After my first visit to the gynecologist, I was told that the egg(embryo) I was carrying was odd shaped. I was promptly put on medication to stabilize it. As it was my first pregnancy at that time, I was mortified.
“What is wrong with me? Is my body not fit to have this baby? Did I do something wrong?”
I declined a trek to the waterfall right after. I was hormonal and fearful I would miscarry, so I did nothing because I didn’t know any better. I stayed home and told myself to rest.
Miscarriage is one of the most difficult situations to deal with. Often times it isn’t the difficulty of the medical treatment itself, but the emotional scar it leaves the couple. This is especially stressful for couples who have tried conceiving using fertility treatments.
Let’s separate the facts and myths of miscarriage:
#1 Miscarriage is rare.
About 1 in 6 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. This risk increases with the age of the woman, and less commonly, with the age of the male partner.
Thus, the risk of miscarriage is higher for an older couple than a younger pair.
But let’s not discount younger couples who are less than 35 years of age. Close to 15% will lose their pregnancy. Many lose their pregnancy during the first 12 weeks.
The reason for miscarriage varies, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality – meaning that something is not correct with the baby’s chromosomes.
#2 Miscarriage is due to stressful events and lifting heavy objects.
I remember my mom telling me not to do anything. “Who knows? What if you have a weak womb?” If I was caught lifting anything heavy, I would be chastised
The truth is, there is very little study supporting this. Stressful events such as a death or even highly stressful situations at work, are not causes for miscarriage.
#3 It’s my fault.
Many women tend to blame themselves when a miscarriage occurs. They often think it was something they did.
The fact is, the majority of miscarriages are not related to behaviours or lifestyle choices. In about half of all early miscarriages, the baby does not develop normally right from the start and cannot survive. In fact in an estimated 50-75% of patients, the cause can not be found.
I understand that even in this day and age, our culture and elders still tend to believe these myths. Therefore, they may say things that may hurt the grieving mom. But as it is a genetic error and more than half the time unexplained, women who face miscarriages should not blame themselves.
#4 If you have multiple miscarriages, you can never be pregnant.
It is quite common for women to go through 1 to 2 miscarriages in their lifetime. A fraction of them however, may have more miscarriages (recurrent miscarriage), and sometimes in a row.
Recurrent miscarriage can be very devastating for couples, but there have also been successful stories.
Some of the causes of recurrent miscarriage are treatable, such as blood-clotting disorders, thyroid problems and structural problems of the womb (uterus).
#5 You should take a break after a miscarriage
Understandably you would want to rest after a miscarriage to deal with the physical and emotional stress. Women and couples are often told by clinicians to wait three months or longer before attempting to conceive again.
But there is a new study, with findings suggesting that women who try to conceive within three months may have a greater likelihood of getting pregnant and having a live birth. Ideally if the couple is physically, mentally and emotionally ready to move forward, they should try for a baby as soon as possible.