Traditionally, the word “miscarriage” is used to describe pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks of gestation (the medical term for this is “spontaneous abortion“). According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, approximately 10% of known pregnancies result in this type of early pregnancy loss (the total number may be higher, as they can occur before someone even realizes the pregnancy).
“Right now, both doctors and society formally recognize what has traditionally been referred to as miscarriage as a form of reproductive and pregnancy loss,” says scientist and fertility specialist Cleopatra Kamperveen, Ph.D. “In fact, in a groundbreaking decision earlier this year, the New Zealand parliament unanimously approved legislation to formally recognize miscarriage grief, providing three days of paid bereavement leave for any parent experiencing a pregnancy loss.”
While acknowledging the difficulty of this experience is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t change the fact that the term “miscarriage” itself is very loaded. As mentioned, it implies a mistake or error in the pregnancy, which only augments existing pain.
That’s why mindbodygreen is choosing to use the term “pregnancy loss” to better represent this experience. “Pregnancy loss acknowledges that it’s a loss and needs to be recognized as such,” says Sheeva Talebian, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist. “Loss results in grief, which also must be addressed.” What’s more, this term is more inclusive of the wide spectrum of scenarios that individuals face.