Sadly 1/4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. First responders are at risk of two of the main causes.

A woman consuls another woman

Devestating and all too common

Sadly, miscarriages are more common than you think. In Australia, it happens to one in four couples.

A miscarriage is defined as the loss of a baby before 20 weeks and is heartbreaking for the expectant Mother, especially. So, why do miscarriages happen?

It changes from woman to woman, but some of the common causes include infections, pre-existing health conditions (such as diabetes), hormone problems, immune system responses, and abdominal trauma.

While there’s no data to suggest an obvious link between miscarriages and first responders, this line of work is high-risk for these chronic conditions.

Physical trauma is also more likely, given the nature of emergency work.

The night shifts and changing rosters might also make it difficult for women to stay in good health.

Risk factors

Adding to that, pregnant first responders may find that they’re around or above 35 (a risk factor), where it takes older women longer to fall pregnant.

First responders also deal with daily stress and trauma, which can seep into the personal life and make it challenging to be intimate.

There’s also the possibility of sleeping difficulties, not sharing meals together, and opposite schedules.

We know it’s hard, but it’s not your fault.

First responders aren’t strangers to guilt. You witness the carnage from car crashes, fights, burning buildings, drownings, and children’s injuries. It’s a natural reaction to bury guilt.

Whether it’s a tragedy at work or a miscarriage, it is NOT your fault.

Please repeat that. Unacknowledged guilt can lead to a barrage of mental and physical issues.

Most of the reasons why women miscarry are from natural causes. This includes

  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Placental problems
  • Thrombophilia
  • Congenital birth defects
  • Infections
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Poorly controlled chronic conditions
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.

Expectant mothers with health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), thyroid disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and autoimmune problems can also be high-risk pregnancies. Smoking and being overweight exacerbates these risk factors.

We know that diabetes is more prevalent in first responders, especially police officers.

Extra challenges

For the exhausted, shift-working first responder, vital activities for good health aren’t easy to maintain.

Police experience an elevated adrenal cortical, sympathetic stress response, causing the liver to release glucose.

The pancreas responds by secreting insulin to allow glucose to enter cells.

High blood pressure is also found to be higher in shift workers – police officers, paramedics, nurses, doctors, and firefighters.

This is due to circadian rhythm disfunction and poor nutritional choices.

Emergency workers are exposed to traumatic events, which increase the likelihood of alcoholism, obesity, depression, and insomnia – all of which are linked to heart troubles.

Pysical trauma

Female first responders also deal with physical trauma, more than the everyday woman. 

Whether it’s a call-out to a domestic abuse case, calming someone down after witnessing the loss of a loved one, running after a home invader or any other emergency situation, responders aren’t safe from abdominal trauma.

Mild contact to that area can cause damage to a developing baby.

Routine activities do not cause a miscarriage. But, for first responders, there’s nothing ‘routine’ about broader aspects of this career.

Focus on managing any previous health conditions, seek regular prenatal care, and do what you can to alleviate the risk factors that come with the first responder lifestyle.

Cover yourself, with first responder health insurance

Yes, that’s right. Health insurance that’s just for you, and your family.

Emergency Services Health has three levels of cover, based on your needs.

You’ll love the extras, which roll over every year (subject to waiting periods and other conditions), so they’ll never go unused.

Enjoy exercise physiology, acupuncture, complementary therapies, dietary support, psychology and extensive hospital cover.

Starting a family has enough challenges. Fighting for adequate healthcare shouldn’t be one of them. It’s all here, with Emergency Services Health.

Please note

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