UAB Medicine News


Pregnancy after Miscarriage: Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Rainbow Babies

This guest blog was prepared by Katrese Smith, LPN, Outpatient Perinatal Bereavement Coordinator, UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

The term “rainbow baby” is used to describe a healthy baby born after losing a baby to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or natural causes. For many women, expecting a baby is the most joyful time of their lives, but it can be full of anxiety for others. When tragedy strikes and a pregnancy or infant is lost, how do you begin to move forward?

UAB Maternal-Fetal Medicine Services offers comprehensive care that incorporates pre-conception consultation, high-risk prenatal care, and postpartum follow-up. We encourage women to schedule a preconception consultation appointment prior to their next pregnancy. During this visit, we will review all relevant medical records and work together to create a care plan for the upcoming pregnancy.

Having such a plan in place tends to help with the anxiety of preparing for the next pregnancy. Women say that meeting the doctors prior to pregnancy provides familiarity and reassurance as they move forward. It is our goal to proactively give recommendations and guidelines that help women achieve optimal health.

The next phase is high-risk prenatal care. The first prenatal appointment is a detailed visit where you can expect confirmation of an estimated due date, a physical examination, medical review, and laboratory studies. The care plan and expectations are reviewed by one of our board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists. You also will be introduced to our team of nurse practitioners, nurses, nutritionists, certified medical assistants, and office staff who make up the high-risk care team. It is our goal to offer impeccable physical and emotional support, from the first appointment to the last.

Celebrating New Life

We understand that for rainbow families, simply reaching each milestone in pregnancy is a huge accomplishment. Helping you through those milestones requires compassion and a personal touch, as there often is an emotional factor in trying to celebrate new life while still mourning the baby who was lost. As a nurse, this is my opportunity to provide an ear to listen, a hand to hold, or a hug when needed. The ultimate goal is a successful pregnancy.

The final stage in care is the postpartum period, which generally runs from birth to eight weeks of age. This can be a challenging and emotional time, as new moms often are flooded with a range of emotions and may face a difficult transition. We provide extra support during this time by following up by phone at regular intervals. Our standard of care also includes an evaluation for postpartum depression, along with intervention, if needed. I was trained to serve as the outpatient perinatal bereavement coordinator for the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and it is a role I take very seriously.

UAB Maternal-Fetal Medicine Services will continue offering supportive communication, resources, and close follow-up care to our patients as they search for their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Click here for information on UAB Medicine Women and Infants Services.

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