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It's only natural to worry a bit throughout your pregnancy -- after all, this whole baby thing is new, nail-bitingly unpredictable, and you just want so badly for it to go perfectly. And guess what? It usually does. Here, doctors explain the real facts about the things that freak you out most. Read on -- and heave a huge sigh of relief.
THE FEAR: I'll have a miscarriage.
THE (RELAX!) FACTS: It's unlikely. Most pregnancies result in healthy babies (less than 20 percent end in miscarriage), says Karyn Morse, MD, an ob-gyn at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "Remember also that most miscarriages also happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy, when many women typically don't realize they're expecting and wouldn't know if they did miscarry. They'd just get a normal-looking period," she says. After your doctor can see a heartbeat (usually around 6 to 8 weeks) the risk of miscarriage drops to about 5 percent. And there's very reassuring news if you should have one. The odds of having a second miscarriage is very small -- less than 3 percent, says Diane Ashton, MD, MPH, deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. So what causes a miscarriage? Often, it's due to a chromosomal abnormality that prevents the fetus from developing normally, and miscarrying is totally unavoidable -- not because of anything you did or didn't do. But you can lower your risk by not smoking or drinking alcohol and cutting back on your caffeine intake (aim for 200 milligrams or less, or one large cup of coffee, a day).
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