 31-Jul-21 23:04:58

I suppose early pregnancy tests are useful for women to navigate their lives in either sense

Witzend Sat 31-Jul-21 22:59:23

kircubbin2000, if they are more common now, I dare say it’s because many women are having babies later. My dd was 38 when she had her first, and many of her friends have been the same.
OTOH back in the 70s I was down in my notes as an ‘elderly primigravida’ - at 28! Fair enough then I suppose - I was easily the oldest on the postnatal ward. One of the youngest mothers actually said, ‘I hope I look like you when I’m 28!’ - which made me feel about 90!

PaperMonster Sat 31-Jul-21 22:42:08

I had three miscarriages around the 12 week mark. Not one of them could have been mistaken for a heavy period (and I’ve had some very bad periods) - in fact with one of them there was very little blood and of course there’s the foetus to pass. My first ended up with me being blue-lighted to hospital and being admitted for four nights as I was that poorly with it. None of the people I’ve known who have had miscarriages have ever described them as being like periods at all! Miscarriages are up to week 24, from there on they’re classed as still births.

Witzend Sat 31-Jul-21 22:37:58

I dare say a lot of what were very early misses used to be put down as late periods. I read somewhere that around one in six pregnancies ends naturally in a miscarriage, because something is wrong. A dd had one at only about 6 weeks, after a positive test, and another - a ‘missed’ miscarriage, i.e. she still had symptoms, but there was nothing on the scan, at 8 weeks. That one was particularly distressing, but she went on to have 3 trouble free pregnancies.

I don’t know about anybody else, but long before you could buy tests, I knew I was pregnant very early on both times, because of a weird tingling in my right breast - exactly the same each time.

NotSpaghetti Sat 31-Jul-21 22:37:05

So much pain here.

NfkDumpling Sat 31-Jul-21 22:24:29

I had at least two miscarriages after my DD1 was born. Both just after I'd "missed" for the second time but before I'd seen the doctor. The second time was later so must have been around 11/12 weeks. I was upset but not bereft. I think I'd felt one move but felt no real connection with the embryo.

My very first pregnancy however, was a different matter. I lost him at 27, nearly 28 weeks. The surgeon said he was perfect and so he remains, perfect. There was only one incubator in the hospital and that was being used so he had no hope of survival. I mourned him, but got over it and conceived again.

I think though that late miscarriages especially are much harder to bear these days, especially as so many leave trying for a child later in life. Time is often running short. Nowadays the parents have known about the baby longer, know its sex, have named it and its much more of a person. My lost son didn't have a name. I didn't know he was a boy until he was born. I don't think I was as attached as a mother is now.

Babies these days are more likely to survive from an early stage and I think should be considered as still births from 24 weeks.

Oldbat1 Sat 31-Jul-21 21:54:42

I think 20% of pregnancies in your 30s end in miscarriage and increases rapidly in 40+ Age group. In my day you wouldn’t necessarily know and just put it down to a late or heavy period. I continued to bleed on and off through pregnancy.

lemsip Sat 31-Jul-21 21:17:14

I understand what you mean bluebellwould back in the day
when there were no scans . we were never sure until 3 months gone by then you would tell the family the good news.... had a nine week loss, doctor didnt call it miscarriage so neither did I.....Realise now of course that it was indeed.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 31-Jul-21 21:05:17


When I left work to have my first child many of my colleagues didn’t even realise I was pregnant. Because my mum had struggled to have a baby that lived I didn’t believe I would have a baby until I brought it home. I remember telling one friend before the first 12 weeks were up and he said he’d congratulate me in a few weeks time. I was much happier with that than people that were gushingly happy. I guess it was because of my mum that I was like that. I wish I’d spoken to her about it. Maybe that’s why I’m such a glass half empty sort of person.

I totally understand 💐💐

MayBee70 Sat 31-Jul-21 21:03:15

When I left work to have my first child many of my colleagues didn’t even realise I was pregnant. Because my mum had struggled to have a baby that lived I didn’t believe I would have a baby until I brought it home. I remember telling one friend before the first 12 weeks were up and he said he’d congratulate me in a few weeks time. I was much happier with that than people that were gushingly happy. I guess it was because of my mum that I was like that. I wish I’d spoken to her about it. Maybe that’s why I’m such a glass half empty sort of person.

Kali2 Sat 31-Jul-21 20:58:54



Imagine that is must be very different if trying and trying for a baby and hope so much that this time it will all be fine, and a period happens and destroys those hopes.

Yes it is indescribably heartbreaking.

In such cases, I totally understand the pain, and it happened to a few friends in the late 60s. So sorry you had to go through this.

My first was the best mistake I ever made- and the second arrived as soon as I stopped BF.