infant loss miscarriage stillbirthWe like to think that in our highly sophisticated medical world we can control every aspect of our health, especially during pregnancy.  We have come to believe that because of our medical advances, we can predict and avoid every possible bad outcome.

But the truth is, even with all the advances in medicine, including some very high-tech pregnancy screening tools, one in four pregnancies in the United States will end in miscarriage before the 20th week of pregnancy, and nearly 1% of the pregnancies that do continue will end with a stillbirth.  That’s about 24,000 stillbirths in the US every year.  Here in Florida, there are approximately 1,400 stillbirths every year, about 4 out of every 1,000 births.

But these aren’t just statistics.  These are babies.  These are families who have suffered a difficult and devastating loss.  The joy, excitement and anticipation of having a baby is suddenly cut short, replaced by grief, questions about what happened, and perhaps even guilt, wondering if there was something they missed or could have done differently to prevent the loss.


With October being Infant Loss Awareness Month, let’s look at some of the causes of miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as some of the local and national resources for families who are struggling with a loss.

According to the March of Dimes, there are a number of things that can put a baby at risk for miscarriage or stillbirth.  Some can be changed and/or controlled to some extent by the mother, such as the use of street drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking, taking prescription pain killers and having a healthy BMI at the time of conception. But other health factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-eclampsia and premature labor, are not as easy to predict and/or control.  Women who are in their teens or over the age of 35 are at higher risk for miscarriage and stillbirth. Certain kinds of infections such as Fifth’s Disease and Listeriosis, which is a type of food poisoning, can also cause complications.  And sometimes, sadly, there is no known cause for a miscarriage or a

Families who are suffering the loss of a baby, whether it happens in the first trimester or the last, need the love and support of their families.  It’s hard to know what to say or do for a family who is experiencing such grief.  This website has some helpful guides. Experts say to offer meals, pick up their other children for school and activities, walk the dog, fold their laundry – simple, everyday things that are just too much for grieving parents to take care of.

Let’s hope none of us ever has to share this list of resources, but here it is, just in case:


Tampa Bay:

AMEND: Aiding Mothers Enduring Neo-Natal Death

Mission: Providing moral support and encouragement to people that have experienced loss during and after pregnancy, due to miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss.

Services: telephone support, monthly meetings, lending library, literature, professional guest speakers.

Program Director: Karen Frazier


Free Support Groups, 8pm – 10pm (contact Karen for exact locations):

North Tampa:  3rd Wednesday of the month

South Tampa:  1st Thursday of the month

(813) 631-9519



Several support groups in Hillsborough and Pinellaspink-and-blue-ribbon


MANATEE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Pregnancy Loss Support Group

Purpose: Support for anyone who has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn loss.

Patient Tower, Meditation Room

206 2nd Street East

Bradenton, FL 34208

Free Support Groups, 7:30pm

1st Tuesday of the month



National Resources:


FIRST CANDLE: 800-221 -7437





SIDS:  Florida SIDS Alliance:  800-743-7352


March of Dimes Share:

National Institutes of Health (statistics and research):