Are we learning we are pregnant to early?

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Jbaum2's picture
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Are we learning we are pregnant to early?

PLEASE NOTE - THIS IS NOT TO UPSET OR ANGER ANYONE. AS SOMEONE WHO HAS HAD 4 MISCARRIAGES AND IS PREGNANT AGAIN, I FOUND THIS INTERESTING WHEN TALKING TO MY MOM ABOUT IT....

Here is an interesting debate. My mom and I were talking about her pregnancy's (She has 6 kids) and mine and how they are very different.

Back when she had kids, you weren't pregnant until you missed three periods (so you would be into your 2nd trimester) when you found out. Anything else was just a delayed period. - she says that was the way of thinking back then.

Now, you can find out your pregnant before you have even missed your period. Dr's can intervene early if they think you may lose your baby and give you medication and what not to prevent a pregnancy loss.

After owning farm animals and trying to breed them, you find that the mortality rate and misscarriage rate are HUGE. It's natures way of "weeding out" the ones that won't be strong enough to survive after birth. We don't intervine there. we just let nature take it's course.

With the rise of disabilities and mental issues we are seeing in people, could this be related? Are we "saving" children that nature would otherwise deem "unfit" to survive?

After my last loss, my mom started to research what an early miscarriage was. She said, based on the discriptions she read, she could have easily miscarried 7 or 8 times in the first trimester if not more. (She had one miscarriage in the 2nd trimester) She couldn't imagine going through that mentally or physically. She feels for every woman who has lost a child by miscarriage.

Many of my friends and family who are trying to start families are having "Fertility" probelms. Losses of pregnany before even 6 weeks. Is this a new epidemic? or is this natures way of saying the egg didn't split correctly? something that has been happening for hundreds of years even before technology could trace it.

Here's an example: when hatching chicken eggs, your told to expect up to a 70% mortality rate. Meaning 70% of the eggs you try to hatch (even if they are fertilized) will not become a viable chicken. They will miscarry withen the 21 days of developement. Think about seeds you plant in a garden. Do all of the seeds grow? no they don't. Some don't fertilize or germinate properly and they don't either sprout or they don't make it past seedling stage. It's not a travesty. It's how Nature works. Survival of the fittest, right?

How much stress and guilt does a couple go under every time they find out they have lost another baby? even if they are only 6 weeks along. The self blame and guilt is horrible to go through. Dr's tell you not to blame your self it's normal, but how many actually feel better after hearing that. They don't. I know I didn't.

I would like to hear what others think of that? Are we as a society finding out we are pregnant to early and putting an undue amount of stress on our bodies and minds and in turn our developing babies? Are we unable to accept natures way of "weeding" out the ones that won't survive or will be sickly after birth?

I mean this in no way to belittle or put down or minimize anyones loss. knowing you have lost a child is horrible and it hurts, there's no question about that. I've been there, I know.

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I don't know about the stress.....thats a tough one. There was just a show on PBS last night about stress and its negative effects on people (and animals in general). But at the same time i can sympathize with people's desires to learn early about pregnancy....there are so many reasons to want to know and its a big deal so naturally people like to find out ASAP.

I think teaching people stress management is a better solution than just saying "This causes too much stress"...and really pregnancy is stressful anyway, even if everything turns out fine, most people are not relaxed during pregnancy.

Besides, i think most of us are well aware of when we miscarry. Perhaps back then the rules about learning about pregnancy were different, but you can't 'unlearn' what we as society knows now....so its very likely that you would know anyway.

And as far as this idea of miscarriage and natural selection, i don't think doctors can do very much to intervene and stop early miscarriages anyway. Its not like they know its going to happen and if somethign is so wrong with the fetus that in can't survive...its going to miscarry whether you knew it was there or not.

Its a poor argument anyway...because we have been 'intervening' with natural selection anyway. We save people from diseases they should have died from, we treat chronic conditions that would have left someone potentially unlikely to procreate. We bring 'weaker' people back from serious accidents.

We just don't live in a society where we value natural selection over individual life. I'm kind of glad about that.

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I agree with Kim....I am a fan of medical information. Also, as someone who had a miscarriage, I never blamed myself. My stress was grief, intense grief, but not blame. And I think it's helpful to know asap when you're pregnant so you can stop drinking, smoking, etc.

It's not like things were better back in the day. My grandmother lost a baby while she was pregnant and doctors had her CARRY IT TO TERM. The poor woman. Back then you didn't talk about such things much so she had to grieve quietly while people treated her like a pregnant person carrying a healthy baby.

Bottom line, I don't see a way to go backwards, nor do I think it would be better if we did. Maybe we can get better at helping people cope with miscarriages since we know they are common instead of trying to make it so they don't know they're happening, which doesn't make much sense anyway.

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I agree Kim.

I was going to use almost the exact same verbiage about how you can't just go back and "unlearn" things. And I also agree that while a chemical pregnancy might be easily confused with just a late period, later in the pregnancy (and not MUCH) later, at that at least by 7-8 weeks along there I can't imagine anyone actually confusing a miscarriage with a late period, even if that is what they called it.

I do think that sometimes it's a bad idea to do the testing that many of us have done at 10, 11, 12 days past ovulation (and I say that with no judgement, because I have done it too) because I think that in the case of a chemical pregnancy where your period is only a couple of days late and you are really none the wiser, that *would* be kinder than finding out early and then losing it. But again, by 2-ish months in I just can't believe that would be possible. I have been through it, and it is NOT like getting your period.

I don't know that there is much that we can actually do to prevent miscarriages of "imperfect" fetuses. The measures that I have discussed with my doctor have had more to do with the mother than the baby. Progesterone for a mother that may not be making enough progesterone, baby aspirin for a mother whose blood has a tendency to clot. I don't think that there is much they can do for a baby that has a genetic issue.

In the end, I agree with Kim that we are a culture that does not truly value survival of the fittest in other areas of our healthcare - if that were the case we would let people die of diseases every day. I'm glad that we are not, even if it adds a little more heartbreak to the mix, sometimes.

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As far as natural selection, I disagree with the idea that doctors do much to prevent miscarriages. There isn't anything that can be done to prevent very early losses beyond possibly hormonal treatment for habitual miscarriages, but that would be a preventative measure in response to previous losses, not in "treatment" for an occurring one.

As far as finding out early, personally, I don't test before my period is due because it can cause unnecessary grief, confusion, and stress.

Pre-OCT pregnancy tests, I still think women *knew* they were pregnant before the 3 months were up. They just didn't tell because they didn't know *for sure* and they suffered in silence if they suffered a loss before then.

I have an aunt that has one child. They desperately wanted to have more babies and she got pregnant month after month, every time losing the baby at 2-3 months in her words "more times than she can count". No pregnancy tests, but she knew she was pregnant.

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I admit to not understanding the testing early mania, but then again I have never really "TTC" in the formal manic way that is commonly accepted as normal on these boards. We just had sex and stuff, and then when I was late I took a test. To me, it seems awfully stressful, and I think that it is hard to argue that stress is good for anyone, pregnant or not.

I think that if people think that it makes them happy to test early, to obsess over squinty lines, and then to suffer over the results of those lines or non lines, that is entirely their prerogative.

I don't know enough about the true rates of confirmed pregnancy now/then vs. fetal outcomes to surmise as to whether early losses are epidemic, or on the rise from generations ago when they didn't have the ability to pick up HCG at like, implantation. I don't think that natural selection enters the equation until one is talking about IVF, IUI, micropreemies and the like. That is an entirely different debate. As there is relatively little that can be done to prevent early loss rather than unproven and potentially simply palliative measures (like increased U/S or progesterone etc) it is hard to argue natural selection when it comes to early testing for pregnancy, IMO.

I think that people have to do whatever makes them happy. I do believe that for many people, they might be more happy (and have more money) were they to not waste money on 3000 pee sticks and the emotional chaos that they can cause. There are also probably a small minority who benefit from such early testing, though it is hard for me to imagine. At the end of the day, it is their body, and their baby, so I fully support leaving it up to them.

As to this:

With the rise of disabilities and mental issues we are seeing in people, could this be related? Are we "saving" children that nature would otherwise deem "unfit" to survive?

I'm not sure that I know what you mean. When 90% of children with an extra chromosome are aborted, I find it hard to believe that one could argue that early testing is leading to a rise in disabilities. I don't believe that there are proven ways to "save" a pregnancy between 4 and 10 or 12 weeks, so, no, I don't believe that early testing is leading to a rise in the amount of children with issues. I don't even get that argument, frankly.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I admit to not understanding the testing early mania, but then again I have never really "TTC" in the formal manic way that is commonly accepted as normal on these boards. We just had sex and stuff, and then when I was late I took a test. To me, it seems awfully stressful, and I think that it is hard to argue that stress is good for anyone, pregnant or not.

I think that if people think that it makes them happy to test early, to obsess over squinty lines, and then to suffer over the results of those lines or non lines, that is entirely their prerogative.
----snip------

I think that people have to do whatever makes them happy. I do believe that for many people, they might be more happy (and have more money) were they to not waste money on 3000 pee sticks and the emotional chaos that they can cause. There are also probably a small minority who benefit from such early testing, though it is hard for me to imagine. At the end of the day, it is their body, and their baby, so I fully support leaving it up to them.

Melissa, word. And I say that as someone who has obsessively tested at crazy early times. I would have been happier during those times if I hadn't been stressing myself out like that. Not saying I won't do it again someday, but I am saying that I shouldn't. LOL

But I don't think that my stressing ultimately ended up doing anything for good or for ill when it comes to, like, the strength of the gene pool. Smile

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I have a very close friend who had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. They couldn't figure out what was wrong. It was heartbreaking to see her. But she stayed calm (although she DID grieve the losses) b/c she looked at it from a scientific stanpoint. Those babies weren't meant to make it, they weren't healthy enough to be born. And that brought her comfort, but not knowing WHY wasn't helping either. I think after her 6th pregnancy, which she was so far along she had to deliver, they decided to adopt. That was 4 years ago and they are such a happy family now! Love them!

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I agree about the stress of constant testing. . .I think people don't always do what is best for themselves. But we don't need to roll back the medical knowledge clock to fix that, they will find other ways.

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I found out early when I was pregnant with DS (about 5 weeks along). We weren't trying, but I was two days late and that was enough to get a positive result.

I had a dating ultrasound and there was blood. It was horrible the ultrasound tech couldn't tell me anything and I had to wait 2 hours for the doctor, who in the end didn't even know I was waiting for him (ps i changed doctors shortly into my 2nd trimester). Basically, I was at high risk for losing DS, but I wasn't given any medication or specific instructions. I guess I didn't really realize that it was very possible until I educated myself more.

We were blessed with a healthy boy and I know others have not been as blessed.

As for the idea of going back, I agree with pp, you can't unlearn. There are alot of things I wish I had just let happened naturally, but because of my need to want to know everything I think I worried during my pregnancy more than I needed to (what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, etc)

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It's funny -- I worried LESS because I was getting regular check-ups, had CVS testing (for various reasons, mostly my age (37 for my first pregnancy, 41 for my second) and the fact that my husband's adopted so we have no medical history), and had all the blood tests. I found it immensely reassuring and did not stress about such things. I wasn't all that focused on diet & things like that, just used common sense but ate a lot of ice cream and enjoyed myself. So it depends on the person. All the tests made me feel better and I didn't obsess about results or count days until appointments. It was just a nice back-up.

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I think it definitely depends on the person, and also maybe where they are in general. With T, I was sooo laid back. I think I figured out I was prg when I was like a week late, and I never really worried about anything the whole pregnancy. Blissfully unconcerned.

Same way with my second pregnancy, but then I lost it.

Then I totally snapped and got TTC crazy and turned into one of those maniacal "testing at 6dpo" types. I can't really explain it except that I think I just wanted to somehow be as "in control" and "in the know" as humanly, humanly possible. I think that if they tried to roll back the medical technology and get rid of home pregnancy tests, I would have been out there slaughtering rabbits, such was the depth of my mania. Getting rid of the technology isn't the answer.

I hope, this time, if there is a this time, I will be able to relax more, because I realize more than ever now that it doesn't matter how often you pee on a freakin' stick - somethings you just can't control. So I may as well put up my feet and roll with it, like I did with T.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think it definitely depends on the person, and also maybe where they are in general. With T, I was sooo laid back. I think I figured out I was prg when I was like a week late, and I never really worried about anything the whole pregnancy. Blissfully unconcerned.

Same way with my second pregnancy, but then I lost it.

Then I totally snapped and got TTC crazy and turned into one of those maniacal "testing at 6dpo" types. I can't really explain it except that I think I just wanted to somehow be as "in control" and "in the know" as humanly, humanly possible. I think that if they tried to roll back the medical technology and get rid of home pregnancy tests, I would have been out there slaughtering rabbits, such was the depth of my mania. Getting rid of the technology isn't the answer.

I hope, this time, if there is a this time, I will be able to relax more, because I realize more than ever now that it doesn't matter how often you pee on a freakin' stick - somethings you just can't control. So I may as well put up my feet and roll with it, like I did with T.

Agreed. When I was TTC, I was totally focused on it as well. That being said, had it not been for technology and early testing, my fourth child would not be here today. My progesterone level suddenly dropped well below normal levels very early in the pregnancy and had it not been treated, it surely would've been another early miscarriage. I'd rather know early and see if there's a possibility of treatment than to have continuous miscarriages with the assumption that there was nothing that could be done.

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I disagree that there is nothing you can do to prevent early loss. I have had 4 miscarriages. While I was in the mist of the 3rd miscarriage we learned I have very low progesterone. When I found out I was pg with DD3 before my period was due we were able to right away find out that my progesterone was dangerously low. I was able to take medications and now she is a precious almost 2 year old. You can also know not to smoke, drink, or generally over do and to take prenatal vitamins.

I think this is a deeply personal issue. What works for one person might not work for another.

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I agree with Laurie, about how "back in the day" women just didn't talk about such things, as if it were taboo or didn't even matter. I think that's maybe a reason why it seems much more prevalent in today's day and age. Also the fact that medical technology has come such a long way even in the past 50 years, that we "can" know things earlier than we used to. I don't see any harm in knowing when you're pregnant, whether you were TTC or not. The statistics are acutally quite high for miscarriage for all women, as in one in four will have a miscarriage in their lifetime (and some are lucky enough not to even realize it). I've always found out about my pregnancies in the 5th week or so, and I found that it just helped me prepare more for it.

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For me the question wasn't should we "unlearn" everything we have medically advanced with over the last 50 years when it comes to medicine. That's not how the human brain works LOL (well at least not with out serious brainwashing and dumbing down of the population). It was more of a cause and effect question that I think was missed by most in their response.

I would also have to disagree with quite a few of the comments that there is nothing you can do if you are risking a miscarriage. As someone who is a patient at a fertility clinic now, There are many things the Dr's are doing to prevent early miscarriage. I too am someone who has low progesterone. It runs in my family and has created numerous of health issues for members of my family. My last 2 pregnancies, the Dr's have put me on prometrium and low dosage asa. The reasoning for this is in fact to PREVENT EARLY MISCARRIAGE. If you haven't had to have a DR intervene like that, then I could understand why you wouldn't believe that is possible or even done. But if fact Dr's do try to intervene early, to prevent that loss.

Beertje said something interesting to me... "Then I totally snapped and got TTC crazy and turned into one of those maniacal "testing at 6dpo" types. I can't really explain it except that I think I just wanted to somehow be as "in control" and "in the know" as humanly, humanly possible."

Is it now a control thing that we a striving for in knowing early? You don't learn at a young age that miscarriages are very common. We don't learn this until we actually have a miscarriage. Which for some woman (not all) it's devastating. When they taught sexual health in school, they didn't talk about miscarriages or how common they were. It was a shock to both my husband and I how common they really were. And not just to us, many of my friends and woman I have spoken to in other loss forums say the same thing.

Majority of the people I talk to in the medical field (from nurses, Dr's (this includes Dr's at the fertility clinic), U/S techs, when I get blood work etc) actually agree that women are finding out too early, and that it is putting an undue amount of stress on women AND the baby. That not enough women they find are educated in the fact that it is a very common occurrence. Actually the amount of naivety couples have when it comes to reproduction is astonishing. And this isn't something I am making up - these are comments from people in the medical field.

I agree whole-heartedly that each individual is different. and how they view of perceive their situation is and will be very different from the next person who may be in the same situation. Thank you all for the interesting perspectives that you have provided. Cheers!

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Jbaum, you mentioned that several people talked about how one can't stop a miscarriage and that you feel they're incorrect. It's really a semantics thing, but I don't think an actual miscarriage can be stopped. Prevention, sure, to a certain extent. Taking progesterone is a common form of miscarriage prevention, like you said, but that's just it. It's a preventive measure, not a cure for an active miscarriage.

I'm thinking there is something to be said for the idea that maybe we know too much now, so it brings undue stress. But, I agree with those people who said that, if you're having something other than a chemical pregnancy miscarriage, you know it, whether you were sure you were pregnant or not. So, it doesn't really matter whether you're finding out through a pregnancy test or because you can read a calendar.

My experience is similar to Alissa's and Laurie's. I was A-OK until I had a loss, one that pointed out a previously unknown reproductive issue, and from that point on, I couldn't relax about TTC. Stress much? Yeah. But, because of that issue, once I was pregnant, I was able to have lots of tests and follow-ups and ultrasounds that really eased my mind and helped me to have really enjoyable pregnancies. I am so happy for those medical advances!

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"Jbaum2" wrote:

For me the question wasn't should we "unlearn" everything we have medically advanced with over the last 50 years when it comes to medicine. That's not how the human brain works LOL (well at least not with out serious brainwashing and dumbing down of the population). It was more of a cause and effect question that I think was missed by most in their response.

I would also have to disagree with quite a few of the comments that there is nothing you can do if you are risking a miscarriage. As someone who is a patient at a fertility clinic now, There are many things the Dr's are doing to prevent early miscarriage. I too am someone who has low progesterone. It runs in my family and has created numerous of health issues for members of my family. My last 2 pregnancies, the Dr's have put me on prometrium and low dosage asa. The reasoning for this is in fact to PREVENT EARLY MISCARRIAGE. If you haven't had to have a DR intervene like that, then I could understand why you wouldn't believe that is possible or even done. But if fact Dr's do try to intervene early, to prevent that loss.

Beertje said something interesting to me... "Then I totally snapped and got TTC crazy and turned into one of those maniacal "testing at 6dpo" types. I can't really explain it except that I think I just wanted to somehow be as "in control" and "in the know" as humanly, humanly possible."

Is it now a control thing that we a striving for in knowing early? You don't learn at a young age that miscarriages are very common. We don't learn this until we actually have a miscarriage. Which for some woman (not all) it's devastating. When they taught sexual health in school, they didn't talk about miscarriages or how common they were. It was a shock to both my husband and I how common they really were. And not just to us, many of my friends and woman I have spoken to in other loss forums say the same thing.

Majority of the people I talk to in the medical field (from nurses, Dr's (this includes Dr's at the fertility clinic), U/S techs, when I get blood work etc) actually agree that women are finding out too early, and that it is putting an undue amount of stress on women AND the baby. That not enough women they find are educated in the fact that it is a very common occurrence. Actually the amount of naivety couples have when it comes to reproduction is astonishing. And this isn't something I am making up - these are comments from people in the medical field.

I agree whole-heartedly that each individual is different. and how they view of perceive their situation is and will be very different from the next person who may be in the same situation. Thank you all for the interesting perspectives that you have provided. Cheers!

I disagree with you on two points.

The first bolded. Women who get pregnant in a normal pregnancy (please recognize that I am using that term to denote a pregnancy without history of loss, or a second or even third pregnancy without previous losses, I am not saying that pregnancies after losses are abnormal) do not have their progesterone tested. That sort of testing is usually not incurred until one is a "habitual miscarrier" or "spontanious aborter" , is seeing a RE, or has a luteal phase defect. In those cases, Dr's are not reacting to a threatened miscarriage, but reacting to a medical issue, like low progesterone. To me, it is like saying that they can "prevent" miscarriages in people who may have clotting factor issues or whatnot.....they can't, they can just support the medical issue which is then known and which then may lead to a miscarriage. To me, that is treatment, not prevention.

To the second bolded. I disagree. I knew from a young age that miscarriage was common. I knew it because I saw my Mom have two (later term, like 12 weeks). I also knew it because I was 30 when I first got pregnant, and because I researched pregnancy like I researched other life changing decisions (college, marriage, work etc). I knew that 50% of marriages ended in divorce when I planned to marry, I knew in buying a home a large percentage of homeowners defaulted, I knew what percentage of my take home pay should be regulated to my mortgage, I knew that lots of babies get lost via miscarriage).

I don't think of myself as unusual. I think that if someone is willingly creating a child (or buying a home, or going into a career, or getting a pet) that they generally are capable, in this day and age, of finding out the risks/rewards.

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I want to add to those who have already pointed out the difference between prevention and treatment.

Yes, if you are known to have low progesterone, you can treat for that. However, if at 4, 8, or 12 weeks and you start miscarrying, there is nothing that can be done to help.