Despite increased public awareness of pregnancy loss over the past decade, there are still nearly as many myths about miscarriage floating around in the general public as there are facts. Here is a look at several common misconceptions people have about pregnancy loss.
Even if a miscarriage happened just a few days after the mom missed her period, she may grieve the loss. Many women begin planning for and bonding with their unborn babies as soon as the pregnancy test comes back positive, so even an early loss can be emotionally devastating. The mother's feelings are what count, not what others think she should be feeling.
Miscarriage is almost never caused by anything the mother or her doctor did or did not do. It's out of anyone's control. Yet, sometimes even women's own families assign blame or assume the mother must have intentionally caused the miscarriage. The truth is that miscarriages are sadly quite common, occurring in around 15% of all confirmed pregnancies -- and often for no clear reason.
Although it's common advice, there is no scientific evidence that women need to wait a set amount of time before getting pregnant again after a miscarriage. Similarly, there is no evidence that getting pregnant sooner than three months increases the risk of another miscarriage.
Although many doctors prescribe progesterone to women with a history of miscarriage, supplemental progesterone in early pregnancy has never been proven to reduce the risk of miscarriages. There is some limited evidence that progesterone might help a subgroup of women with recurrent miscarriages, but studies have never shown any benefit to routine use of progesterone for women who have never miscarried or who have had one or two miscarriages.
Women who have had one miscarriage have roughly the same odds of a successful pregnancy the next time as women who have never miscarried. But women who have had two consecutive miscarriages should consider talking to a doctor about testing for possible causes before getting pregnant again.
Bleeding in early pregnancy is always anxiety-inducing, but miscarriage isn't the only possible explanation for early pregnancy bleeding -- and many women who have bleeding in the first trimester go on to deliver healthy babies. It is wise to see a doctor for a checkup if you have bleeding during pregnancy, however, and women should always contact a doctor immediately if they have bleeding in the second or third trimesters.
If doctors are able to diagnose ectopic pregnancies before they pose an immediate threat of rupture, it may be possible to treat the ectopic pregnancy with medication to stop the pregnancy growth rather than surgery.
Although repeated miscarriages are extremely stressful and emotionally difficult, and frequently go unexplained even after testing, the majority of couples with three or more unexplained miscarriages will eventually have a successful pregnancy even with no treatment other than supportive care in early pregnancy.