Dispelling the myths of miscarriage
Due to the unanswered questions surrounding miscarriage a number of myths have developed and spread, resulting in uninformed and untrue ‘miscarriage facts’, continuing to circulate. Dr David Hunter, Consultant Gynaecologist with the 3fivetwo Group takes a look at some of the most common miscarriage myths and tells us if there is any truth in them.
Suffering a miscarriage is a heart-breaking experience which often leaves many unanswered questions and self-doubts about whether something could have been done to prevent the loss from happening, and if any specific event or events during the pregnancy may have contributed to it.
Unfortunately, miscarriage is very common with 1 in 5 pregnancies being affected. A second miscarriage can indicate an underlying medical reason which may warrant investigation, but in the first case of a miscarriage, a cause is commonly not found.
Despite first time miscarriages being common, this does not detract from the distress caused and many women struggle with the loss of their pregnancy, often blaming themselves or their partner for causes which they think could have led to the miscarriage happening.
For this and other reasons, a number of miscarriage myths have developed and spread, resulting in uninformed and untrue ‘miscarriage facts’, continuing to circulate.
Dr David Hunter, Consultant Gynaecologist with the 3fivetwo Group has recently helped launch Northern Ireland’s first dedicated Miscarriage and Pregnancy Planning Clinic. He has encountered many of these miscarriage myths over the years.
Here he looks at some of the most common miscarriage myths and tells us if there is any truth in them.
Miscarriage myth 1 – Miscarriage caused by stress
This is one of the biggest causes of concern for many women who have gone through a miscarriage. They often think that stress caused their miscarriage by putting ill effect on the unborn baby. This simply isn’t true.
The human body is more than capable of dealing with most levels of emotional and psychological stress and there are many scenarios in life that will cause high levels of stress, yet we manage to cope. Being calm and collected during a pregnancy can certainly help cope with planning and lifestyle adjustment, but in the case of miscarriage, it has absolutely no implication.
Miscarriage myth 2 – My diet caused my miscarriage
Again this is simply not true. While not eating properly during pregnancy can result in a low birth weight in some cases, it does not result in miscarriage.
A healthy diet, high in folic acid is recommended during your pregnancy and some vitamins and supplements can also be beneficial. Maintaining a healthy weight will help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Women who are overweight (with a BMI of over 30) do have an increased risk of miscarriage occurring. It is advised that weight loss programs take place prior to pregnancy and are discussed with a healthcare professional if you plan to continue with these during pregnancy. Some of the other problems that may be encountered due to being overweight during pregnancy include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and blood clots.
Miscarriage myth 3 – Sex during the pregnancy can result in miscarriage
Many women feel that sex during pregnancy can hurt the unborn baby and potentially cause a miscarriage. Again this is another myth.
Sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe and you won’t hurt the baby by making love. In fact most women who are having a normal pregnancy may continue to have sex right up until their water breaks or they go into labour.
In some circumstances (most often associated with bleeding), you may need to adjust your activity or abstain from sex altogether for part or all of your pregnancy. Your midwife or Doctor will be able to provide more information on whether this may apply to you during your pregnancy.
Miscarriage myth 4 – Exercising during pregnancy can cause miscarriage
As a pregnancy develops many women do feel more restricted in their movement and day to day activities. A lot of women continue to exercise during their pregnancy and this is perfectly healthy. Exercise will not cause a miscarriage so continuing with your exercise routine is safe although you may need to adjust it during the pregnancy.
There are some rules which you will need to follow during your pregnancy but again, these will not result in a miscarriage occurring. It is recommended that you do not get your heart rate above 140bpm or exercise to the point of feeling faint or exhausted.
Miscarriage myth 5 – Getting a bump or knock on the tummy
During pregnancy many women are more cautious and aware of their surroundings and this is a completely natural reaction. A bump or knock to the tummy can cause a lot of worry and in many women who suffer from a miscarriage; they often feel conscious that this could have been the cause.
This is a common myth which does have an element of truth. The baby is well protected in the amniotic sack so a bump or knock, while it may cause some injury to you, is very unlikely to affect the developing baby in the first trimester when the pregnancy has the additional protection of the ‘bony pelvis’ which acts in many ways like a ‘helmet.’ During the second and third trimesters, caution should be taken as significant trauma can cause placental abruption. In very rare cases this can also lead to a later trimester miscarriage.
If you have suffered a miscarriage, you can speak to Dr David Hunter at the 3fivetwo Healthcare – Miscarriage and Pregnancy Planning Clinic where you will have access to the latest tests and investigations. To book an appointment or to find out more about the service, please call 0845 60 06 352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Miscarriage and Pregnancy Planning Clinic, we also offer a confidential counselling service with our counsellor Diane McAllister. Call us on the details above if you would like to book an appointment.