Miscarriage: why women feel so alone

Most people have no idea how common miscarriage is - or what causes it, say experts

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Most people think miscarriages are rare, and really don’t understand what causes them.

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And that can make women who do miscarry – and their partners – feel isolated and alone.

So say US scientists, who surveyed 1,000 people and found 65% of them thought miscarriage was uncommon – when, in fact, it occurs in one in four pregnancies.

The majority of miscarriages (up to 80%, it’s thought) happen due to chromosomal abnormalities. But many of the people in the survey wrongly thought that stress or lifting heavy objects causes miscarriage.

Some of them even thought sexually transmitted diseases, previous abortions or use of long-term birth control could lead to the loss of a baby.

“The false perceptions and lack of understanding about miscarriage contribute to many women and couples feeling isolated and alone after suffering from a miscarriage,” said Professor Zev Williams, author of the study. “Miscarriage is a traditionally taboo subject that is rarely discussed publicly – even though it is the most common complication of pregnancy.

“Many women experience feelings of shame and isolation after a miscarriage. We want women to understand they’re not alone and know there are tests that may help them learn what happened, hopefully reducing those negative feelings.”

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