Causal explanations of miscarriage amongst Qataris

Susie Kilshaw, Nadia Omar, Stella Major, Mona Mohsen, Faten El Taher, Halima Al Tamimi, Kristina Sole, Daniel Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite its commonality, there is a paucity of literature on miscarriage in non-Western societies. In particular, there is little understanding of how people ascribe cause to miscarriage. This research sought to gain an in-depth understanding of notions of miscarriage causality and risk amongst Qataris. Methods: The study adopted an exploratory descriptive qualitative approach and collected data during 18 months of ethnographic research in Qatar, including semi-structured interviews. The sample includes 60 primary participants (20 pregnant women and 40 women who had recently miscarried), and 55 secondary participants including family members, health care providers, religious scholars and traditional healers. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. Primary participants were interviewed in Arabic. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and translated into English. Data was analysed using an inductive thematic approach, which involved identification and application of multiple codes to different text segments. Data were encoded manually and examined for recurrences across the data set. Similar quotations were grouped into subcategories and further categorized into main themes. Results: A number of key themes emerged, revealing Qatari women attributed miscarriages to a number of factors including: supernatural forces, such as God's will and evil eye; lifestyle, such as physical activities and consuming particular substances; medical conditions, such as diabetes; and emotional state, such as stress, and emotional upset. Resting, avoiding stress and upset, maintaining healthy diet, and spiritual healing (ruqyah) are seen as a means to avoid miscarriage. Conclusion: Practices and beliefs around miscarriage are embedded in social, cultural, religious and medical frameworks. Understanding the socio-cultural context and understandings of explanatory theories can enhance health care providers' understandings, resulting in improved communication and care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number250
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 27 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Causation
  • Miscarriage
  • Preventive measures
  • Qatar
  • Qualitative research
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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