Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Misunderstandings about miscarriages

Full disclosure: I had two miscarriages before bringing my daughter to term. I still think about those embryos--both around 8 weeks--all these years later.

A study done by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and the Montefiore Health System show that feelings of guilt and shame are common after a miscarriage and that most people think "misses" are rare. (J of Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Nearly one million miscarriages occur in the US each year. This is one in four pregnancies. Most people thought maybe 6%--it was 25%.

They did a 33-item survey--crowdsourced in the internet. Each participant got 25 cents. Participants numbered 1,084--over 3 days in 2013--45% men, 55% women. Fifteen percent had suffered a miss or their partner had.

--22% thought smoking, drinking, or drugs caused it--60% are caused by genetic problems. Or the structure of the uterus may be at fault, endocrine disorders, or autoimmune issues. Lower educated or men tended to blame lifestyle choices more.

--28% said celebrities talking about their miscarriages eased their feeling of isolation..46% felt less alone if friends had shared.

--Almost three-quarters felt stress might be at fault or lifting heavy objects or an STD or IUD, even past use of oral birth control. Incorrect.

--47% reported feeling guilty, 41% of feeling alone. Fewer than half said they got good support from the medical community.

An overwhelming majority wanted to know the cause and how another could be prevented.

This should not have a stigma, the doctors said--there are some tests to find out what went wrong.

After two misses, I asked should I continue. Finally, I was put on progesterone to make the uterine lining spongier and more likely to hang onto the embryonic sac trying to adhere...And it worked. But every patient is different.

May I add one other thing. Many women feel bad because they had some drinks before they even knew they were pregnant. Yes, it's better to not drink steadily in a pregnancy--but look at our mothers--they drank two cocktails a night and had healthy babies. This cannot be the huge bugaboo they would have us believe.

And it certainly is not flushing babies from the womb right and left.

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