Miscarriage, it’s Not Your Fault

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT
November 17, 2019

Miscarriage, a disappointing and saddening event, is unfortunately common. According to Mayo clinic, it is estimated that about 30% of “clinically recognized” (pregnancies that have been verified by a physician) pregnancies will result in miscarriage. This is quite a high number; miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication in the United States.


When miscarriage happens, it cannot be blamed on anyone, most especially yourself. During this emotional experience, it is easy for women to want to find someone to blame; they find themselves the easiest targets. “Maybe it’s something I did wrong”, “maybe it is something I ate”, “I could’ve avoided that one glass of wine at my sister’s wedding”, “I could’ve somehow prevented this outcome” – these feeling of blame, accompanied with feelings of shame can be a horrific experience. Physicians frequently cannot give an exact causes to every patient about their miscarriage making this even more frustrating. With very few exceptions, there is almost nothing you or your physician can do to affect whether you will have a miscarriage or not.

While there is not one single factor that automatically causes miscarriage, there are some known factors that can increase your chances.

Chromosomal abnormalities, which is not something that you can go into your body to change, especially after it has already happened, is one factor. Chromosomal abnormalities can include Molar pregnancy – where there is an abnormal growth of the placenta and no development of fetus, Blighted ovum – where there is no formation of an embryo, and intrauterine demise of fetus – where, although there is a formation of an embryo, it stops developing after a while, leading up to miscarriages. These chromosomal imbalances and abnormalities are not problems that can be pre-considered. The only time that any action can possibly prevent miscarriage would be when your physician has identified a solution, usually to recurrent miscarriages. Keep in mind that much of science is still unclear about how to treat miscarriages, there is no guarantee that the treatment you receive will automatically cease miscarriages and help carry your baby to term.

It is commonly known that engaging in risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and doing drugs, while pregnant can be a factor to miscarriages. Arguably, those who purposely engage in these risky behaviors while pregnant could be considered “at fault” for their pregnancy loss. But the truth is that not all women who smoke and drink during their pregnancy will miscarry.

The bottom line is, most miscarriages will not be accounted for by any specific causal factor. The best thing to do as a grieving mother is to take time in coping with your grief, eliminate any risk factors that you may have, speak to a professional about trying again (assuming you want to), and or speak to a mental health professional to help you cope with the grief of losing your unborn child. Rather than looking back, blaming yourself, and dwelling in the feelings of shame and disappointment or trying to figure out the cause of a past miscarriage, take care of yourself. Resist the urge to blame yourself, odds are greatly low that the miscarriage happened because of something you did or did not do.

Adebolanle Ade, MSW, RBT

Adebolanle Ade is a Mental Health Social Worker and Registered Behavioral Technician. She has many years of experience writing and advocating for mental health awareness.