Debunking four miscarriage misconceptions

Debunking four miscarriage misconceptions

Even though miscarriage is very common, women do not often talk about the painful experience, and as a result, there are many misconceptions.  According to the March of Dimes, a miscarriage is defined as a pregnancy that ends spontaneously before 20 weeks, but most happen before the 13th week.

Dr. Eileen Morrison, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., shares the miscarriage misconceptions she hears most often:

  • If you have one miscarriage, you are high risk for another one.

Overall, the risk of miscarriage is 8-20 percent in clinically recognized pregnancies.  Many miscarriages happen so early that women don’t even know they are pregnant yet.

The risk for a second miscarriage is only 20 percent, for a third miscarriage it is 28 percent and then jumps to 43 percent for a fourth miscarriage.  But, if a woman already had a full-term normal pregnancy, her risk of a subsequent miscarriage is actually lower at only 5 percent.

  • I (the mom) did something wrong to cause it.

It takes a significant trauma, an infectious disease, or heavy use of cigarettes, alcohol or drugs to cause a healthy pregnancy to miscarry. Minimal to moderate alcohol use, heavy exercise, eating fish, stress, etc. before recognizing the pregnancy is highly unlikely to cause a miscarriage.

  • Miscarriages run in the family (only true in very rare cases). 

A couple examples of familial causes are some inherited blood clotting disorders, or very rare balanced translocations in which one parent has the right chromosomes, but in the wrong locations so that their egg or sperm will always have abnormal chromosomes.

  • You must wait at least three months after a miscarriage to try again.

We used to tell women to wait three months or their chances were higher to have another miscarriage, but the newest studies show there is no advantage to waiting three months.  I typically recommend waiting until the woman’s next period and then she can try again.

Thinking of getting pregnant soon?

Dr. Morrison says there are some things women can do to help prevent miscarriages.  She recommends:

  • Living healthily through diet and exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Getting any medical problems under control before conception, including diabetes and hypertension.
  • Reviewing your current medications with your doctor.

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One Comment

  1. This is comforting to read. I’ve always felt that I somehow caused my miscarriage to happen with my first pregnancy. I had a really bad reaction to the pre-natal vitamins, and I blamed myself for taking an iron-based vitamin. Reading this, it appears that probably had nothing to do with it. BTW, I did get pregnant a month later, so all was well to try again soon.

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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.