Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Labels - do they matter?

Since the release of Lily Allen's unfortunate news, there's been a debate over the use of the word "miscarriage".  According to Wikipedia, here's the terminology broken down:
  • Very early miscarriages—those that occur before the sixth week LMP (since the woman's Last Menstrual Period)—are medically termed early pregnancy loss[2] or chemical pregnancy.[3]
  • Miscarriages that occur after the sixth week LMP are medically termed clinical spontaneous abortion.[2]
  • Labour resulting in live birth before the 37th week of pregnancy is termed "premature birth", even if the infant dies shortly afterward.
  • A fetus that dies while in the uterus after about the 20–24th week of pregnancy is termed a "stillbirth"; the precise gestational age definition varies by country.
Regardless of the "label", the terms all mean the same thing:  a woman was pregnant and her baby died before it reached full term. 

I understand that some people are sensitive to different terms, and after I lost Olivia I didn't feel like the word "miscarriage" really represented what I went through.  How could someone who lost a baby at 10 weeks compare their situation to mine - losing a baby at 27 weeks that was kicking and growing and almost viable?  Over the last few months I've come to realize that the "label" doesn't matter, it's the heartbreak and grief that accompany the loss that bring affected families together.

Join the debate on the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope Facebook page.  What do YOU think?

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