One of the first questions patients who’ve experienced a miscarriage ask during a follow-up appointment with our office is, “Did I do something wrong?” 

It’s a heartbreaking question and one that is very common among women who’ve miscarried. We also know that it can be a private thought, one that is presented as a small voice in your head in the days, weeks, or even months after losing a pregnancy. This is entirely understandable, though we want to make one thing clear upfront: no, this is not your fault. Miscarriages are actually common, occurring in one out of every four pregnancies. There are reasons why they can occur, though it is very rare that this would be a direct result of anything a patient has done, especially unintentionally. 

Why do miscarriages occur?

A miscarriage, or pregnancy loss, can happen for a few different reasons. One of the most common is chromosomal abnormalities, which means the fetus either has an irregular number of chromosomes or the chromosomes themselves are abnormal in some way. Most of the time, these abnormalities happen completely at random. 

Other common reasons for miscarriage can include:

  • Problems with the placenta 
  • Complications from underlying health conditions including structural conditions within the womb 
  • Infection
  • Food poisoning 
  • Certain medications
  • Unknown reasons

Can I prevent a miscarriage?

In the event that you receive a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis and are advised to undergo care at home or in a hospital setting, there is a chance your pregnancy will eventually lead to a successful live birth. In these cases, your doctor will provide you with specific details about your individual situations.

However, sadly, miscarriages are not always preventable. Because most miscarriages are caused by random chromosomal abnormalities, there just simply isn’t a way to 100% prevent a miscarriage from occurring. Even though this is the case, that doesn’t stop many women from blaming themselves after a miscarriage has occurred. In many cases, the miscarriage was not caused by anything that the woman did specifically.

If there is anything specific you feel puts you at risk for a miscarriage or a thought that you cannot get past after having a miscarriage, please connect with your provider so he or she can alleviate this stress and assist with whatever next steps best suit the family planning goals you may have, if relevant.