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Miscarriages involve pregnancy loss within the first and second trimesters. The first symptom is bleeding, after which you might feel severe pain in your abdominal area. Most times miscarriages occur only once in pregnant women, after which they have successful pregnancies. However, there is no need to go through the stress of a miscarriage at all. This is because proper nutrition and exercise can help reduce the chances of a miscarriage.
Causes of Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy
Most times, the causes of miscarriage are unknown and therefore unpreventable. Identifying the causes of miscarriage and taking precautions during early pregnancy to avoid miscarriage are sure to reduce chances of suffering one. Some causes include:
Disorders of the immune system:
The female body tends to perceive the zygote as a foreign object meant to be attacked and destroyed. Usually, the zygote informs the body of its existence, but in some cases, the immune system will treat it as a germ and destroy it. Miscarriage, in this case, is caused by antiphospholipid antibodies, i.e. antibodies that attack the body’s own cells.
Abnormal uterus and cervix:
Uteri that are not shaped as they are supposed to, prevent the embryo from implanting properly and obtaining nutrition. Another possibility is the presence of an ineffective cervix, which is not strong enough to hold the foetus inside the body after the first trimester of pregnancy.
It is believed that nearly two-thirds of all miscarriages stem from genetic abnormalities. The egg and sperm both have exactly 23 chromosomes in them, making 46 when they fuse together. However, if the number of chromosomes is more or less than this, it results in a miscarriage.
The vaginal lining is home to a wide range of microbes, most of which are beneficial in some way. However, certain bacteria like Mycoplasma hominids and Ureaplasma urealyticum live inside women’s reproductive tracts but can cause a miscarriage by making the uterine lining swell up.
Substances like tobacco, prescription medication, airborne toxins and alcohol all affect pregnancy. For example, Ibuprofen, a type of painkiller, affects the production of hormones that help to induce labour.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
Women with PCOs have a higher chance of miscarriage due to hormonal imbalance, especially, women with PCOS who have irregularities in the hormones along with insulin resistance (IR) causing your insulin levels to spike up. Elevated insulin levels can cause blood clotting between the placenta and the uterine lining leading to placental insufficiency, where the foetus will not get enough nutrients and cannot get rid of toxic waste. This leads to a miscarriage.
Conditions like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and diabetes are linked to a hostile uterus which is not favourable for implantation of the embryo. Luckily, these problems can be treated.
How To Prevent Miscarriage?
Miscarriages are not something you would even want to consider when you are pregnant. However, they are a reality and must be avoided at all costs. Certain lifestyle changes can reduce your chances of having a miscarriage such as:
- Have more Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin B9: Vitamin C is directly linked to the endometrial lining of the uterus. If you are deficient in vitamin C, the uterine tissues are not strong enough to embed and hold the embryo in place. It is found in oranges, limes and grapes, as well as leafy green veggies. Zinc is involved in pregnancy maintenance as well as sperm development. You can increase the zinc in your diet by eating fish, grains, lean meat and eggs. You also need a good amount of vitamin B9 to avoid developmental impairments in your baby. If necessary, have supplements of vitamin C, zinc and vitamin B9 after discussing it with your doctor.
- Keep the exercising moderate: While it is important to keep your cardiovascular health in perfect condition, it is inadvisable to perform intense exercises while pregnant. This is because impact sports can increase the chances of a miscarriage due to falling or getting hit in the abdomen. Another reason is that exercise can overheat your body which reduces blood flow to the uterus.
- Eat more fish: Studies have shown that consuming more fish reduces the chances of miscarriage. However, avoid eating tuna, mackerel, swordfish and shark as they tend to be high in mercury which can harm the baby.
- Modifying your dairy intake: Research has found that consuming milk and cheese reduces the chances of miscarriage, even when considering other factors like obesity, age, and dietary intake. However, the same research shows that butter consumption doubles the risk of miscarriage. The takeaway message is simply to consume milk and cheese while avoiding butter. Make sure not to consume unpasteurised dairy as it may cause infections like toxoplasmosis and listeriosis which can cause miscarriage.
- Protect yourself from environmental dangers: X-rays are a strict no-no during pregnancy. If it is essential, tell your doctor about your pregnancy beforehand. Keep away from environmental toxins like pollution, vehicle exhaust fumes, formaldehyde, pesticides, and so on as they could lead to miscarriages, stillbirths or developmental defects in your baby.
- Cut down on coffee: Studies have come with conflicting results on coffee and its link to miscarriage. While some suggest that about 4 cups a day is fine,
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol: Tobacco and alcohol are forbidden, as they can cause serious harm to you and your baby. This is because tobacco lowers sperm count and increases sperm abnormalities which could result in miscarriages. Alcohol is even worse, as a single glass can make you less fertile by fifty percent. It passes through the placenta affecting foetus development and can lead to a miscarriage.
- Spinach: Studies have shown that Spinach contains Vitamin E which nourishes the embryo and prevents miscarriage by avoiding its starvation.
- Indulge in chocolate: Luckily for you, chocolate also helps drop your risk of miscarriage by twenty percent as it improves the immune system of the baby.
- Do an STD test: Please get yourself checked for sexually transmitted diseases like HPV, herpes, syphilis and gonorrhoea. These diseases make a miscarriage more likely as they are present in the birth canal exposing the embryo. Also, make sure your partner is tested for these diseases as well.
- Take progesterone supplements: Progesterone is the most crucial hormone when it comes to getting pregnant as it helps prepare the uterus to house the foetus. If you have a progesterone imbalance, ask your doctor for progesterone supplements to help you get pregnant and maintain the pregnancy. Using progesterone to prevent miscarriage is especially helpful in the first trimester.
- Get a preconception check-up: Before getting pregnant, meet your gynaecologist to have your medical history, lifestyle and diet reviewed. Your doctor might even check for immunity against infections, and vaccinations will be given if necessary. Other conditions can also be tested for such as thyroid disorders, seizures and lupus, all of which could precipitate a miscarriage.
- Creating a balanced diet: Eating the right balance of nutrients is crucial if you want to be able to conceive as well as avoid a miscarriage. Some foods that you must not skip are antioxidants like carrots, berries, leafy veggies; fats found in fish. Eating multiple servings of fruits lowers miscarriage risk by nearly seventy-five percent.
- Naturopathy: There are several herbs that are said to prevent to reduce the risk of miscarriage. For example, the Chaste tree, Rehmannia, Cramp bark and Black haw are known to be involved in reproductive processes like hormone balance, inflammation, uterus pain and so on.
- Massage therapy: Improving blood circulation to the uterus can be achieved by going to a masseuse trained in fertility massages. Massages help relieve congestions and blockages, helping the uterus function at maximum capacity.
Miscarriages are very painful, both physically and emotionally. Understanding the potential causes of miscarriage during pregnancy and following a strict set of habits will go a long way in avoiding miscarriages in the future.