Survey Reveals that Myths and Misinformation About Miscarriage Still Persist

woman after miscarriage

Survey by Digital Health StartUp Ava Reveals that Myths and Misinformation About Miscarriage Still Persist

About 66% of women blame themselves for losing a pregnancy, and almost half were advised erroneously by doctor to wait a few cycles before trying to conceive again

About two-thirds (66%) of women who have miscarried blame themselves for losing the pregnancy. And despite the fact that the majority of miscarriages are the result of chromosomal abnormalities, 59% of women still mistakenly believe “stress” can cause a miscarriage; 28% mistakenly cite “intense exercise,” and 27% cite “lifting heavy objects” as factors.

These are among the results of a recently (September 2019) completed survey of 3,440 adult women in the US and UK by Ava, maker of the popular Ava Fertility Tracker, that sought to uncover common beliefs and experiences surrounding miscarriage. This is the second year in a row Ava has surveyed women from around the world about this topic. 

“It’s sad to see how little women’s misperceptions and misinformation  about miscarriage have changed,” said Ava Chief Medical Officer Maureen Cronin. “For years, it’s been proven that miscarriages are not caused by stress, exercise or lifting heavy objects, and yet somehow these myths still persist, making women feel even more unwarranted guilt and self-blame for the loss of a pregnancy.” 

Women Still Getting Outdated Advice About How Long to Wait Before Trying to Conceive Again After Pregnancy Loss

The survey also showed that many healthcare providers also may not be doing enough to support women following a miscarriage or even providing the most recent evidence-based guidance about how long to wait before trying to conceive again. Specifically, while three-quarters of respondents who miscarried said they wanted to try to get pregnant again right away, nearly half (49%) said that a doctor had advised them to wait a few cycles before trying again. This is despite the fact major medical research shows it’s fine for the majority of women to try again within the first cycle following a miscarriage. In addition, 25% said they felt their healthcare provider was not compassionate after their miscarriage. 

“It’s surprising that many women still hear that they should wait a few cycles to try to conceive again, despite the fact that the vast majority of women want to get pregnant again right away, and multiple large, high quality studies that show there is no reason to wait,” said Cronin, noting that, in fact, quite the opposite might be true based on recent notable studies* showing that women who conceive within the first six months following a miscarriage are actually less likely to miscarry again. 

On the flip side, employers do seem to be getting the message about miscarriage among their female workforce. More than half (54%) of women who had miscarriage said their employer was accommodating after the miscarriage (even though 78% had not yet even announced their pregnancy before the miscarriage occurred). 

* https://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c3967
* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4780347

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