Reasons Employers Should Offer Bereavement Leave For Miscarriages

In the United States, it’s not common to receive time off from work after a miscarriage. The rules of bereavement leave for pregnancy loss differ depending on where you live. Some countries mandate them, while others leave it up to individual states. Regardless, however, the necessity of proper bereavement leave post-miscarriage cannot be understated. Here are 10 reasons why time off from work after a pregnancy loss is beneficial.

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10 There Are Physical Symptoms

Many people don’t realize that miscarriage isn’t always a quick process. Some people take days to pass the pregnancy, and there are often lingering symptoms.

Very Well Family explains that symptoms after a miscarriage can include the following:

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Back pain

  • Cramping

  • Mood swings

  • Bloating, gas

  • Swollen breasts

  • Vaginal spotting

  • Enlarged abdomen

  • Excessive salivation

  • Darker, larger areolas

  • More frequent urination

Having bereavement leaves gives a person time to recover from the physical symptoms of miscarriage without having to experience them in the workplace.

9 Some Women Require Surgery

According to American Pregnancy Association, 50% of women who experience a pregnancy loss requiring surgical intervention. Often known as dilation and curettage (D&C), this is performed to remove tissue that didn’t pass or to diagnose and treat uterine bleeding. Any surgery is an invasive process and carries risks as well as side effects. The recovery following a D&C can take longer than other miscarriages, making bereavement leave even more necessary.

8 Physical Recovery Can Take Time

The symptoms of miscarriage don’t just resolve within a few days. They can last for weeks or months. Sometimes, the symptoms can be stronger after the loss occurs than before or during the miscarriage. When a woman isn’t offered bereavement leave post-miscarriage, she likely has to endure symptoms of her loss at the workplace.

Additionally, her job demands physical labor, her body may not be recovered to the point where she can handle it. Going back to a demanding job before you’re ready can make the recovery longer and harder.

7 You Need Time To Process

It’s not just the physical recovery from a miscarriage that can take time, but also the emotional one. It’s normal to feel sad or even angry after a miscarriage – it is a loss, after all. One study found It takes women an average of six weeks to start feeling an improvement in their mental health post-pregnancy loss.

Bereavement leave allows you to take time to process these feelings, whereas going back to work too soon can force you to bury or compartmentalize the emotions, which can be damaging in the long run.

6 You’ll Go Through Stages Of Grief

Many people go through stages of grief following a pregnancy loss as they process their feelings. The grief is often stronger early on, emphasizing the need for appropriate time off from work to navigate. You may go on to experience denial and isolation, anger, and depression before reaching a stage of acceptance.

5 Risk Of Anxiety & Depression

It’s not just that you’ll be off your game or distracted following a miscarriage. There’s also a very real chance of developing anxiety and depression. The chance of developing these conditions is greater the more pregnancy losses you’ve had, research shows.

Having to return to work too early can exacerbate your stress, which raises the risk of anxiety and depression.

4 Miscarriage Is A Loss

The reason many employers fail to offer bereavement leave after a miscarriage is because they don’t see it as a loss, especially earlier on. But it’s important to challenge this stigma, as the grief following a miscarriage can be very strong.

Even if a miscarriage wasn’t the loss of a person with a heartbeat, it was the loss of what was going to be a very important person in your life. It was something you looked forward to and was taken away from you, so it should be understandable you’ll have many mixed emotions following such a traumatic experience.

3 Other Losses Get Leave

Most employers offer bereavement leave in the case of an immediate family member’s death, but you may also receive time off for a friend or colleague’s passing. It’s common to get time off in other instances, too, like for mental health or family sickness.

It’s frustrating that other situations can be deemed appropriate for a leave from work, whereas a miscarriage isn’t in many cases. Miscarriage is no less important or traumatic, and it’s time employers started seeing this.

2 Need Time To Share The News

There are certain things you’re going to have to do after a miscarriage, and adequate bereavement leave can give you the space to do so. For example, you’ll need to inform people who knew of your pregnancy about the loss. In some cases, this can be a big list. Sharing the news can feel like re-living your trauma, making it emotionally challenging and requiring space and time.

1 It Impacts Your Whole Family

After a miscarriage, you don’t just have to think about your feelings. A pregnancy loss can affect the whole family. Research has found that men often go through emotional trauma after a miscarriage, though research often overlooks it. Bereavement leave after a miscarriage gives you time to focus on the needs of your family in this difficult period. After any sort of loss, our attention should always be on our family.

Sources: Very Well Family, Very Well Family, American Pregnancy Association, NCBI, BMC, Washington Post,

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