9 Common Myths About Miscarriage

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN on December 15, 2020
  • Cropped image of Caucasian couple holding hands while seated on couch
    Misunderstanding Fuels Miscarriage Myths
    At least 10 to 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but misconceptions about miscarriage abound. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to common causes of miscarriage, and women who experience early pregnancy loss are often inundated with unhelpful and inaccurate advice. Let’s bust these 9 common miscarriage myths once and for all.
  • Young couple meeting with older doctor or therapist
    Myth No. 1: No one knows what causes miscarriage.
    Although it’s extremely difficult to know why any particular pregnancy ends in miscarriage, researchers and healthcare providers know a lot about the causes of miscarriage. About half of all miscarriages are the result of genetic problems with the fetus. Problems with the uterus or cervix (opening of the uterus) can also cause miscarriage; so can chronic health problems, including autoimmune disorders (like lupus), diabetes, and hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Infections, including listeriosis (a type of food poisoning) and sexually transmitted infections can trigger a miscarriage too.
  • Cropped image of young Caucasian woman holding stack of files, folders, phone and coffee
    Myth No. 2: Stress can cause a miscarriage.
    Nearly 75% of women believe stress can cause miscarriage. Some pregnant women even avoid funerals and upsetting situations in an effort to protect their unborn babies. But everyday stressors—traffic on the way to work, a disagreement with your spouse, unexpected expenses—won’t harm your baby. However, long-term exposure to stress—the kind of stress that results from living in poverty or an abusive situation—can harm your health and may increase the risk of miscarriage. It’s difficult to quantify this increased risk because many factors influence the body’s reaction to stress. Scientists continue to study the link between stress and miscarriage.
  • Young Caucasian woman looking concerned while older African American doctor shows something on tablet
    Myth No. 3: You don’t need medical treatment for a miscarriage.
    All women who are experiencing a miscarriage should see a healthcare professional. Your doctor, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner will want to make sure no pregnancy tissue remains in your uterus. In many cases, the woman’s body will pass all the tissue over a period of weeks. If it doesn’t, or if you can’t or don’t want to wait that long, your healthcare may prescribe medication to help. Surgical removal of the tissue via a procedure called a dilation and curettage (D & C) is another option.
  • Young Caucasian woman through window looking sad while standing at kitchen sink
    Myth No. 4: A miscarriage isn’t a big deal.
    Losing a pregnancy can be physically and emotionally traumatic. According to the American Psychological Association, women who experience a miscarriage are at increased risk for depression and anxiety, and the emotional effects of a miscarriage can linger for years. Miscarriage affects men too. The loss of a desired pregnancy can seem like a devastating blow, and men frequently aren’t included in any shows of sympathy post-miscarriage. Give yourself and your partner time to grieve. Talk about your baby, your pregnancy, and your miscarriage. If your grief becomes overwhelming, talk to your healthcare provider; professional counseling can help.
  • Young Caucasian couple in pajamas looking concerned while lying in bed
    Myth No. 5: You should “try again” as soon as possible.
    A new pregnancy can’t replace one that was lost. Give your body and mind time to heal. Most women are physically able to conceive a month or two after a miscarriage, but the decision to “try again” shouldn’t be based on biology alone. On the flip side, you don’t need to wait a pre-determined amount of time before trying to conceive either. Most doctors tell women to wait until they’ve had at least one normal post-miscarriage menstrual period, but that’s so they can easily the determine the likely due date of any resulting subsequent pregnancy.
  • Young African American couple talking to female doctor in office
    Myth No. 6: You can prevent a miscarriage.
    It’s impossible to fix the genetic abnormalities that cause most miscarriages, at least right now. Scientists have tested all kinds of interventions, including bed rest, no sex, and the administration of progesterone and other pregnancy hormones, and none of the tested interventions effectively prevent (or even decrease the risk of) miscarriage. However, if a structural problem such as an incompetent cervix (a cervix that opens too soon) is determined to be the cause of your miscarriage, medical treatment may help prevent another miscarriage from the same cause.
  • Young Asian American woman runner wrapping bandage around leg after fall
    Myth No. 7: Injuries can induce a miscarriage.
    Slipping down the stairs or falling on a patch of ice won’t cause a miscarriage. Neither will minor bumps or blows to your belly. Unborn babies are very well-protected in the womb; the uterus is a strong organ, and your baby is floating in amniotic fluid. The kinds of accidents and injuries that occur as a part of daily living aren’t likely to threaten your pregnancy. Severe injuries, such as those that result from a car accident or interpersonal violence, can threaten the life of mother and baby. If you suffer a serious injury, see a healthcare provider ASAP.
  • Semi-silhouette of woman drinking hot coffee at sunrise
    Myth No. 8: Caffeine causes miscarriage.
    You don’t have to give up your morning coffee or your afternoon cola. Although some studies suggest that high daily doses of caffeine increase the risk of miscarriage, the science is still inconclusive. Healthcare professionals agree you can safely have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine each day, the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee. Don’t fret if you go over this amount, especially if it’s a one-time or occasional thing. Many healthy babies have been born to women who regularly ingested caffeine throughout their pregnancies.
  • Young Caucasian mother holding newborn infant for first time
    Myth No. 9: If you’ve had multiple miscarriages, you’ll never have a healthy pregnancy.
    Multiple miscarriages often have an identifiable cause, so your healthcare provider may be able to run some tests to determine the likely cause of your miscarriages which may point the way toward effective treatment. Women who have antiphospholipid syndrome (otherwise known as APS) may produce blood clots that can cause miscarriage; treatment with low-dose aspirin and injectable medication can help preserve the next pregnancy. Similarly, surgery may correct structural issues. The good news: Most women who experience a miscarriage eventually have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
9 Common Miscarriage Myths About Causes & Risk

About The Author

Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a Registered Nurse-turned-writer. She’s also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and co-creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching Tomorrow’s Men. Most recently, she is the author ofThe First-Time Mom's Guide to Raising Boys: Practical Advice for Your Son's Formative Years.
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Last Review Date: 2020 Dec 15
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