While miscarriages are a relatively common event, affecting about 20% of pregnancies, a new survey indicates that women have many misconceptions about miscarriage and its causes. One of the more concerning findings in this study was the number of women who experience significant psychological distress in this setting. The survey found that 47% of the respondents felt guilty about the loss, and 41% felt they had done something to cause the miscarriage.
In the setting of this stressful life event, many women do not feel that they receive adequate support. 41% of the women reported feeling alone, and 28% felt a sense of shame. Often women who have had a miscarriage feel that others are insensitive and view a miscarriage as a relatively benign event. But for 36% of the women surveyed in this study, experiencing a miscarriage felt as if they had lost a child. And among women with a strong religious affiliation, about two-thirds of the women felt that miscarriage was tantamount to losing a child.
As clinicians we want to reassure our patients that even after a miscarriage, the chances of having a normal pregnancy are high. However, we must remember that the emotional distress associated with a miscarriage can be significant, and we must offer support but also accurate information regarding miscarriage and its causes.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD
Misunderstanding of Miscarriage Common, Study Finds (Medscape – free subscription)