Having a miscarriage is a heartbreaking experience. I don’t know any woman who takes it lightly. I do know several friends who have internalized the guilt after having miscarriage after miscarriage. From both real-life relationships and personal accounts I have read online, it seems like a woman that has experienced one or multiple miscarriages is always looking for the cause. Almost inevitably, she blames herself.
Recent research isn’t going to help this guilt in the least. Scientist at the University of Copenhagen studied 91,427 pregnancies. The study revealed that paying more attention to “avoidable risks” could prevent roughly 25%, or one in four, miscarriages.
Paying closer attention to avoidable risks, such as being underweight or obese before conception and drinking alcohol in pregnancy, could help reduce the toll, a study claims.
Working nights and lifting heavy loads also increased the chance of miscarriage, as did being aged over 30, the Danish team said.
They claimed that if women were able to cut these risk factors to very low levels, 25 per cent of miscarriages could be prevented.
It’s wonderful to know that science is working hard to reduce the risk of miscarriage by raising awareness. But I have mixed feelings about this kind of information. I know as a woman that has been pregnant twice that there are more than enough “warnings” of what you can and can’t do during pregnancy for the sake of the baby.
That doesn’t even begin to cover all of the annoying old wives’ tales—like don’t lift your arms over your head when you’re pregnant to reach something on a shelf because the umbilical cord could strangle the baby and cause a miscarriage. Yes, I’ve heard it all before, and this so-called wisdom did strike fear in my heart when I was pregnant.
I did not have a miscarriage, so I can’t fully imagine the guilt, anxiety, and sadness that come with it. But I am an anxious, guilty mother that often obsesses over every little thing that I do and how it will affect my kids. A woman that has had one or more miscarriages and reads this study will only feel worse. She carries enough guilt already.