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December 9th, 2011
05:38 PM ET

Having 19 babies doesn't cause miscarriage

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

There are many reasons that might explain why Michelle Duggar miscarried her twentieth child, but it’s likely not because her body failed after having so many children.

“It’s not about how many children you’ve had. It's more about your age, as miscarriages increase as you get older,” said Dr. George Macones, a spokesman for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Duggar is 45.

Duggar miscarried in her second trimester, which occurs in only about one to two percent of pregnancies, according to Macones, who added that second trimester miscarriages sometimes happen because the baby had a chromosomal abnormality, or because the baby died or the mother had a health problem, such as a weak cervix.

“Sometimes we just don’t know why they happen,” he added.

After a miscarriage, a woman should talk to her doctor about doing testing to see if the miscarriage was a random event or the result of a chromosomal abnormality, says Dr. Mary Stephenson, director of the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program at the University of Chicago. (The Empowered Patient has more information on determining whether a miscarriage was a fluke).

“It’s very important to try to figure out why the miscarriage occurred, because that does impact the outcome of the next pregnancy,” Stephenson says.

Couples have different ways of dealing with the psychological impact of a miscarriage. In a statement, the Duggars said that after they find out the gender, they will choose a name and conduct a funeral service. The Mayo Clinic has more information on coping with pregnancy loss.

Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.


soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Pagan

    The Dugers are ridiculous. There are millions of children out there who need homes. Why would anyone be so irresponsible as to bring 19 children into the world without a thought of adopting one of the millions who need a home. Not to mention, what kind of quality care and parenting can you give 19 children? I truly feel sorry for the oldest girls because you know they're doing the majority of the parenting rather than getting to have a childhood. Just disgusting!

    December 12, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moli

      I believe they would have been more help to the world and serve their god by adopting, not saying they shouldn't have had a nice sized family naturally. There are so many children in America that need safe loving homes.

      December 12, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Sedona

      You are correct....I was the oldest of eight and I was considered mommy #2.

      December 13, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • ctbeckyw

      Why would they not consider adoption? Simply because Michelle Duggar is ill. She has this twisted need to be constantly pregnant, loves the "high" of childbirth (see what I can do) and has a husband twisted enough to fulfill the need by going forth an populating.

      December 13, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      So she has a lot of children, so what. I bet they get more love than a lot of kids whose parents both work full time. They support them, on their own, without public assistance. It's her right to have as many kids as she wants. I think a lot of you "holier than thou" know-it-all's are jealous that you don't have the close, loving, family that the Duggars have.

      December 13, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • L

      Pagan you write that the Duggar's should adopt children instead of having them biologically. You never mentioned it in your comment but how many children have you adopted?

      December 14, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • Mitsy

      Elizabeth Cohen needs to be told that having 19 children did not HELP her body whatsoever. Add that to her AGE & you have a sure-fire recipe for miscarriage. Let's hope this is her LAST attempt at pregnancy. Enough like 6 kids ago. Enjoy the grandkids & be thankful you have them. It's time to quit pretending you are young enough to breed more children into this world.

      February 15, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      @Misty-It would probably be best if you leave the statements to the professionals and those familiar with Mrs. Duggar herself.

      March 2, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  2. Moli

    You have lost your ever loving mind, as a person of color I am seriously offended by your comment. And for my Caucasian citizens you are welcome at anytime. Actually any legal person is welcome in the good Old United States of America.

    December 12, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Eleni

    What truly concerns me is the possibility that, further pregnancies may jeopardize Michelle's life, possibly leaving 19 children without a mother.

    December 12, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      They'll call it "God's Will" and move on. Most believers share a concept of god-given personal responsibility. These people feel that everything is out of their hands, and they can just function like robots and let the Big Man Upstairs do all the thinking for them.

      As they say, the process of evolution doesn't factor in intelligence.

      December 12, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • Birdie

      I agree to this. She's had troubles the past two pregnancies. Soon, the older girls will have to step up to be the Full Time Mother (more than they already are) after their mother has died.

      December 12, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • SueS

      Increasing problems in the last 2 pregnancies with the last one resulting in the death of the baby. I predict that, should they not take them as a sign from God that they should stop having kids, Michelle will be dead with the next one or, at latest, the one after that.

      Care for the children you have and STOP trying to have any more!

      December 12, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • tabbi

      what about every mother who is in the armed forces, or a police woman, or fire woman... they risk their lives daily. and as to those who speak of how she doesn't give enough time to each child, what about children who are raised by nannies because mom and dad are doctors or lawyers? what about children who have politicians for parents, born liars they are..... life isn't perfect, kids need to learn to deal with that and do. and yes, children learn to live without parents when parents die, it is yet another fact of life.

      December 12, 2011 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Excellent point!!

      December 13, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • WhoKnewIt

      BINKY42, "As they say, the process of evolution doesn't factor in intelligence." Clearly that IS the case after reading your comment. It's their business, it's not your tax money so what gives you the right to say anything at all about it or the way they lives their lives? Does it have ANYTHING to do with you? No, I didn't think so.....

      December 17, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  4. Dee

    Having had an early 2nd trimester miscarriage, I am very sorry for this family's loss. However...I hope they decide that 19 is a large enough family for them. I worry about the sociological/psychological effects on the children in a family of this size, not to mention the carbon footprint.

    December 12, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Katie

    I am a little disconcerted by someone celebrating herself as a baby factory. She can't possibly give much time to any individual child, and the wear and tear on her own body will take a toll. She's only forty-five. She's lucky her uterus is still inside her body and that her bladder holds her urine. I'm sorry she lost a baby, but she took on the heartbreak herself, didn't she? Good lord, celebrate the children you do have and forget about producing more.

    December 12, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tabbi

      she celebrates living a life with a person relationship with Jesus, and her family is her pride and joy. period.

      December 12, 2011 at 22:00 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Maybe now that Jesus has given her two miscarriages, she'll take the hint.

      December 12, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • JenLaw

      You say that like it's a bad thing. Those of use who are able to have several children feel blessed. There are many women who can not conceive naturally and it is agonizing.

      December 13, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
  6. soraya

    Who are WE to judge?

    December 12, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeramieH

      We're the audience, and they're the ones who have chosen to put themselves in front of television cameras. If you can't take criticism, don't step into the limelight.

      December 12, 2011 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
    • tabbi

      "we are the audience".... so you watch their show?????

      December 12, 2011 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Sure, I've seen a few episodes to know what it's about. How else would I have an opinion about it?

      December 12, 2011 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • Marlena

      Regardless of whether or not JeramieH has seen 1 episode or 20, this family chose to engage in a reality show and therefore have headlines about them pop up on People, CNN, and more. When they made that choice, anyone who watches their show, reads articles about them, whatever, became their "audience." They chose to be in the limelight and the fact is that that opens them up to public scrutiny. If they don't like it, they should probably get off the TV.

      December 13, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • gm

      We are also citizens who share this overcrowded, stressed planet. The reality TV aspect just confirms the obvious: the Duggars are selfish and egocentric.

      December 13, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      @Soraya-AMEN! We don't want them coming into our homes and telling us how to live! Let them live life as they have chosen. Thats one of the wonderful rights we have as Americans.

      March 2, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
  7. K Rex

    Do you know how to decide whether she is wrong or right for having so many kids? You ask yourself, what if every female gave birth to 19 kids? How would that effect the Earth's resources? What other problems would this cause? Answering these questions should lead you to the answer that she is in the wrong.

    December 12, 2011 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. tabbi

    doesn't everyone just love the internet. being able to give your opinion without being called a variety of names to your face(or via email, txt,etc.). I don't even want to know how many of the people leaving posts on here claim to be Christian. Perhaps most of you don't. I can only hope so, and that is what I'm going to tell myself to be able to get to sleep tonight. God bless and forgive us all.

    December 12, 2011 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Binky42

      So, you're judging the people who are judging the Duggars? That's called hypocrisy.

      December 13, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  9. Zman1978

    To all

    I feel this family is very selfish and now its just a game and a record to beat. At the same time they are christian radicals who need to practice using protection. The earth's population will someday regret all this over production of kids

    December 12, 2011 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Who are you to tell them what the "should" practice. That would be the same as them coming into your home and telling you that you should not use protection because God said it was wrong. Their belief system should stay between them and GOD.

      March 2, 2012 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
  10. Susan

    I can't stand all the octomoms, plus 8s and Duggars of the world who exploit their spawn to make money off them. The older kids in this family are slave labor to take care of the younger ones, but of course mom & dad cash the checks they get for parading their kids on TV like trained punguins. If you can't take care of all your own children yourself, you have to too many to care for.

    Funny how the bible bangers say it is god's will to have so many, but then they did not trust that same god to dictate the fate of their last live born spawn and had the other people paying into their insurance subsidize zillions of dollars to care for a baby their god had decided should not live. They say they "trust god", but they put modern medicine above him, don't they? LOL, that sure breaks a commandment, doesn't it???

    The Duggars are selfish and I feel sorry for their kids who do not even get the benefit of a proper education or free will as they are brainwashed big time. The saddest thing I ever saw was the daughter in law who couldn't wait to be a mother- like she had a choice to be anything else? The only future those poor girls have is to get married off young & remain barefoot & pregnant while they make the older kids do slave labor to raise the younger ones. So sad

    December 13, 2011 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JenLaw

      I hope you are referring to your own children as "spawn".

      December 13, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      I knew that I was highly likely to carry a gene that causes a devastating disease I would not wish upon my child, so we chose to adopt two of the many American children (older ones) that are waiting for families. The youngest started college this fall (hoping to become a lawyer at this point) & we are happy that they both chose their own religious beliefs and are able to think for themselves & want more from life than to be baby factories or to exploit other humans for their own financial gain.

      Lower forms of life spawn & that is just what the Duggars are,

      December 13, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
  11. mmi16

    Just because you can – doesn't mean you should!

    19 is more than enough.

    December 13, 2011 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. BobT

    Why is it the Duggars will gladly take all those fat paychecks for their kids being on a TV show but they will not let the kids watch TV????

    Yeah, terrified they will see the outside world & want to dump the brainwashing & escape to it.

    Way to go, hypocrites LOL

    December 13, 2011 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. BobT

    We can only hope!

    December 13, 2011 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Laureth

    Why is there so much vitriol directed at this family? What exactly have they done that is so horrible? Oh, they had the audacity to have 19 kids. They aren't conning people out of their hard earned money, they haven't killed anyone, they aren't committing fraud. They just decided not to use birth control. Do I think they're nuts for having so many? Yes. Do I think Michelle is getting too old to be having more? Yes. Do I think they should stop having kids? Yes. But hey, they never called me and asked me what I thought they should do because it has nothing to do with me. They had sixteen kids before they ended up with their own show. I firmly believe they would've continued to have more even if they didn't have a reality show.

    They're not on welfare, Michelle and Jim Bob are married, they have no debt(even before they got their show, they had no debt), the kids are well behaved(yes, I've watched snippets of the show here and there) and OMG, they're given chores to do and expected to do them(perish the thought that a family actually gives their children responsibilities). Every night before the kids go to bed they all sit down together as a family and talk. How many of us do that with our kids?

    Look at the Kardashians and look at the Duggars.

    December 13, 2011 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mario

      Watch more- they are exploiting the kids to make money and they are using them as slave labor to care for all those kids because she has more kids than she can care for and keeps having more. Well behaved? That is called editing, you can film anyones kids and make them look good or bad by what you show on TV. Oh, the TV thing, fine to make a lot of money being on it, but they won't let the kids have TV or Internet- what are they afraid of??? Those poor kids don't go to school or do stuff w/ kids they are not related to, they are like prisoners of the biblebanger clan.

      The Kardashians are trash too, only they have better clothes.

      December 13, 2011 at 07:17 | Report abuse |
  15. A.

    the health of her cervix and uterus has nothing to do with the elasticity of her vgina, which by the way, recovers remarkably after birth, and as long as she doesnt kegels both that and her bladder would be fine
    more of a concern is her uterus and the possibility of rupture, as well as whatever the reasons were for her premature child.

    December 13, 2011 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      No one knows the cause or causes of preclampsia, or life-threatening high blood pressure during pregnancy. The sole treatment is delivery to save the life of the mother, otherwise she is in danger of heart attack or stroke. It could happen with her next pregnancy or not. It happens to teenagers with their first pregnancy and to multiparas. It's a mystery.

      Since she lost this pregnancy perhaps she might realise she's getting to the age her eggs are getting too old for healthy viability. Down's Syndrome is a real risk for her pregnancies now. It could be the reason she had this miscarriage. Nature takes care of these things.

      December 13, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
  16. bob

    Yeah, but the combined effects of 19 births will most likely cause one. How many C-sections has she gone through? Two? Three? Her risk of uterine rupture was pretty darn high. She also had to contend with all the scarring built up as a result of her pregnancies, live birth or not. You might also want to consider the fact that she's forty something years old and her body is worn out by constantly being pregnant.

    December 13, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. konjokris

    They are whack jobs, I don't care if they take care of their own kids they are still religoid nut bags. Most religoids are nutty.

    December 13, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Leah

    She really needs to stop now. She's 45 and already has 19 children and one or two grandchildren. She needs to get her tubes tied or something.

    December 13, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Rebecca

    Yeah.....right.....not as long as TLC knows her pregnancies are good for ratings no matter if any sane woman her age would not have more. I bet she gets a raise every time she gets knocked up.

    They need the paychecks and all the freebies they get because they are a TV side show. When the show ends so does all that and heaven forbid any of them had to go out and get real jobs. None of them are educated or have a clue about the real world, they would be lucky to find work at McDonalds.

    December 13, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. jo

    People get so angry at evangelical christians for "pushing" their beliefs on others, but have no problem telling these same people that their beliefs are wrong. It is so double sided. I admire Michelle and Jim-Bob for sticking to their beliefs. Their children are able to provide for themselves, the family is provided for without being on Assistance, One person's convictions are not another's and if this family has made that committment to God, then who are we to say that their conviction is wrong.

    I have lost 3 children during the 2nd trimester. This is a difficult and horrendous thing to go through. I admire them for looking to God for comfort during this time. Noone knows the reasons that God takes a baby home early.

    As far as the older children helping with the younger ones. This is something that has been part of America and other countries for years. Also, as far as overcrowding- I think God keeps it in check with the increased inability for couples to have children and considering the percentage of families not having any children or only having one has gone up, I think you are mistaken that this one family will cause the Earth to die.

    December 13, 2011 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. HP

    Dear Lord:

    We Americans would like to point out a little mistake of yours. It's understandable, of course; 7 billion people must be quite a handful! It seems that you gave this Duggar woman 19 children. We're sure you agree, this is quite ridiculous and irresponsible. Now that you are aware of your mistake, we're sure you'll instruct Mrs. Duggar regarding the correct number of babies a proper American woman should have. You can also teach her about the variety of methods she can use to prevent further blessings. Thanks for setting this right, Lord.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Clearly you do not share their evangelical christian views, the methods you refer to are not a part of her religion. But way to come off like a bigot for telling her that your views are superior.

      March 2, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  22. kate

    Since they are in the news all the time, everyone can say what they think. I think, "Enough is enough, Duggars." It's no longer healthy to have children. You are blessed with 19 healthy children, and that in itself is a miracle. I know Michelle has dealt with loss, but has she celebrated what she has? I'm starting to think she is brainwashed, too. It's become a fiasco of human rights.

    December 21, 2011 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. doreen

    Does it really matter how many children she has..Come on really........Everyone should just mind their own business and
    go clean a dirty park ..fill your day with positive thingsl.........it is none of anyones business. When you have to feed them or cloth them ..then you can speak

    January 23, 2012 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.