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Reasons Of Miscarriage Are Many, But Society Will Always Blame Women!

Reasons of miscarriage are many. The inefficiency of pregnancy results in pregnancy losses at possibly all stages. It is a fact that we often don't learn about and simply pin the blame of miscarriage on women.

Pregnancy, even a normal one, is a complex and flawed process. The inefficiency of pregnancy results in pregnancy losses at possibly all stages. And there are various reasons of miscarriage that we often don’t learn about and simply pin the blame on women.

The terms miscarriage and abortion are often used synonymously, and they can be. Let us define miscarriage first before we proceed to the reasons for the same.

The WHO defines miscarriage as expulsion or extraction of a fetus or an embryo weighing 500gms or less from the mother’s womb in less than 22 completed weeks of gestation. Miscarriage can be spontaneous or induced (voluntary termination of pregnancy).

In this article, we are discussing spontaneous miscarriage. It can be early (before 12 weeks) or late (between 12-24 weeks).

How common is miscarriage, and what are its reasons?Reasons Of Miscarriage Are Many, But Society Will Always Blame Women!

Miscarriages can occur even before the periods are missed. Or shortly thereafter, making the person believe it is just a normal period, maybe slightly more painful and heavy.

This is called a biochemical pregnancy or post implantation miscarriage. The incidence is as high as 30%. The majority of these occur in less than 6 weeks of pregnancy.

Clinically recognized pregnancy loss rates are approximately 10-20%. This is after pregnancy has been confirmed and seen on ultrasound.

There is another entity known as Recurrent pregnancy loss. This is when a person has more than 3 miscarriages spontaneously. There is no time frame, no medical requirement, just more than 3 miscarriages or pregnancy losses is known as RPL. The incidence of RPL is 1-2%.

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The spontaneous loss of any pregnancy, especially a planned one, can be devastating for the couple.

It has come to my attention that most of the time, the female partner is treated as the reason for the miscarriage. This is simply not true. There can be multiple reasons involving both partners. But Society Will Always Blame Women!

Below you will find some of the reasons for miscarriage:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities – the most common cause, factoring both parents. It is the single largest cause of sporadic miscarriage, accounting for 50% of all cases.
  • Fetal malformations – apart from chromosomal anomalies. Again, both parents to be factored.
  • Placentation abnormalities– not attributable to anyone per se. Certain procedures, such as induced or surgical termination of pregnancy because the couple is not ready for the pregnancy or for an abnormal pregnancy, can sometimes cause placental issues. Smoking (even passive smoking by the male partner), drug use can also contribute.
  • Any infection anywhere in the body– infection can be passed from the male partner when they have unprotected sex and poor hygiene. Other infections which can happen to anyone such as cough, cold, fever, malaria, typhoid – you name it, can be a reason of miscarriage. No one goes out and purchases an infection – it is something we cannot help!
  • There are certain maternal and paternal factors –which can increase the risk of miscarriage, but not cause them, on their own. These are as follows:
    1. Twin/triplets pregnancy- whether by IVF or IUI or spontaneously. Regardless of how they are conceived, pregnancy losses can occur more than usual.
    2. Advance age of mother or father
    3. Stress: this includes the number and nature of traumatic events. Sorely underrepresented as a cause for miscarriage.
    4. Previous termination of pregnancy: Previous MTP [Medical Termination of Pregnancy] can cause infections/adhesions etc in the uterus, which can then lead to increased risk of miscarriages in the future.
    5. Low or high BMI: body mass index in the person carrying the pregnancy. Basically, when weight is not in proportion to the height.
    6. Previous miscarriage – spontaneous
    7. Chronic illnesses like thyroid issues which is not managed properly, diabetes, cancer treatment, trauma etc.
    8. Uterine malformations. Abnormalities of the uterus and/or other parts of the reproductive system are genetic in origin and out of anyone’s control.
    9. Our genetics: regardless of gender— are not just limited to inheritance from our parents. No. Our genes are a complex compilation from all our ancestors. They are not predictable and, as of now, not curable – if causing a disease.
    10. Accidental use of certain medicines or general anaesthetic in early pregnancy.
    11. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy. (which I have yet to find a pregnant patient doing)

There is always a medical reason for miscarriage

There is a reason you may seldom, if ever, hear about a person’s miscarriage.

Firstly, it is nobody’s business except the expecting couple and their doctor. It is an extremely sensitive issue, which you need not inquire about if no information is volunteered.

Secondly, when word does get out, say via family members – all blame is shovelled on the woman. Which is ridiculous, because this is not a situation that can be helped by assigning blame.

Stop blaming women!

A lot of women live with their in-laws, who will not think to blame their son. But have no qualms about blaming the daughter-in-law. Some of the things that get said are quite demeaning.

I was shocked to find out the following statements are quite common with regard to the mother:

As soon as we came to know she was pregnant, we told her to quit her job, but she took the doctor’s word over ours and now see…consequence of being career oriented.”

This is what happens when you eat mangoes/pickles etc. during pregnancy. We told her not to.

She kept sleeping in the afternoon, that why she lost the baby

Again, she has lost a baby means it is a curse from the first baby

Third time she has lost a baby— she is not fit to be a mother—Woh Ma banney ke layak hi nahi hai.

We told her not to climb stairs

This is what happens when you go out at night for walks with your husband or friends. Ab le lo ‘me time’”

To be fair, in good and educated families— I mean genuinely educated, not just possessing degrees and money — this doesn’t usually happen because the doctors are pretty honest and explain everything.

But in families who have had their brains scrambled with superstition, no amount of explanation can convince them. They will think what they want to.

Media portrayal of miscarriage is misleading

Reasons Of Miscarriage Are Many, But Society Will Always Blame Women!

Of course, the media can be overwhelmingly foolish in its portrayal of a miscarriage. Woman falls down, immediately has a miscarriage — not true majority of the time.

Woman hears some bad news and immediately has a huge bout of bleeding and pain and apparently loses the baby — also not true most of the time.

A woman is sleeping and suddenly finds herself in a pool of blood and has lost the baby – almost never happens in real like. Almost never!

The process of miscarriage is painful and bloody. It is also emotionally overwhelming and psychologically scarring. Most women, on their own, blame themselves. Imagine the pain!

Women want compassionate words, not cruel words disguised as honesty.

We need to be supportive and compassionate rather than say “I told you so.” That is simply cruel. We need to help them see that it is not their fault.

We need to investigate the possible causes of miscarriage and the family needs to bring the woman to the hospital, to follow the doctor’s instructions, avoid the blame game and give extra love, affection, hugs, and support to the person undergoing the miscarriage. This is a part from good medical treatment.

Reasons Of Miscarriage Are Many, But Society Will Always Blame Women!

Don’t look for cheap treatments!

This is not a time to be taking a woman from hospital or hospital in search of shortcut cheap treatments which could endanger a woman’s life or cause complications like infections, infertility etc.

Remember this – no woman who wants to be a mother will willingly be negligent or take any action to harm her baby. No one will be in more pain – physical and emotional – from the loss of the baby, that the mother.

Stop with the judgements, it is not anyone’s place. These things can happen to anyone.

The author of this article is an OB-GYN.

Image Source: luciafoxdesign and Wavebreakmedia via Getty Images, free on Canva

To know about other health issues specific to women, click on the links below.
Breast Health.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception Available in India

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About the Author

coffeeismypoison

Very feminist gynecologist. Cannot do without coffee and dogs. Bibliophile. Apart from seeing patients, most recently occupied with quietly observing my bibliophobic husband take up reading. read more...

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