Researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have found that many people in society have misconceptions on the causes of pregnancy loss, which places a psychological burden on parents who experience them.
The university interviewed over 900 people through an online survey, and found that over 90 percent of respondents think stress may lead to miscarriage, while over 60 percent believe high intensity exercise was another cause.
But Dr Celia Chan, who led the survey, stressed none of these factors are associated with pregnancy loss.
The expert from HKU's Department of Social Work and Social Administration pointed out that the phenomenon is very common, with around 20 percent of known pregnancies ending in miscarriage.
She said unsolicited advice given by people around the bereaved parents – such as "it must have been for the best," or “you are still young and you can get pregnant again” – could be very distressing.
"[Parents] will find this a 'secondary trauma' to them because they have already gone through some traumatic experience due to pregnancy loss," Chan said.
"They may want to get support from the others, but if they get some unsupportive response, they will find that this is another kind of trauma. They feel very frustrated with all the unsolicited advice, and they will gradually retreat from the community."
The researchers said they will strengthen public education on the issue, and launch a three-year pilot project to provide psychological and social support for parents who have lost their baby.