How common are miscarriages?

How common are miscarriages?

Nearly 1 million miscarriages occur in the U.S. each year, yet most Americans don’t understand how common they really can be, according to a new survey.

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System recently surveyed more than 1,000 men and women to assess what the general public knew about miscarriages. They found that 50 percent of the respondents incorrectly believed miscarriages were rare, occurring in less than 6 percent of pregnancies.

Miscarriages are all too common

“Statistics show nearly one in four women have a miscarriage at some time however, the number is realistically closer to two in three,” says Dr. Melissa Miller, obstetrician/gynecologist on staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “Many women mistake a miscarriage for a late, heavy period. They haven’t taken a pregnancy test, so they assume it was a late menses and that accounts for the heavy flow.”

What causes a miscarriage?

The survey found the majority of participants also misunderstood causes for miscarriage.

One in five participants wrongly assumed lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking alcohol were the most common cause. Approximately 60 percent of miscarriages are caused by a genetic problem.

“The most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality,” Dr. Miller says. “The human body is a miraculous entity that oftentimes identifies an abnormal embryo and will initiate events to clear itself of abnormality.”

You’re not alone

According to the survey results, most participants who had experienced a miscarriage reported feeling guilty, ashamed and alone. And, of those participants, only 45 percent felt they had received emotional support from the community.

“It’s critical for patients and their families to understand a miscarriage is very common,” says Dr. Miller. “It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Most times there is no action that could have prevented the situation.

“At the same time, sadness, a sense of loss and grief, are completely normal emotional responses. As a medical community, we should empathize and offer assistance in guiding our patients through this hard time.”

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  1. Thanks for writing this article Vanessa! As someone who has suffered a miscarriage I am always happy to see when people are raising awareness!

  2. Good information, however, there was no mention of late term miscarriage. That doesn’t occur from chromosomal abnormality.

  3. I had two losses between two healthy daughters. I felt really sad about the losses at the time (they were about 18 months apart), but no health care professional save one ER nurse ever acknowledged my emotional reaction. Please–if you are a direct-care professional, please listen to the “whole patient.”

  4. also, having genetic markers that predispose you to clotting can cause miscarriage by sending clots through the umbilical cord and killing the baby by week 10. These can be tested for, but rarely are until the fourth miscarriage. $80. That’s all it cost my BCBS. You take blood thinners for the pregnancy. Start asking about it. You will see it is more common than you think.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.