The general populations’ understanding of first trimester miscarriage: a cross sectional survey

Less than 3 in 10 people who took part in our nationally representative survey were aware of the incidence of miscarriage. Family, friends and the internet were the main knowledge sources: less than 1 in 6 people engaged with healthcare providers for miscarriage information.

Claire McCarthy, Sarah Meaney, Rachel Rice, Keelin O'Donoghue
Journal Name
European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology (EJOG)
Journal Article
Awareness / Knowledge, First-trimester miscarriage
Full Citation
McCarthy CM, Meaney S, Rice R, Sheehan J, O'Donoghue K. The general populations' understanding of first trimester miscarriage: a cross sectional survey. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2020;254:200-205.
Link to Publication


Miscarriage is a common, yet for many, devastating adverse pregnancy outcome. We examined the general public’s knowledge of miscarriage, as well as their health information seeking behaviours around this topic, through a national telephone survey of 967 adults in the Republic of Ireland. 699 (over 7 out of 10) participants provided an estimate of miscarriage frequency, with almost three in every ten people correctly estimating that miscarriage occurs in 21-30% of pregnancies and three out of every five people under-estimating the incidence. Men were more likely than women to under-estimate, as were those without children, or those living in urban areas. One in three participants believed that the risk of miscarriage was higher following only one miscarriage. While over four out of five people knew someone who had experienced a miscarriage, just over one in three had discussed the topic of miscarriage with a family member/friend. Improving the level of knowledge of the general public could be achieved by adopting the topic into existing public health and education strategies. This will allow those experiencing miscarriage to frame their experience and expectations.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,