Important Facts About Miscarriage

Most people don't think a lot about miscarriages until they have personal experience with one. It can be downright shocking to discover how common miscarriages are, as well as how little is truly understood about why they happen in some cases.

Naturally, the emotional experience can be anything from mildly unsettling to life-changing.

If you have recently had your first encounter with miscarriage, whether it was your own or a friend or family member's, here are the key things to know about miscarriage as you move forward.​

1

You're Not Alone

Sad couple with doctor getting news of early miscarriage
kupicoo / Getty Images

Even though you might feel like you're all alone, you're not. Miscarriages are extremely common. There are many conflicting numbers reported, but somewhere between 15% to 20% of all confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. Some people have higher risk, with identifiable risk factors, but a miscarriage can happen to anyone.

2

Causes of Miscarriage Are Not Well Understood

The most common cause of first-trimester miscarriages is chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, especially trisomy (three copies of one or more of the 23 chromosome pairs; 46X are most common). Chromosomal abnormalities may be random or inherited. Other causes of miscarriage include autoimmune issues, hormonal issues, anatomic or structural problems of the uterus or cervix, infection, blood clotting disorders, or—commonly—unknown causes.

3

Most Miscarriages Are No One's Fault and Could Not Have Been Prevented

It can be hard to accept in this age of so much scientific knowledge and discovery that your doctor is probably not going to be able to tell you why you miscarried. But you should know it wasn't your fault, that it could have happened to anyone, and that there was probably not anything that could have prevented it from happening. Sexual intercourse, exercise, and general stress are not causal in most cases.

4

Treatment May or May Not Be Necessary

Sometimes a D&C (surgical evacuation of the uterus) is needed after a miscarriage in order to prevent further complications. Other times you may be given a choice of watchful waiting. Different people have different preferences.

5

It Is Perfectly Normal and Okay to Grieve

It's normal if you feel numb, angry, devastated, or anything else. Whether your miscarriage happened at 5 weeks or you had a full-term stillbirth, your feelings are valid and you should give yourself permission to have them. Support groups may be helpful in working through your grief, or if you are feeling truly overwhelmed, consider talking to a grief counselor.

6

Chances Are Good That Your Next Pregnancy Will Be Normal

If you have had one miscarriage, or even up to three miscarriages, the odds are still better that your next pregnancy will end with the birth of a baby than in another miscarriage. People have different preferences when they want to try again after a miscarriage. Talk to your doctor about what's right for you. If you have had two or more consecutive miscarriages, you should talk to your doctor about testing for potentially treatable causes before you get pregnant again.

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  1. Bardos J, Hercz D, Friedenthal J, Missmer SA, Williams Z. A National Survey on Public Perceptions of MiscarriageObstet Gynecol. 2015;125(6):1313-1320. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000000859

  2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Early Pregnancy Loss. Updated August 2015.

  3. National Infertility Association. Multiple Miscarriage.

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