Whether they’ve experienced a miscarriage or undergone elective termination, everyone should have access to a better post-pregnancy recovery.
Having A Kid In America
There’s no denying it: raising a child in the United States is challenging. There is no federally mandated paid parental leave policy, a worrying lack of affordable child care, and an infinitesimal regard for parents’ physical and mental health once they leave the hospital, all of which contribute to the country’s high maternal mortality rate, which ranks among the highest of any industrialized nation. Even yet, for many women, the pregnancy experience continues after delivery. Given the state of the system at the moment, it is clear that postpartum care for women who have had an abortion is a crucial but frequently neglected part of their emotional and physical recovery.
Incomplete pregnancy includes miscarriage and abortion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) estimates that 26% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. That figure doesn’t include abortions, which The Guttmacher Institute counted at 930,160 in 2020. Over two million women yearly suffer incomplete pregnancies, many of whom are left with no information on how to care for their bodies or mental health.
“The dialogue surrounding women’s and birthing people’s health still has so much lacking,” says Sunita Osborn, PsyD, MA. “In some ways, it seems like we’re still tied to this concept where there are some aspects of the [pregnancy] journey we’re allowed to speak about, and others portions are forbidden, stigmatized, and not to be addressed.”
Thankfully, businesses are starting to cater to non-baby pregnancies. Advocates for all phases of pregnancy (including post-miscarriage or abortion) and aftercare kits for incomplete pregnancies are growing.
The postpartum period, which lasts six to eight weeks (though no nationally required parental leave legislation), is seldom discussed. Even if you don’t give birth, early pregnancy may cause physical and physiological changes.
Physical aftercare depends on your pregnancy stage. According to Jasmine Pedroso, MD MPH FACOG, OB/GYN, hormonal and physiological changes, including nausea, fluid retention, dysgeusia, and breast tenderness, might last longer the farther along you are.
“Hormone alterations last six weeks to a year following a full-term pregnancy. These alterations last two to four weeks after a miscarriage or termination.” In this case, Dr. Pedroso notes side effects might include irregular bleeding, cramps, and mood changes, which usually recover between two to four weeks.
Unfinished pregnancies can affect mental health. Osborn: “An incomplete pregnancy may cause melancholy, worry, wrath, sorrow, relief, and perplexity. It may all happen in one day and cycle.” She says that miscarriage might affect a person’s identity “Do I lose my womanhood if I can’t have a healthy pregnancy? It may reveal parts of oneself you didn’t know existed until they were broken and challenged.”
The Rise Of Incomplete Pregnancy Kits
A new product category addresses the physical and psychological repercussions of incomplete pregnancy. Brands Frida and Bodily provide miscarriage and termination kits. “After experiencing two unexpected pregnancy losses myself, we felt it was important to address this isolating and physically challenging time in a woman’s life with the same thoughtfulness and sensitivity as we do for [people] who leave a hospital with a baby, especially given how similar some of the needs are,” says Frida CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn, who founded the brand in 2014.
“An overnight menstruation pad sometimes doesn’t cut it when it comes to