(HealthDay News) — Misconceptions about miscarriages are common, and those mistaken beliefs can make the experience even more painful for those who suffer through it, a new survey reveals. The findings were published online May 6 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
More than half of the 1,000 adults who responded to the survey incorrectly believed miscarriages are rare, and many thought they could occur for reasons that actually don’t affect miscarriage risk at all. Among the respondents – roughly half women and half men – 15% reported that they or their partner had experienced at least one miscarriage. But over half of the respondents believed miscarriages occur in less than 6% of all pregnancies. Men were more than twice as likely as women to think miscarriages were rare.
Most of the adults (74%) correctly believed that genetic or medical problems most often caused miscarriages, but they also incorrectly believed in other causes. For example, 76% believed a stressful event could cause miscarriage, and 74% believed ongoing stress could cause one. In addition, 64% thought lifting heavy objects could cause miscarriages, but neither stress nor lifting causes pregnancy loss, the researchers said. Among those who had a past miscarriage, almost half said they felt guilty, 41% said they felt they did something wrong, 41% felt alone, and 28% felt ashamed. More than one-third thought they could have prevented their miscarriage.
“A striking finding from the study is the discrepancy between what medicine and science teach us about miscarriage and what people believe,” study coauthor Zev Williams, MD, PhD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, told HealthDay. “Miscarriage seems to be unique in medicine in being very common yet rarely discussed, so that you have many women and couples feeling very isolated and alone.”