Today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a newly released survey shows that a majority of women (66 percent) who have miscarried blame themselves for losing the pregnancy.
Additionally, despite the fact that the majority of miscarriages are the result of chromosomal abnormalities, 59 percent of women still mistakenly believe “stress” can cause a miscarriage; 28 percent mistakenly cite “intense exercise,” and 27 percent cite “lifting heavy objects” as factors.
The survey — released today by Ava, maker of the Ava Fertility Tracker — of 3,440 adult women in the US and UK, sought to uncover common beliefs and experiences surrounding miscarriage. This is the second consecutive year that 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,” Maureen Cronin, M.D., Ph.D., Ava’s chief medical officer, said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The survey also showed that many healthcare providers 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, half said that a doctor had advised them to wait a few cycles before doing so. This is despite major medical research showing that it is fine for the majority of women to try again within the first cycle following a miscarriage. In addition, 25 percent said they felt their healthcare provider was not compassionate after their miscarriage.
On the flip side, employers do seem to be getting the message about miscarriage among their female workforce. More than half (54 percent) of women who had miscarriage said their employer was accommodating after the miscarriage (even though 78 percent had not yet even announced their pregnancy before the miscarriage occurred).