Pregnancy Loss, in all its many forms, can be a complicated time of rich and raw emotions, sensations, and needs. Skilled support throughout the experience, whether in-person or from a distance, can go a long way in helping with coping, healing, and honoring the transformative experience.

Midwifery care through pregnancy loss can provide a powerful healing presence in addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, including:

  • a safe and knowledgeable place to ask hard questions
  • a skilled practitioner to facilitate the process in your chosen environment
  • connections to supportive community resources
  • encouragement to build a lasting self-care plan
  • transitions into fertility management and decisions post-pregnancy loss however feels best for you
  • suggestions (where safe and reasonable) for herbs, homeopathy, and other alternative healing modalities for symptom management
  •  heartfelt discussion on loss, grief, relief, love, and the full range of emotions you may be feeling through the process

Ideally, this work is best accomplished in-person as physical contact and nourishing in-person care is invaluable. In the event of any clinical or physical needs, midwives may be able to perform skills and assistance depending upon the situation and scope of practice. When there is no skilled midwife or other preferred provider in your area offering holistic care through pregnancy loss, I can offer this work from a distance. You can expect regular communication by phone, email, video, text (or your other preferred method), counseling and consultation, extended follow-up care, and personal, devoted time on your own schedule.

While handling pregnancy loss is a part of every midwife’s education, I am uniquely prepared and experienced as a midwife in these areas. I have experienced abortion and miscarriage in my own body as powerful, challenging, and deeply changing experiences. I have been the primary care provider for clients through numerous abortions and miscarriages, offering holistic, alternative care in my home communities and from a distance for almost a decade. These losses have ranged throughout first and second trimester for a wide variety of reasons, needs, families, individuals, and environments. I have also been the primary provider for four stillbirths, managing the complicated range of emotions, needs, and deliveries in a variety of families and settings. These have been challenging, moving, and inspiring experiences, reminding me of the incredible strength of my clients and the incredible benefits of offering holistic care at what is such a critically intimate time.

Miscarriage

Experiencing spontaneous loss, or miscarriage of a pregnancy can be a sudden, surprising, and often saddening fertility experience. We know that at least 1 in 5 pregnancies spontaneously end in miscarriage and the experience can bring about a range of emotions, questions, and changes. Most spontaneous miscarriages will physically resolve themselves naturally, but many clients may seek care for pain management, assessment of safe blood loss, emotional and spiritual questions and support, holistic and nutritional support of the body, and in some cases care for resolving the miscarriage clinically. Midwives can be appropriate and excellent providers for all these needs.

For some, experiencing miscarriage can be a heartbreaking experience, if the pregnancy was deeply wanted or carefully planned. Others may feel ambivalent or even joyful and relieved. Still others feel rage or betrayal, grief or depression, regret or pain. Almost all clients experiencing miscarriage have questions about their body, health, and fertility. Beyond clinical care, midwifery care for miscarriage can offer a heartfelt acknowledgement of all these questions and feelings, and a safe place to seek answers, support, comfort, and resources. Many clients build a relationship with their midwife at this time, who will later help them with other fertility experiences and concerns, including (where applicable) future pregnancies

When working with midwifery care during miscarriage, clients usually spend time exploring:

  • the likelihood of their specific case to continue miscarrying naturally or need for intervention
  • a full range of options for methods and providers for assisting the miscarriage clinically, including hospital, clinic, and home-based options
  • assessing current symptoms or complications and recommended courses of action including holistic and clinical options
  • suggestions for pain-coping techniques
  • full physical exam, often with ability to assess needs at this time, any other gynecological needs, run bloodwork, etc.
  • nutritional and herbal recommendations for building strength through the miscarriage
  • nutritional, herbal, and other holistic recommendations for extended after-care post-miscarriage
  • spiritual counseling and grounding, including recommendations around ritual and ceremony for processing the experience
  • personal discussion on relating to current and future fertility, sexuality, family and partners, and self
  • connection to local resources and support
  • building a solid, realistic, supportive self-care plan to encourage the best possible experience

Some clients seek midwifery care while they are waiting to miscarry after the knowledge that the pregnancy cannot continue, and other seek care when a miscarriage has already begun. Care may largely depend on when care was sought and how far along the pregnancy had been.

Clients in-person and long-distance can expect a lengthy initial intake meeting (about 2 hours) which may include any necessary or desired exams, discussion and consultation on above topics or any others that come to heart at the time.

Clients in-person and long-distance can expect 6 weeks of post-miscarriage care to ensure integrated healing, continued support, and discussions on returning to fertility. During these six weeks clients can expect 5-10 appointments with the midwife (either in person or long-distance), depending upon their needs. Appointments are usually 45-60 minutes, and are un-rushed, personal healing time.

Stillbirth

Experiencing stillbirth is almost always a devastating and unexpected experience. Stillbirth is described as a sudden ending of development in a pregnancy after “viability”, or when a baby could live outside the womb. In most cases this means individuals or families have had many months to anticipate and plan for a baby entering their lives only to have that abruptly ended. While some stillbirths are anticipated due to anomalies or developmental abnormalities, or sudden experiences during the pregnancy, still others happen for no known reason at all. Coping with this news and subsequent decision-making can be daunting and challenging to most individuals and families.

Midwifery care for clients experiencing stillbirth can be as a primary care provider (where legal) in an out-of-hospital setting or supplemental to clinical care. Most clients will seek care in any of the following ways:

  • emotionally and spiritually exploring the range of options for delivery and comfort to all involved throughout
  • exploring a full range of options for methods and providers for delivery, including hospital, clinic, and home-based options
  • assessing current pregnancy symptoms and alleviation if desired while waiting for the stillbirth
  • full physical exam where desired
  • nutritional and herbal recommendations for building strength before the delivery
  • nutritional, herbal, and other holistic recommendations for extended after-care post-stillbirth
  • spiritual counseling and grounding, including recommendations around ritual and ceremony for processing the experience
  • personal discussion on relating to current and future fertility, sexuality, family and partners, and self
  • connection to local resources and support
  • building a solid, realistic, supportive self-care plan to encourage the best possible experience

Clients in-person and long-distance can expect a lengthy initial intake meetingwhich may include any necessary or desired exams, discussion and consultation on above topics or any others that come to heart at the time. Stillbirth clients are some of the most tender and deeply cared for in practice, and you can expect devoted, compassionate care through this experience.

Clients in-person and long-distance can expect at least 6 weeks of postpartum care to ensure integrated healing, continued support, and discussions on returning to fertility, family life, work, etc. Clients and midwife will establish a realistic schedule together, prioritizing healing, continuous support, and community engagement and resources to feel fully held up and supported.

Post-Loss Healing

It is never too late to engage with holistic healing post-loss and many may find engaging with skilled midwifery care at this time deeply healing and honoring of their body.

Midwifery care for pregnancy loss usually lasts 6+ weeks, in keeping with the way we care for clients after a birth.

Post-loss healing may focus on:

  • nutritional, herbal, homeopathic, and other healing modalities to support growth, recovery, and transformation in the body.
  • pain-coping techniques where necessary
  • suppression of lactation and other pregnancy-related symptoms that may follow loss where desired
  • holistic options for building blood, restoring iron, and optimizing healing after blood loss
  • emotional and spiritual resolution or processing, including ritual and ceremony where appropriate
  • connection with online and in-person support groups and community
  • exploration of feelings about fertility and future conception and pregnancy
  • exploration of sexuality and feelings about self, partner, families, supporters, etc.
  • love, support, kindness, and encouragement

Caring for clients post-loss is a meaningful passion of mine, as an aspect of reproductive health care I have seen to be greatly lacking. When we work toward holistic healing and processing of loss we are better equipped to handle future fertility experiences and integrate the loss into our lives in a healthy way. Too often, losses remain stagnant in our lives without any facilitation of how to move with and through them and bring them into a revered part of who we are. We can change this. We can offer ourselves and our clients exquisitely compassionate care through these challenging times in their life as an investment in healing and honoring not only this experience but all past and future fertility experiences as well.