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My sister's baby is dead at 5wks 6days gestation, need some help?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sundevil1, Apr 8, 2002.

  1. sundevil1

    sundevil1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Hey guys,

    I think we have all seen each other go one thing or another and this time I need your help.

    Well, my sister was pregnant for about 9 weeks, she hadn't been feeling well during the past couple of days so she went to the ER. The ultrasound and bloodwork they did confirmed the fetus had been dead for about 4 weeks. The fetus is still inside her, I'm surprised she hasn't miscarried yet. I don't know how to feel about it, I didn't really have much time to get attached to the baby-to-be but it was going to be the first neice/nephew in our family and my parents' first grandchild. We were all excited and we were buying some baby clothes, thinking of names and gathering ideas of how to decorate the baby's room in their new house so it is disappointing and sad.

    Here is couple of questions I have, maybe you guys can help?

    1. My sister was taking birth control pills for some time before deciding it was time to get pregnant. I've heard this can make pregnancies difficult. Do you guys have any info on this? Do you think the death of fetus was due to this? This is of interest to me also, my wife has been taking the "pill" for a number of years now and we would eventually like to start a family in a few years and if this will affect our chances of having a family then I would rather her not take it at all.

    2. My mother had three miscarriages on different occasions but was still able to have three children. Is there something genetic that my sister could have inherited that would put her at higher risk of having miscarriages or unable to carry a pregnancy to term?

    Thanks, any help would be much appreciated.
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  3. E'01

    E'01 1K Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Hi Sundevil - I'm sorry but I don't have any answers to your questions...I just wanted to express my sincere condolescences to you and your family.
  4. nap

    nap Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    Hi Sundevil,

    I am sorry to hear your story. My family also has a lot of fertility problems and I understand how devastating such an experience can be.

    In answer to your first question--My birth control packet says that there is no evidence that really suggests that the pill may interfere with pregnancy, but something along the lines that its uncertain so they dont recommend it.

    Also--im taking a genetics course, and its interesting cause weve just recently learned about reciprocal translocation within a person's genome and that the person who has this abnormality is not affected by it because all of the genes are accounted for, they are just in different places, but that around half of the gametes will not be viable and therefore when fertilized they will be aborted. The other half are okay, but half of the okay ones will also contain the same reciprocal translocation, so it may be passed to the offspring. In which case, the offspring would have the same fertility problems. This can be tested cytologically by looking at the way the chromosomes line up before meiosis, I think. Anyway..i really dont know anything about this stuff...but i thought that the translocation information was interesting.

    Hope this even makes some sense.
  5. Badgerbabe

    Badgerbabe Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Madison, WI
    Hi sundevil,

    Unfortunately I cannot answer you questions, but I did want to offer my prayers and sympathies. I'm sure this is a difficult time for all of you.

    Sincerely, Shannon
  6. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending 10+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2002

    I am no expert in that area so I won't attempt to give you any advice. Like E'01, I just want to send your sister, you, and your family, my thoughts and good wishes. My uncle and his wife gave birth to a premature infant who died upon arrival. It is quite different from what your sister is going through, but a loss is a loss. Make sure your sister doesn't feel to blame and give her lots of hugs.

  7. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    That's terrible. Sorry, sundevil.

    This usually isn't a problem with first pregnancies, but I'm gonna throw it out as a possibility. Perhaps the blood types of your sister and the unborn baby weren't compatible. Do your sister and the father of the baby have the same Rh factor?

    More educated people might find this humorous, but I really don't know if it could be the cause. My mom and I have incompatible blood types, so it just came to my mind. I guess the physican would have mentioned a difference if it were the cause. Like I said, it's probably a dumb guess.
  8. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    sundevil1, I'm sorry to hear such bad news. I hope that your sister and family are doing alright.

    This kind of thing happens quite often, and it would be really hard to definitively blame it on birth control, or anything else. There are certainly numerous genetic factors that can come in to play, but remember that the main reason miscarriages happen is because the mother's body senses a problem with the fetus and/or pregnancy. The fact that your mother had miscarriages can be seen as a relief that her body was able to recognize a problem and take care of it before an unhealthy child was born, or worse - complications were create for your mother.

    Again, I'm sorry that the child could not be born, and wish luck to your sister and your furture neices and nephews.
  9. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Sorry to hear about your family's loss. There is lots of information about miscarriages out there. About 1 in 6 (almost 20 percent) of pregnancies end in miscarriage and about 75 percent are within the first trimester. Researchers believe that about 60 percent of first-trimester miscarriages occur because of genetic abnormalities and it is just the body expelling a malformed fetus. About 90 percent of women that miscarry go on to have a successful pregnancy.
  10. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    Hey Swamp, the reason that the Rh factor problem doesn't come up in the 1st pregnancy is that an Rh- mother doesn't develop an immune ressponse to Rh+ cells until after the first exposure, which shouldn't happen until during birth. (no excange of cells during gestation)

    When I took embryology, it seemed like there were so many things that could go wrong, it amazed me that any children ever come out healthy. :)
  11. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    they test for the RH factor using the ambilical cord blood and the mother's blood, so it isn't a factor until after the 1st birth has occured. at that point, the mom gets an injection to help with the immune response.

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bubba Swamp:
    <strong>That's terrible. Sorry, sundevil.

    This usually isn't a problem with first pregnancies, but I'm gonna throw it out as a possibility. Perhaps the blood types of your sister and the unborn baby weren't compatible. Do your sister and the father of the baby have the same Rh factor?

    More educated people might find this humorous, but I really don't know if it could be the cause. My mom and I have incompatible blood types, so it just came to my mind. I guess the physican would have mentioned a difference if it were the cause. Like I said, it's probably a dumb guess.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
  12. taking the pill isn't supposed to affect one's potential for conceiving and carrying a baby to term, but women are supposed to stop taking it a couple of months before you start trying to conceive. i believe this is because taking the pill causes a thinner uterine lining to form, among other things. that's why women usually menstruate for shorter periods of time and have less heavy flows when they're on the pill. if you don't give your body a couple of months for its hormone levels to balance out to normal so a normal uterine lining will form, you have a greater risk of miscarriage because the fertilized egg can't "hang on" and be protected as well. i don't know if this info applies to your sister, but maybe it will at least help your understanding of the pill. i'm so sorry about your sister's misfortune - i hope she's okay and that everything works out next time.
  13. Doctora Foxy

    Doctora Foxy Meow 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    I just wanted to offer my condolences to you, your siter, and your family. I wish all of you luck in the future.

    About the pill, I read that you are supposed to stop taking it a year before you conceive, as a precautionary measure for the reasons listed above by maitai.
  14. hawkeyes

    hawkeyes Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    Hi Sundevil, my sincerest condolences. Losing a pregnancy is very hard. There is absolutely nothing that your sister did that compromised the pregnancy. It was not the pill, it is not genetic. It certainly does not decrease her chances of getting pregnant and carrying a normal baby in teh future. If she were to have 3 consecutive miscarriages, she should get a genetic workup, but this is the first, right? Studies show that &gt;20% of pregnancies end in first trimester miscarriage. Greater than that, becuase many pregnancies end before women even know they are pregnant. This is becuase of how difficult it is to have perfect meiosis and conception. All the steps that must happen PERFECTLY in order to produce a viable embryo is so complex its a wonder any baby is born! (MIRACLE!) Anyway, the chance of miscarrying in the first trimester is so high becuase of all the things that can happen to produce chromosomal abnormalities. These abl's are so severe that the fetus will never be viable. If it was a second trimester loss, there would other reasons for it (cervical incompetence, blood clotting disorders...). Assure your sister that she has as good a chance in the future of carrying a normal pregnancy. She can technically start trying again after her first normal period, though most would recommend at least 3 cycles later. Hope this helps.
  15. sundevil1

    sundevil1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Thanks to everyone for their help and thoughts. I knew I could count on you guys. My wife and I were talking about this yesterday night after we found out and it just seems sometimes that the people who sometimes don't want a baby, aren't planning to have one and couldn't care for one like careless teens or drug addicts can get pregnant and have babies all of the time. It just seems a bit frustrating and unfair.

    thank you
  16. coop

    coop Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2001
    sundevil, I know nothing that might help you understand these difficult circumstances, looks like you got a lot of good input from other posters. Just wanted to express my sincere condolences, and wish the best of luck to you and your family in dealing with this loss.
  17. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX

    I'm really sorry that this happened to your sister. But, as another poster said, it is NOT her fault. There's no way she did anything that causes this. Make sure she knows that because there is a lot of guilt with this kind of thing. I know because I have been there.

    I have fertility problems, and I have learned A LOT in my trials with this. One thing is that the pill will NOT cause future miscarriages. It also will not cause infertility. OB's recommend that you get off of it for three months before trying to conceive so that they can accurately date a pregnancy - the first ovulation won't necessarily happen right after you quit the pill. However, getting pregnant right after you quit the pill is not uncommon or at all unhealthy.

    Secondly, early miscarriages - especially before the heartbeat is seen on ultrasound - are very common. Approximately 30% of early pregnancies end in miscarriage. The most common problem (approximately 60% of these miscarriages) is a chromosomal problem with the fetus - meaning a trisomy or monosomy (three or one copy of a chromosome). This is almost always caused by a totally RANDOM and unpreventable meiosis problem where the egg or sperm does not split correctly during the meiosis process.

    Having one miscarriage does not increase your risk of having another. Neither does having two. Having three is a slight increased risk. At this point, she doesn't need to worry. However, if she should continue to have recurrent miscarriages, she should see a Reproductive Endocrinologist and have testing done. Most likely, everything will be fine.

    Your sister is probably quite devestated. Please don't tell her that it's for the best because there was something wrong with the baby. That's true, but it won't make her feel better. Just tell her you are really sorry, that it's not in any way her fault, and give her a hug. Having been through this myself, that's the best advice I can give.

    I'm very sorry for your family's loss.
  18. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Excellent advice, Spacecadet!!!
  19. Hoosierdaddy

    Hoosierdaddy Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2001
    Just wanted to express my sincere condolences to you, your sister, and your family. I know how much you were looking forward to this. Like everyone else mentioned, it's important that you support your sister during this rough time. Make sure she doesn't feel any guilt for the miscarriage. Things have a way of working out for the best, even when they don't appear that way at first. I'm sure that when the time is right, your sister will be able to bring a normal, healthy baby into this world. Again, I'm very sorry for your family's loss.
  20. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Pennsylvania, via Tucson
    I am so very sorry to hear about your family's loss. I didn't get a chance to read all of the responses, so I apologize if I'm repetitive.

    First of all, I'm assuming this was her first miscarriage? Actually, the miscarriage rate is thought to be closer to 50% than 20%, although most of these occur before a woman knows she is pregnant. Since she actually miscarried at approx. 5 weeks, it is, unfortunately..or fortunately if you can look at it from a biological standpoint, very common.

    I would suggest finding a support forum. I have used the message boards at <a href="," target="_blank">,</a> and they have over a dozen specific forums on dealing with the loss of a pregnancy, as well as trying to concieve after a loss. Although the board is exceptionally primitive compared to SDN, it might give your sister, her husband, your parents, or anyone else in the family a sense of how many other people are going through the same thing. Until very recently, it was taboo to speak of losing a pregnancy or young child, so many women are unaware of how often it happens.

    If your sister and her husband need more reassurance, I doubt her ob/gyn will be able to do much more than hold her hand, tell her the statistics, and set a time frame for trying again. The doc might also check her hormone levels during a cycle or two, and do early hormone (HCG) testing when another conception occurs. If they want to be more aggressive regarding genetic testing (which, again, I think is unneccesary at this point), they should get a referral for a Reproductive Endocrinologist from their OB/GYN.
    Personally, I think the genetic testing at this point will add more stress than her body and her emotions need. It may take a while to get her cycles funtioning normally after a D & C, so I believe her time is better spent with her husband and family than with doctors.

    Good luck to all involved. YOu are in my thoughts.

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