Quantitative: The socio-demographic distribution across age, education level, and employment status for the miscarriage and pregnancy participants are illustrated in Table 1. Primary participants were Muslim Qataris with an average age of 26 years for pregnant participants and 33 years for those with a miscarriage. They were generally educated; more than 50% of pregnancy and miscarriage cohorts achieved at least undergraduate education. The majority (60%) of both groups are employed.
Qualitative: A number of key themes emerged around narratives of miscarriage causation and risk: supernatural factors, lifestyle and diet, medical conditions, and emotional state of the mother.
Miscarriage (n = 40)
Pregnancy (n = 20)
Maternal Age (yrs)
Up to high school
Number of Live Births
Total Number of Pregnancies
Total Number of Miscarriages (none-consecutive)
Explanations of cause of miscarriage
The first miscarriage was normal for me because my mom miscarried and many women who I know also had miscarriages and then they had children… My mother in law told me that it always happens with women because of tiredness and once you had children before you will have again so it is not a big deal.
For us it [miscarriage] is normal, but for someone who miscarries a lot they feel sorry for her.
Allah’s decision is always good. Allah knows his people and what is good for them and what is not. Allah saw that this baby is not good for me so he took it back… He may be meant to be abnormal or disabled or may grow up to be a tyrant and will kill me or kill his father or he may grow up to be a corrupted person. There must be wisdom of his death. I believe in Allah and I accept whatever comes from him.
The problem is if people know that I am pregnant, something wrong will happen to me, if anyone talked about my pregnancy I am sure something bad will happen to me.
Yes, they say it is evil eye … but in general, people are educated now and they know that there must be a reason that has caused the miscarriage. They suggest ‘Ruqyah’ to treat evil eye. Old people believe in evil eye; they worry more. When I told my mother that I am pregnant she told me, “Don’t tell anybody.”
The eye is real and it has been narrated in ‘hadiths’ that the eye may lead a man to the grave or the camel to the pan [it may cause the death of someone and make the impossible things possible], but people now exaggerate the eye. They refer any problem that happens to them to the eye, though it may be due to other reasons. For example, maybe it is our unhealthy food that is causing this problem… But definitely, a woman with many births could be cursed especially if another woman who is infertile looked at her belly, so she may eventually miscarry. Absolutely, the evil eye is like an arrow that comes out of the eye of the jealous person.
Possession by jinn
If the jinn is settled in the uterus it will prevent pregnancy; many people are possessed and this possession caused them to miscarry so they seek help from religious leaders and from Quran.
Lifestyle: Activity and diet
It is because of tiredness ….I think having rest is important, may be if I rested I wouldn’t have miscarried.
I blamed myself, maybe my work rhythm is fast and I didn’t slow down… I work in communications; we have too much work… we move a lot…we have a lot of movement and pressure.
Maybe life has changed and the woman has more responsibilities now. She goes to her work and then comes back and sometimes she is tired. Many things have changed: the life style has changed.
In Gulf region countries we always say that a woman miscarries because she lifted a heavy object: this is the most common theory. She carried something heavy or she overworked or slept with her husband. We don’t consider the medical or biological reasons... They asked me when I had the miscarriage; “did you carry something? What did you do?” Even though the woman doesn’t do any work at home.
Domestic abuse is also one of the reasons; they give her so much work more than what she can afford. I know a woman who got married young and her mother-in-law was abusing her by letting her do a lot of house work, such as carrying buckets of water from one floor to another while she was pregnant.
Medical conditions and chromosomal abnormalities
International studies prove that 60% of miscarriage are due to abnormalities and, for me, I believe that this is from God because if all the 60% didn’t abort, imagine how much the number of abnormal human beings would be living on the Earth. Once I tell the patient this, she keeps quiet and she thanks God.
(Why does a woman miscarry?) For many reasons: like congenital deformities or a clot in the placenta. I think a clot in the placenta is the cause of most pregnancy losses… I heard that if a pregnant woman doesn’t take Aspirin she will lose the baby.
Diabetes has a big role. My previous miscarriage was because of diabetes… and my pregnancy ended.
Because when the lady gets pregnant many times, this will weaken the uterus. I think this is the most [common] cause of miscarriage
Age plays a role. It was risky for me to get pregnant at this age. I asked the doctors before I decided to get pregnant and they all said: “it is not recommended.”
My mother in law was two and a half months pregnant at my wedding… she was over 45-years-old, maybe 48… Bedouins will still have children even if they are old.
I told her, “but mother I have six kids and I got pregnant normally not by treatment.” She said, “even though, don’t inform anyone”.
Emotional state, stress and distress
Yes, my sister miscarried once and it was due to stress. A woman started talking rubbish behind her back, so she got upset and angry and the same day she miscarried.
My sister and I went through a similar situation: our uncle passed away recently and I was very sad for his loss… My aunt had a heart attack and died immediately. She visited us a day before her death, so when my sister heard the news she was shocked…. Immediately after my sister heard about my aunt’s death, the baby died. I don’t know if this has scientific evidence but these were two situations that we both experienced.
She probably had the miscarriage because she was under emotional stress. Her eldest sister passed away when we were in London during our summer vacation.
My mother in law was pregnant when she got divorced so she miscarried. So I don’t know but I think the psychological condition of the mother affects the pregnancy.