4 Myths About Miscarriages
When Christopher Blake's wife got pregnant for the first time, the couple didn't read up on anything that could go wrong.
"We were afraid we would 'jinx' the pregnancy," he recalls.
So when his wife had a miscarriage, they felt completely unprepared.
The second time she got pregnant, they did the opposite. They read everything they could find online and ran to the emergency room whenever something didn't feel right.
"Neither of these pendulum swings were healthy for us," says Blake, CEO of First Candle, a group that supports parents who have lost babies to miscarriage or other problems. "We should have had a more commonsense approach."
But good information about miscarriages can be hard to find. Many women and their partners can name at least one myth, rumor, or half-truth they’ve heard about them.
Sometimes even doctors don’t have many answers, says Zev Williams, MD, PhD, director of a pregnancy loss program at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
That leaves a lot of room for bad information about what exactly is a miscarriage, what can cause them, or even how to feel about them. It’s best to put some myths to rest.
Myth: Miscarriages are rare.
In a national survey of more than 1,000 adults, more than half said they thought miscarriages happened 5% of the time or less. In reality, about 20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage. And the number is probably higher, since many happen before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.
Alison Jacobson didn’t know of anyone who’d miscarried until she lost two pregnancies herself and people started sharing their own stories.
"I didn't even know my own mother had a miscarriage," says Jacobson, now the mother of three. "It's the secret people don't want to talk about."
Myth: You did something to cause it.
"The most common thing we hear, and certainly the most false, is that women will link the miscarriage to something they did," says Daniela Carusi, MD, director of surgical obstetrics at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.
It might be stress, heavy lifting, sex, exercise, even an argument.