Tuesday, May 12, 2015

American Study Reveals Widespread Ignorance About Miscarriage

I know that people tend to be ignorant when it comes to pregnancy and the unborn, but I really had no idea about the extent. Wow.

Formatted for easier reading:


To assess attitudes and perceptions of U.S. survey respondents regarding prevalence, causes, and emotional effects of miscarriage.


We used a questionnaire consisting of 33 questions administered in January of 2013 to men and women aged 18-69 years across the United States.


Participants from 49 states completed the questionnaire: 45% male and 55% female (N=1,084).

Fifteen percent reported they or their partner experienced at least one miscarriage. [Is this representative of the public? I wonder... I think miscarriage is more common than that.]

Fifty-five percent of respondents believed that miscarriage occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies.

Commonly believed causes of miscarriage included:

a stressful event (76%)
lifting a heavy object (64%)
previous use of an intrauterine device (28%)
or oral contraceptives (22%).

Of those who had a miscarriage:

37% felt they had lost a child
47% felt guilty
41% reported feeling that they had done something wrong
41% felt alone
28% felt ashamed.

Nineteen percent fewer people felt they had done something wrong when a cause for the miscarriage was found.

Seventy-eight percent of all participants reported wanting to know the cause of their miscarriage, even if no intervention could have prevented it from occurring.

Disclosures of miscarriages by public figures assuaged feelings of isolation for 28% of respondents.

Level of education and gender had a significant effect on perceptions and understanding of miscarriage.


Respondents to our survey erroneously believed that miscarriage is a rare complication of pregnancy, with the majority believing that it occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies. There were also widespread misconceptions about causes of miscarriage. Those who had experienced a miscarriage frequently felt guilty, isolated, and alone. Identifying a potential cause of the miscarriage may have an effect on patients' psychological and emotional responses.

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
Post Author Corrections: May 06, 2015
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000859
Original Research: PDF Only
A National Survey on Public Perceptions of Miscarriage.
Bardos, Jonah MD, MBE; Hercz, Daniel MSc; Friedenthal, Jenna MD; Missmer, Stacey A. ScD; Williams, Zev MD, PhD