Confusion About Miscarriage
Approximately 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Even though this is quite a high number, and it means that one out of every five women will miscarry, women still have many misconceptions about miscarriage. Most women are very surprised and shocked if they find themselves in the category of those who experience a miscarriage. Misconceptions about miscarriage can be very damaging, as they can lead the woman to believe that she did something wrong - and that she could have prevented the miscarriage from happening. Learning more about miscarriage misconceptions can help the couple to cope with the miscarriage and to learn to move beyond it.
What Does NOT Cause a Miscarriage
First, it is important to examine the factors that do not lead to miscarriage - even though people often believe that they may. While stress can be a factor in miscarriage, there is no evidence to support that it will lead to miscarriage. Similarly, some people will reflect on the amount of exercise that they did, or will think about heavy boxes that they moved, and will assume that these things caused their miscarriage. Normal levels of exercise, lifting, sex, work, and vomiting do not lead to miscarriage. Falling and injuring yourself is also not likely to cause a miscarriage. Other women worry that a lack of sleep can be a cause of miscarriage - there is no research to support this idea either.
What Does Cause a Miscarriage?
There are a number of factors that may increase a miscarriage, although none of them can be pointed to as the absolute cause of a miscarriage you may have. Your age certainly can be a factor. Women who are older than 35 are at higher risk of miscarrying. Similarly, if the male is over 40, this may actually increase the risk as well. If you are a woman who has already had multiple miscarriages, your risk of having more is higher than the normal average. This is the case if you've had at least two miscarriages previously. If you have diabetes or other chronic problems, or if you have cervical or uterine problems, you are also at higher risk.
Watch Your Lifestyle
The good news is that there are certain lifestyle changes that you can make to decrease your chance of having a problem. Higher levels of miscarriage are linked to smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs. Although there isn't conclusive evidence as of yet, caffeine levels have also been tied to miscarriage. Large amounts of caffeine during the first trimester do seem to increase a woman's risk of miscarrying. Ironically, there are some tests that you might voluntarily take during the pregnancy that could increase your chance of miscarrying. Amniocentesis slightly increases your risk, as do a few other tests. Ask your doctor about the side effects and risks of any tests that you are offered before agreeing to take them, and educate yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of these tests.
Certainly, conception, pregnancy, birth and raising children all teach us that we aren't in control of everything that we plan in life. We can do our best by educating ourselves, protecting ourselves as much as possible, and altering our lifestyles, but we can't control everything. Most miscarriages are not preventable, and this should actually take some of the pressure off of you if you are nervous about miscarrying, or if you already have. Try to stay in good shape, to eat well, to sleep enough and to keep a positive attitude. Hopefully, you'll soon be holding a beautiful baby in your arms and any miscarriages that you've had will be a thing of the past.