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Coping with the third trimester

You may feel more secure after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Or you may feel you can’t stop worrying until you are holding a live baby in your arms. This page has support to help you cope with the third trimester of pregnancy after miscarriage*.

If you are still very anxious you may also feel sad that you have not been able to celebrate and enjoy any stage of this pregnancy. It’s common and understandable to wish a pregnancy after miscarriage to be over successfully.

I want the baby out of me as I feel I can control what happens outside my body. It’s very unnerving not being able to trust your own body.

If you lost your previous baby or babies after 24 weeks then you are unlikely to feel any less anxious in the third trimester. Whatever your past experience, you may worry that things will still go wrong and you won’t be able to cope with a later loss.

We do not intend this page to replace other information about the third trimester. We hope it complements it, offering support for specific areas people have told us they find hard. At the end of this page we have some support and ideas for after the birth.

* Please note that we often use the term ‘pregnancy loss’ to include miscarriage, ectopic and molar pregnancy. But sometimes, using the word ‘miscarriage’ for all three makes it easier for people to find the information they’re looking for online when using a search engine.

Coping with questions in the third trimester of pregnancy after miscarriage

You are likely to look pregnant now or soon. This can be a mixed blessing. For some people, it helps them really believe in their pregnancy. It can also sometimes attract unwanted attention. Well-meaning people may ask you personal questions – for example ‘is it your first?’ It might help to decide beforehand how you will deal with these questions. There’s no right way to do this and different things will feel right for different people

Movements in the third trimester of pregnancy after miscarriage

You may still feel very anxious about monitoring your baby’s movements, especially as it is not an exact science.

If you are concerned, it is always recommended that you contact your midwife or local maternity unit. The Kicks Count website explains what checks you should be offered. It doesn’t matter how many times you do this. It is important to get checked any time you think there may be reduced movement. You are always doing the right thing.

It might help to remind the health professional you speak to about your previous experience of loss.

They told me to trust my gut instinct and get in touch if I felt something was wrong. But my previous loss meant my gut instinct was always that there could be something wrong. I found it hard.

Scans and appointments in the third trimester of pregnancy after miscarriage

You should start to have more regular midwife appointments after 30 weeks. If you have had late or multiple losses or if there were specific issues in your previous pregnancy, then you may still be getting scans too.

At your appointments, the midwife will measure your bump (the fundal height) to help monitor how your baby is growing. If these measurements are more than two centimetres out of the normal range they may refer you for a growth scan. This might make you feel more anxious.

You may find it reassuring to know that fundal height is only a rough measurement and can change depending on the midwife who does the check. Fundal height measurements can be less accurate if your BMI is over 30 or you have uterine fibroids. It does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong.


Thinking about the birth

By now, you will have been asked to decide where you would like to give birth. This is not set in stone and, unless there are medical reasons why not, you should be able to change your plans if you choose to do so.

However and wherever you choose to give birth, you may find it helpful to look at ways to help you feel more in control and positive about the experience. We have more information about the benefits of positive coping statements or affirmations here. You may find it helpful to download some that are specifically related to giving birth.

You might also find it helpful to look at The Positive Birth Book.

The hypnobirthing course was helpful, I wish we could have started it sooner, it would have been helpful for my anxiety.


Making plans

Making plans and starting preparation for life with a baby can sometimes feel too hard. You may feel as if you are jinxing the pregnancy or just that you still can’t really believe you will need to.

I found it hard to buy things I needed and accept this pregnancy would actually result in a baby.

Most things can be bought after the baby is born. You don’t need a fancy nursery or lots of equipment in the early days. But there are a few things that you need beforehand – a way of transporting your baby (a car seat if you drive or a sling or pram) and a hospital bag for you both.

You could ask people to help you prepare. Perhaps your partner, a family member or friend could start getting things together for you.

If making really solid plans doesn’t feel safe, you could consider making notes and saving links of what you need to buy closer to the time


Finding people who understand

You may find that people don’t understand why you are still worried. They may think that there is no reason to be now you are so far along and the chances of things going wrong are low.

My family didn’t understand why I was still worried. But I had been on the wrong side of statistics before.

Even in forums and support groups for those pregnant after loss, you’re likely to find that most people are in earlier stages of pregnancy. This can feel very isolating. If you feel you don’t have anyone around you who understands, it may help to use the search function on our online group or forum to find people who are at the same stage of pregnancy as you. You may also find it helpful to look at our Facebook group specifically for people who are pregnant after loss after 14 weeks. We have more ideas for finding a community here.

After the birth

Birth and the early days with a newborn can be full of emotion, especially if you have been pregnant after a loss. Some people say they feel a new wave of grief, remembering the babies they don’t have as well as loving the one in your arms. It can be a complicated time. Try to allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Talk to your partner (if you have one) and friends or family.

Some people find that their anxiety about their baby’s health can take a while to fade after they are born. This is natural. Ask your health visitor and midwife for support. They should be happy to answer any questions you have. Talk to your doctor if you find your anxiety is making life difficult or unmanageable.

You may not want to ask for help. It can feel as though everyone thinks you should be completely happy now your baby is in your arms. But even the most longed-for baby can be physically and mentally draining to care for. Many women struggle with postnatal depression or anxiety. Seeking additional support if you need it is usually best for both you and your baby.

It was only when I delivered my son did I realise how stressed I had been. I completely broke down in tears when they handed him to me. The doctor asked why I was so upset. I couldn’t explain it was grief, exhaustion and overwhelming joy all rolled into one.