According to The Daily Mail on Wednesday, one in four miscarriages might be preventable.
Paying closer attention to avoidable risks, such as being underweight or obese before conception and drinking alcohol in pregnancy, could help reduce the toll, a study claims. Working nights and lifting heavy loads also increased the chance of miscarriage, as did being aged over 30, the Danish team said.
They claimed that if women were able to cut these risk factors to very low levels, 25 per cent of miscarriages could be prevented. The large study of more than 91,000 pregnancies also confirmed that one of the biggest factors influencing miscarriage is the mother's age, with women over 30 having a higher chance of miscarrying.
The team behind the study, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, used data from 91,427 Danish pregnancies between 1996 and 2002.
They regarded miscarriage as before 22 weeks of pregnancy and found that 3,177 of the total sample of pregnancies resulted in miscarriage.
Women were asked during a telephone interview to discuss their habits leading up to conception and during pregnancy.
The women were typically interviewed around 16 weeks into their pregnancy. Those who had already suffered a miscarriage were asked about their habits leading up to the miscarriage.
The study found that age, drinking alcohol, lifting more than 20kg a day, night shifts and being obese or overweight all contributed to miscarriage. However, other scientists warned the study did not show that these factors cause miscarriages.
A mother's age and alcohol consumption were the most important risk factors.
"In a prevention scenario where the women conceived at an age of 25 to 29 years, consumed no alcohol during pregnancy, were normal weight before pregnancy, did not lift more than 20kg daily during pregnancy, and worked only during the day, 25.2 per cent of the miscarriages were preventable.This scenario resulted in the highest preventable proportion of miscarriage."
The researchers estimated that 11.4 per cent of miscarriages could be prevented if women conceived aged 25 to 29, and 9 per cent of miscarriages could be prevented if no alcohol was consumed during pregnancy.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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