August 17, 2021
More than 1 million women experience pregnancy loss each year. About 50 to 80% of them conceive again within the next 12-18 months, but their subsequent pregnancy journeys come with unique emotional challenges.
The March of Dimes says it is common to have mixed feelings about getting pregnant after losing a child. Women may be anxious and still mourning the babies they lost. This can lead to feelings of guilt and worries that they will forget the children they lost. Women also may be afraid that they may lose their new babies too.
Pregnancy after the loss of a child — whether through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death — is a time of both grief and joy, hope and anxiety, according to Pregnancy After Loss Support. That is why the nonprofit has developed a free app that offers customized resources and emotional support for expectant mothers who have experienced such loss.
The Pregnancy After Loss app provides week-to-week, personalized support for each expectant mother. It particularly helps address the anxiety and grief that often accompanies pregnancy loss. Developed by Allobee, the app is a grassroots effort led by mothers within the Pregnancy After Loss Support community. Over $60,000 was raised to fund its development and launch.
"I am so inspired by this community of mothers, and it is wonderful to see their hard work come to fruition," said Lindsey Henke, founder and executive director of Pregnancy After Loss Support.
She told PhillyVoice, "Our community resonated with the idea of holding space for both the joy and hope as well as the grief and fear that comes with pregnancy after loss."
The app, which can be downloaded on Google Play or in the App store, features resources on prenatal topics unique to pregnancy after miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. It includes meditations and affirmations to help reduce postnatal depression and the fear of labor. The app also teaches coping skills, providing more than 20 evidence-based strategies for managing stress.
The app offers information about the normal stages of a pregnancy, but also addresses the unique emotions of women who have experienced loss, Henke said. For example, the app will offer additional emotional support around the anniversary of their losses, including sending specific content on grief and re-grief.
Pregnancy After Loss Support's mission is to help expectant mothers celebrate their current pregnancies while still honoring the memory of the child they lost.
Before getting pregnant again, it is best for women to give their bodies time to recover and to grieve the loss of their babies, medical experts say. They should talk to their providers to determine how long they should wait before trying to conceive again, and schedule a preconception visit to make sure they are healthy.