Misconceptions surrounding miscarriages are prompting women who experience one to feel guilty and ashamed, new stats suggest.
Almost half of women who’ve had a miscarriage felt guilty while two in five admitted to thinking they had done something wrong. Two in five women also confessed to feeling alone after suffering a miscarriage.
The stats were the result of an online survey and showed just how little information couples who’ve miscarried receive – and how little other people know about the loss of an unborn baby.
Three quarters of the 1,084 people polled thought that a stressful experience could cause a miscarriage, 64 per cent thought that women could miscarry after picking up a heavy object and a fifth admitted they thought that previously using oral contraceptives could be the reason why.
A fifth believed that smoking or drinking during pregnancy was why the majority of women miscarry. But the truth is 60 per cent of miscarriages are down to genetic problems.
Of the women polled, 15 per cent had suffered a miscarriage. Over half of those said they weren't given a reason for their loss – leading experts to worry that couples don’t have access to enough support and information about miscarriages.
The researchers, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshive University and Montefiore Medical Center in New York are worried about the effects of people having the wrong idea about the causes of miscarriages.
“The results of our survey indicate widespread misconceptions about the prevalence and causes of miscarriage,” says Dr Zev Williams, the director of the programme for early and recurrent pregnancy loss.
“Because miscarriage is very common but rarely discussed, many women and couples feel very isolated and alone after suffering a miscarriage. We need to better educate people about miscarriage, which could help reduce the shame and stigma associated with it.”
Over half of those polled thought that miscarriages aren’t all that common and happen in less than six per cent of pregnancies. In actuality, around one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and even more miscarriages happen before women are aware that they’re expecting a baby. They’re actually one of the most common pregnancy complications.
One thing that’s clear from the results of the survey is that both men and women crave support when going through a traumatic ordeal like this.
Almost half of those polled said they felt less alone when a friend talked about their own miscarriage and 28 per cent admitted that hearing celebrities talk about miscarriage was a big help, too.
Both Amanda Holden and Lily Allen have spoken openly about their miscarriage – and still birth – experiences and are continuously campaigning for more support of women during this difficult period.
“I think it’s difficult for anybody regardless of what world they live in and actually what I took home from that experience was… ,” Lily said on The Jonathan Ross Show last year.
“Even though it was the most unfortunate thing that can even happen to a person, I was very fortunate in the sense that I have a loving partner to go home to and share that experience with.”
If you’ve suffered a miscarriage or want to find out more, there are plenty of places in the UK you can get the support and help you need.