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Miscarriages and misperceptions

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A recent survey published in Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests most of the public is poorly informed about how common miscarriage is and what causes early pregnancy losses.

First the good news. Most folks' perception is actually worse than reality, and most respondents identified genetic abnormalities as the most common cause for miscarriage.  As a reproductive medicine specialist, these misunderstandings come as no surprise. Here are some of the misperceptions the surveyors found...

10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but ...

  • Most respondents believe miscarriages are rare (< 6%)

Stressful life events, lifting heavy objects and prior IUD or birth control pill use do not miscarriages but..

  • 76 % believed that stress causes miscarriages
  • 64 % believed that lifting heavy object can cause miscarriages
  • 28 % believed that prior IUD use (Mirena, Paraguard) can cause miscarriages
  • 22 % believed that prior birth control pills can cause miscarriages

The take home message from the study is that many couples attribute their pregnancy losses to factors within their control even though this is rarely the case, and counseling is the solution.