When Mark Zuckerberg announced on July 31 that his wife Priscilla Chan was expecting a baby girl after three miscarriages, social media was flooded with stories of people who had endured the pain of miscarriages.
Zuckerberg’s poignant admission on Facebook addresses the stigma associated with miscarriages which can be battled only if more and more people talk about it openly.
Experts say that one in every four pregnancies could be at a risk of miscarriages.
Dr Anuradha Kapoor, Head of department of Gynaecology at Max Hospital, says that miscarriages in the first trimester are generally because of chromosomal abnormalities or infections. The probability drops after the first trimester as the chances of chromosomal abnormality reduces.
Miscarriages could happen due to various biological reasons and couples are not at fault. Certain myths about miscarriages and pregnancy have been around since our grandma’s times.
We speak to experts to bust the common misconceptions about miscarriage.* Don’t walk fast or climb stairs
Expecting mothers are told not to walk fast, climb stairs, exercise or lift heavy weights as any physical exertion could trigger a miscarriage. This is not true, says Dr Kapoor.
In fact Dr Bandana Sodhi , gynaecologist at Moolchand Hospital advises that during pregnancy women should do moderate exercises. “They could go for prenatal yoga or antenatal physiotherapy,” she adds.
* The biological clock stops when you are 30
It is widely known that a woman’s chances of pregnancy reduces after the age of 28 (some say 30).
Dr Sodhi says that the chances of chromosomal abnormalities are higher if the expecting mother is older than 35 but that does not mean a miscarriage.
* Stress is the end of it
Stress and anxiety are definitely not the reason for a miscarriage, say doctors.
“Having an argument at home or any other kind of stress does not lead to a miscarriage,” says Dr Kapoor.
While Dr Sodhi also agrees that stress does not cause miscarriage, she says that trauma due to severe injury could be hazardous.* Do not eat foods that generate heat
Expecting mothers are often asked to avoid foods like dry fruits and eggs that generate heat. Dr Sodhi says that such concepts are not true. She says that doctors normally advise expecting mothers to avoid papaya and ajinomoto but not dry fruits and eggs.
“In fact almonds and other nuts are nutritious and eggs are good protein sources,” she adds.* The 'pill' is the enemy
Dr Kapoor says some of her patients, who were on oral contraceptive pills before their pregnancy, tend to believe that being on pills increases their chances of a miscarriage. They couldn’t be more wrong, she says.
“Oral contraceptives do not cause miscarriages,” agrees Dr Sodhi.* Sex is a definite no-no
Dr Kapoor says that having sex during pregnancy is harmless as long as the couple is comfortable, unless otherwise advised by the doctor.
“Having sex could at times cause pain in the abdomen but it definitely doesn’t cause a miscarriage,” adds Dr Sodhi.
* One miscarriage means there's more to come
Experts say that a single miscarriage does not mean that subsequent pregnancies will lead to miscarriages.
Dr Sodhi says that only if the patient suffers three consecutive miscarriages is it termed a recurrent miscarriage. In such situtations the cause needs to be determined.
All photos: Shutterstock
The author tweets as @priyankaa_sahoo
Read: How to avoid unnecessary weight gain before and after pregnancy