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Having a miscarriage can be devastating to expecting parents. Preventing it from happening is sometimes impossible, but you are able to lessen the chances. There are several ways to do this, and it is important to keep them in mind before and during your pregnancy.
What is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage occurs in almost half of first trimester pregnancies. It is defined as a loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation. This can happen due to a variety of factors as explained in the next section.
The loss of pregnancy can be a huge shock to expecting parents. 60 percent of miscarriages happen because of genetic abnormalities. The cause is usually out of the parents’ control.
What Causes Miscarriage?
Uterine Abnormalities and Incompetent Cervixes
A uterus can be abnormally divided or shaped. This is called uterine septum. Miscarriage occurs because the embryo either cannot implant or cannot get the nourishment it needs if it does happen to implant.
An incompetent or weak cervix can lead to miscarriage since the bulging of the cervix at the end of the first trimester causes it to be unable to hold the fetus in. This condition can be treated.
60 percent of miscarriages occur because of these abnormalities. Mismatched chromosomes are the result of them not lining up correctly when the egg and sperm meet. Couples who have recurrent miscarriages (two or more in a row) sometimes find out that they cannot conceive because of these anomalies.
Sometimes the body does not get the message from the fertilized egg that it is not a germ. The body can reject it, and antibodies that attack one’s own tissues will attack the embryo as well.
Diseases like thyroid problems or uncontrolled diabetes cause the uterus to have an unfavorable environment. The effects that these conditions have makes it hard for fetuses to survive.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS causes the body to have too much testosterone. This can cause ovulation and ovulation irregularities. PCOS causes insulin resistance, preventing the endometrial lining from properly maturing. An estimated five to 10 percent of reproductive aged women have polycystic ovary syndrome.
The most common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Facial hair
- Abnormal menstrual cycles or none at all
- Irregular periods
- Painful periods
- Inability to get pregnant
There are ways to prevent miscarriage with PCOS. Since PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women, there is much known about it. In this condition, eggs are rarely released from the follicles that hold the egg sacs.
There is no cure for this condition, but there is a way to prevent miscarriage with PCOS. The birth control pill is the typical treatment used, which can be a problem if you are trying to get pregnant.
There are other drugs that are available like insulin sensitizing medications or progestins. Surgery is another way to treat this if the other treatments do not work.
Two particular types of bacteria live in the genital tracts of healthy women and men. This can cause miscarriage. There is no way to know if you have this other than a test. There are no symptoms of bacterial infections most of the time.
Your lifestyle plays a huge role in whether or not you are at a risk of miscarriage. Environmental toxins can cause harm to the fetus and raise the possibility of pregnancy loss. These toxins can include alcohol or illegal drugs. Not only may they cause pregnancy loss, but they can also cause abnormalities that will affect the rest of your child’s life.
Ways to Prevent Miscarriage
Knowing how to stop a miscarriage might not be enough. There are measures that you can take to help your body nourish and take care of your growing fetus. Not all of these treatments and changes will help everyone.
Herbs to prevent miscarriage most commonly come in supplements. There is no guarantee that they will work. They do, however, help to provide extra nourishment to the body where it is lacking. Talk to your midwife or doctor before adding any type of supplement to make sure it is suitable for your growing fetus. Any change in diet or major change in routine should be talked about with your doctor to ensure your baby’s health and safety.
Exercise in moderation. Doing too much can over stress the body, but not doing enough will not keep your body healthy. No illegal drugs, nicotine, or alcohol should be ingested or smoked. These substances interfere with the nourishment that is being transferred, and adverse effects can be much worse on your baby.
Some foods to prevent miscarriage are nutrient rich and baby-friendly. There is a special fertility diet that you can follow to ensure the best health for your baby. This diet helps to increase fertility as the name suggests, and will keep you healthy and ready for pregnancy.
The right diet can help with the following:
- Hormonal balance
- Low progesterone, high estrogen, elevated prolactin, insulin resistance (OCOS), thyroid disorders, or luteal phase defects are some hormonal imbalances that can affect your pregnancy and fertility in general
- The health of your eggs
- Placenta health
- Building of nutrient storage
- Decreasing the chances of miscarriage
- Reproductive system health
A few of the main things that you should include in your diet are complex carbs, unsaturated fats, protein and whole milk, and you should take multivitamins to supplement what food cannot. These foods will help your body to prepare for pregnancy and lessen the risk of pregnancy loss.
- Complex carbs
- Limiting highly processed carbs and eating more ‘slow’ carbs helps your body to digest slowly and manage insulin level.
- Bad carbs can increase the blood sugar and cause the body to release more insulin.
- Unsaturated fats
- By avoiding trans fats, you are preventing your body from becoming resistant to insulin. Insulin helps to move glucose between the bloodstream and cells, and high levels can cause metabolic problems that affect your ovulation.
- Plant proteins are filled with healthy fats and are low in calories helping you lose or manage your weight.
- Whole milk
- One or two servings of full fat dairy foods per day can help your body to be more welcoming to a pregnancy.
- Folic acid is the main thing you want to look out for. You should be taking 400 milligrams of it. Also, 40 to 80 milligrams of iron is a good idea, too.
Foods to avoid are:
- Raw meat
- Undercooked and raw seafood, beef, or poultry have a risk of contamination with bacteria such as toxoplasmosis and salmonella.
- Deli meat
- Listeria has been known to be found in deli meats. It is able to cross the placenta and infect the baby, causing infection, blood poisoning, or miscarriage.
- Before eating deli meats, ensure that you reheat the meat, making it steam.
- Fish with mercury
- Mercury ingested during pregnancy has been shown to cause developmental delays and brain damage.
- Some of these fish include:
- King mackerel
- Tuna (should be eaten in moderation only)
- Sushi fish
- Smoked seafood
- Listeria is a threat here once again. As long as it is cooked thoroughly or canned, it is usually okay to eat.
- Industrially Polluted fish
- This is in regards to fish caught in local waters and not at your grocery store.
- High levels of polychlorinated biphenyls is a threat with these fish.
- Striped bass
- Raw shellfish
- Any raw shellfish should be avoided. Oysters, clams, and mussels are not ridden of algae related infections associated with red tides when cooked.
- Raw eggs
- Salmonella is a threat here as well.
- These all have the potential to have raw eggs:
- Caesar dressings
- Home made ice cream or custards
- Hollandaise sauce
- Soft cheeses
- Listeria strikes again in soft cheeses like:
- Mexican style cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco
- Unless made with unpasteurized milk, these cheeses should be avoided.
- Listeria strikes again in soft cheeses like:
- Unpasteurized milk
- This can have listeria as well.
- Listeria can be in refrigerated pate or meat spreads.
- Especially during the first trimester, avoid caffeine entirely. There are conflicting studies regarding caffeine, but some have shown a higher risk of miscarriage with caffeine intake.
- No more than 200 milligrams a day should be ingested during pregnancy.
- Being a diuretic, caffeine can eliminate necessary fluids from the body. Water and calcium loss can occur because of this.
- Large amounts of caffeine have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage, withdrawal symptoms in infants, and low birth weight.
- No alcohol whatsoever should be ingested during pregnancy. No amount is known to be safe during pregnancy.
- The health of the baby can be threatened, and fetal alcohol syndrome can occur.
- Unwashed vegetables
- Ensure you are washing your vegetables to avoid toxoplasmosis exposure that may contaminate the vegetable’s soil.
Another way to help to prevent miscarriage is to relax and let yourself take the time you need. Do not try to be superwoman when you feel like you are fading. Take the rest you need and do not overdo it, or your baby might suffer the effects of stress and not taking care of yourself.
Progesterone to prevent miscarriage is a sensitive issue. A progesterone level that is too low can cause miscarriage if your uterus is not ready for supporting a pregnancy. Using progesterone supplements is only recommended for IVF treatment patients.
Medication to prevent miscarriage usually includes progesterone or other types of medicines. An immune globulin injection to prevent miscarriage can also help.
Get screened for STDs and HIV to ensure the health of your future baby. This should be done before conception. Some of these conditions can cause miscarriage and/or harm your baby.
Baby aspirin to prevent miscarriage is usually used in recurrent miscarriages. There is not much evidence supporting the use of it, but it will not do any harm taking one a day.
Another shot to prevent miscarriage can be of HCG. These may come with side effects, but have been shown to play a role in preventing miscarriage.
Can folic acid prevent miscarriage, too? Studies have shown that these supplements taken before and during pregnancy can help to reduce neural tube defects. A higher dose might also prevent miscarriage.
Acupuncture to prevent miscarriage can provide a stabilizing effect during the first trimester. During the second trimester, acupuncture helps to regulate the nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Lastly, in the third trimester, acupuncture is used to regulate the musculoskeletal system and help with pains associated with late pregnancy.
Massage can be an amazing way to relax and have your worries go away for a little while. In early pregnancy or pre-pregnancy, a massage can improve circulation to the uterus and clear any congestion and adhesions. This self fertility massage can help to relieve some of that stress, too. The more relaxed you are, the better. Your baby will be able to grow in a safe, healthy environment, especially if you make sure to take some time for yourself and take it easy.
To prevent miscarriage as best as you can, there are ways to take care of your body, even before you get pregnant. Most of these ways have to do with how to prevent miscarriage in the first trimester. However, keeping up with all of the treatments, especially ones that help the both of you, is important.
Miscarriage can be a draining experience but avoiding it is only somewhat preventable. Sometimes things just happen, and nothing can be done. Moreover, trying your best to keep yourself healthy and not doing anything that may harm you or the baby is the best way that you can go about preventing miscarriage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can stress cause a miscarriage?
While moderate stress isn’t generally considered to cause miscarriage, severe emotional or physical stress might potentially increase the risk. It’s essential to manage stress levels during pregnancy for overall well-being.
Does age affect the risk of miscarriage?
Yes, a woman’s age plays a significant role in miscarriage risk. Women over 35 have a higher risk, and this risk increases further after 40.
Are there any signs or symptoms of a potential miscarriage?
Symptoms can include severe cramps, bleeding, back pain, and loss of pregnancy symptoms. However, these symptoms can also occur in a normal pregnancy, so it’s best to consult a healthcare provider.
Can a man’s lifestyle or health affect the risk of miscarriage?
Absolutely. Factors like paternal age, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to toxins can potentially affect sperm quality and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Can miscarriages be predicted or detected early?
Miscarriages can’t be predicted with certainty, but certain tests like ultrasound and blood tests can help identify potential issues early. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.