The Truth About Black Women and Miscarriages

The Truth About Black Women and Miscarriages

Jay-Z recently revealed that Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage. This brings to light the fact that Black women are no strangers to miscarriages.

Published January 10, 2012

It was the birth heard around the world this weekend: Beyoncé gave birth to little baby Blue Ivy Carter. To celebrate this amazing event, Jay-Z wrote and released a new track, "Glory." But not everything in the song was joyful — Jay-Z admitted that Beyoncé had suffered a miscarriage in the past.

Miscarriages are "spontaneous abortions" and they result in the unintended loss of a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks. Miscarriages usually happen in the first trimester, occurring at 13 weeks or less and usually happen because the fetus isn't developing correctly.

It’s important to note that Bey's experience isn't rare.

Black women are no strangers to miscarriages. Over the years, research has suggested that African-American women are more susceptible to miscarriages than other women for a slew of reasons: Pollution, lack of prenatal care, access to quality health care, genetics and high levels of stress to name a few.

Here's some other important information:

— Studies suggest that 10 to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Among healthy women, the chance decreases a bit with a 10 to 15 percent chance of miscarriage.

— Chemical pregnancies may account for 50 to 75 percent of all miscarriages. This happens quickly after conception and when the baby plants itself in the vaginal wall, which results in bleeding right about the time a woman would start menstruating. So in many cases, a woman doesn’t even know that she was ever pregnant.

— Some symptoms of miscarriages are mild to severe back pain, weight loss, painful contractions happening every 5 to 20 minutes, brown or bright red bleeding, tissue with clot passing from the vagina, passing white-mucus through the vagina and sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy.

— Some other risk factors to miscarrying include age, having had a previous miscarriage, obesity, uncontrolled chronic diseases such as diabetes, cervix and uterine issues, and infections such as HIV, gonorrhea and measles.

— And while experts usually agree that miscarriages mostly occur because of chromosomal issues, there are lifestyle changes you can make before you conceive: Exercise regularly, eat healthy, manage stress, keep weight within a healthy range, take folic acid vitamins everyday and don't smoke.

— Once you know that you are pregnant, try making sure you do the following: Keep your abdomen safe from injury, don't not smoke or be around smoke, don't drink alcohol, check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications, cut back or quit drinking caffeine and try to avoid radiation and x-rays as much as possible.

Even though miscarriages are pretty common, there is still a lot of stigma and silence around the issue. And there shouldn't be, especially since a miscarriage can be very emotionally draining and hard to cope with.

If anything can come from the news that Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage, is that it can happen to anyone and that no one is alone.

To learn more about miscarriages and pregnancy go here.

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.

(Photo: Image Source/Getty Images)

Written by Kellee Terrell


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