Clearing Up Miscarriage Misconceptions

Many women have misconceptions about miscarriages.  They either spend their entire pregnancy fearful that they will miscarry, or they blame themselves and their daily activities if they do, indeed, miscarry. It's very important to be informed about what causes miscarriages and what does not cause miscarriages. About 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, so if you've had a miscarriage, you're not alone. 

Factors That Do Not Cause Miscarriages

It's important to understand factors that do not cause a miscarriage.  Some women assume that excessive stress can cause a miscarriage.  Although some researchers do suspect stress to be a factor in miscarriages, there is no good evidence to support this theory.  In addition, normal levels of exercise, sexual activity, working, lifting heavy objects and vomiting do not cause miscarriage.  In general, falling or injuring yourself is also very unlikely to be a cause for miscarriage, unless this injury is severe enough to threaten your own life.  Some women assume that sleep can be tied to miscarriage - if they are always tired and do not sleep enough, they assume that this can contribute to miscarrying. There is no research to support this premise. 

Factors That Do Contribute to Miscarriages

If none of these activities result in miscarriage, then what does cause miscarriages?  There are a number of factors that do increase your risk.  Your age is definitely a factor.  Women older than 35 have a higher risk of miscarrying than women younger than this age.  Women older than 40 have an even higher chance of miscarrying.  The risk of miscarriage is higher for women who've experienced other miscarriages - if you've had at least two previous miscarriages.  If you have a chronic problem like diabetes you also have a higher chance of miscarrying, and if you have cervical problems or uterine issues you do as well. 

Behaviors That Can Cause Miscarriages

Certain behaviors do contribute to miscarriages as well.  Smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs can all contribute to higher levels of miscarriage.  Caffeine may also contribute to miscarriage.  Recent research showed a connection between large quantities of caffeine during the first trimester and miscarriage rates.  The research is not conclusive yet, but it is advisable to avoid caffeine whenever possible while pregnant.  In addition, there are some tests that are performed during pregnancy that increase your chance of losing the baby.  Amniocentesis tests and a few other tests can slightly increase your risk.  It's important to talk to your doctor before agreeing to any invasive prenatal tests.

Taking Care Of Yourself

The best thing that you can do for yourself while pregnant is to eat well, exercise moderately, and go to all of your prenatal visits with your doctor.  Most miscarriages can not be prevented and it's important to understand that miscarrying is not something that you can blame on yourself.  Many miscarriages occur because there was something wrong with the baby.  Miscarriage is nature's way of taking care of the problem.  Try to keep yourself feeling good during the pregnancy and understand the facts that lead to miscarriage - and don't believe in the old wives tales and misconceptions.