On The Cutting Edge

Emotional_Response_Miscarriage_ChartLast month a survey was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Green Journal. This publication is serves as the primary resource of academic research for practicing OB/GYNs. The survey addressed the issue of public perceptions of miscarriage. I thought it pertinent to highlight this particular article because of its frequency in the fertility world.

The questionnaire was administered to 1084 individuals between ages 18-69 across the United States. Respondents were 45% male and 55% female. Here are there responses. While 15% of respondents reported that they or their partner had  experienced at least one miscarriage, 55% of respondents thought the miscarriage occurred in 5% or less of all pregnancies.

Respondents believed that the following were common causes of miscarriage

When asked about their emotional response after a miscarriage, respondents indicated the following experiences

These responses were generally similar across all socio-economic classes of women from those with a high school education to those with a graduate degree. They both suggest that there are still large misperceptions about the causes of miscarriage and the need for emotional support after they occur.

Miscarriage_Beliefs_ChartHere are some of the realities of miscarriage. Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy in the United States. It occurs in 15-20% of clinically recognized pregnancies, but can occur in up to 40% of pregnancies in women over the age of 40. This translates into 750,000-1,000,000 cases annually. The majority of miscarriage occurs because of genetic abnormality (aneuploidy). This is a failure of the sperm or egg to deliver the correct DNA to embryo formation, or can occur as the embryo itself is dividing in early pregnancy. This is known to be an increasing issue as women age. Other established causes of miscarriage include structural abnormalities in the uterus (such as fibroids or a uterine septum), blood clotting disorders (such as antiphospholipid syndrome), endocrine disorders (such as thyroid disease), and autoimmune disorders (such as antithyroid antibodies).

The emotional impact of miscarriage can be devastating resulting in further delay in conceiving and therefore increased risk in future miscarriage. As a result, early utilization of services such as support groups or therapy can be critical to maintaining your chances for future pregnancy. In addition, it has been demonstrated that women who understand the cause of their miscarriage experience a shorter length of increased anxiety around their miscarriage. Given that the largest cause of miscarriage is genetic abnormality, remember to request this testing if possible should you experience a miscarriage.

For further recommendations on miscarriage go to: http://tinyurl.com/opzr7ft

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