How to prevent miscarriage is of great concern for many women and couples. According to the National Infertility Association (and contrary to the common belief), as many as 80% of pregnancies may end in miscarriage, with more than 50% of losses going undetected and mistaken for a period. Formerly, it was believed that only 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Those figures seem small to the alarmingly high numbers reported today.
There is no single cause of miscarriage and often, miscarriage is a result of factors beyond the mother’s control. While there are various reasons why miscarriages occur, they usually occur because of (or damages to) these two things:
Other common miscarriage causes common to specific pregnancy trimesters include the following:
genetic abnormalities, blood clots (APS), ectopic pregnancy, placental problems
infections, chronic conditions, thyroid disease, fibroids and other uterus and cervix problems, lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol, drug use, caffeine or coffee intake), environmental factors (exposure to chemicals like phthalates and xenoestrogens)
pregnancy complications, birth defects, diabetes (uncontrolled), insufficient blood flow to the placenta, infection, umbilical cord problems
What is a stillbirth? When a miscarriage occurs during the third trimester, it is usually called a ‘stillbirth’.
Miscarriages don’t exist without a cause. The delicate internal balance between hormones, nutrients and toxins in both partners determines what you will be passing onto the embryo and how your body will react to it.
Be that as may the bottom line is – Healthy Couples are Fertile Couples!
While all miscarriages result in pregnancy loss (except for threatened miscarriage), miscarriages are further classified into 5 kinds:
This is when the products of conception (or the embryo) empty out of the uterus. Here, bleeding and pain quickly subside. To confirm a complete miscarriage, your doctor will order an ultrasound or perform a D&C (dilatation and curettage) procedure.
An incomplete miscarriage is when there is bleeding and the cervix has dilated but the pregnancy tissue is still in the uterus. Symptoms of an inevitable miscarriage include bleeding and cramping. Usually, the miscarriage will progress without further intervention.
A missed or silent miscarriage is when there are no symptoms (like bleeding and cramping) but the pregnancy failed to develop.
Recurrent miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss is when you have two or more miscarriages. In women with recurrent miscarriage, no cause can be identified 50 to 75% of the time.
This is what you call bleeding and abdominal pain that pregnant women experience while the pregnancy is still viable. While spotting is common in the first trimester, vaginal bleeding (or anything more substantial than spotting) is called a threatened miscarriage.
There are other pregnancies which result in miscarriage. They include ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy and blighted ovum:
An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants outside the uterus and usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This can happen due to blocked fallopian tubes (90% of the time) and other unknown factors and it affects 1 to 2% of all pregnancies.
Characterized by abnormal growth, a molar pregnancy is where a non-viable egg implants itself into the uterus.
In the case of a blighted ovum, a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, but the egg never develops into an embryo.
Vaginal bleeding (or spotting) is the main symptom of miscarriage. However, other symptoms may be present, like the following:
How to prevent miscarriage? While in most cases miscarriages are inevitable (especially those caused by genetic abnormalities in the embryo), there are ways to help your body become more conducive to a healthy pregnancy. Here are 5 ways you can minimize the risk of or prevent miscarriage and maximize your chances of taking home a healthy baby:
Zinc is the most important mineral for the reproductive system when you want to prevent miscarriage. Zinc deficiency, among many other things, impairs the body’s ability to properly maintain pregnancy in women and produce healthy sperm in men.
Unfortunately, zinc competes for absorption with most of the nutrients from food and is often called the “lonely mineral”. This means it is one of the minerals which is most likely to be deficient. On top of that, artificial hormones in the form of oral contraceptives and ovulation drugs significantly reduce its levels further.
For pregnancy to be maintained, Progesterone (a.k.a pregnancy hormone) needs to be at the optimal level. Progesterone deficiency is characterized by PMS and short cycles and is often referred to as a luteal phase defect.
The strength of the lining of your uterus (womb) is crucial when you are trying to conceive and prevent miscarriage. More commonly than not, when the connective tissue is weak, the embryo will not be able to attach or stay attached. The quality of the connective tissue and blood vessels depends on how much vitamin C and bioflavonoids are present in the body. Bioflavonoids help the body absorb more vitamin C and also contribute to the strength of the connective tissue.
Miscarriages more commonly occur when the male partner has low sperm counts and visually abnormal sperm. Smoking severely impacts the quality and quantity of sperm. Scientists have discovered that when men quit smoking for 5 to 15 months sperm count is increased by 50 to 800% on average respectively, which aids in helping to prevent miscarriage.
When trying to conceive it is best to stay clear of all the alcohol and prevent miscarriage. Alcohol is very harmful to female eggs and male sperm. As little as ONE glass can reduce fertility by 50%! This can lead to damage to the developing embryo and result in a miscarriage.
Are you aware of the scientific fact that drinking coffee before and during pregnancy doubles the risk of miscarriage? Studies have found that drinking as little as one cup of coffee per day increases the risk of non-conceiving by 55%. Every additional cup keeps raising the risk even further making it difficult to prevent miscarriage.
There are great coffee substitutes available in health food shops and you might want to give them a try.
Optimal preconception care started well before you try to conceive has been found to reduce most of the common causes of miscarriages. Preconception care involves a detailed diet plan, but to get you started, here are some foods that can help to prevent miscarriage:
And remember, if you want a complete guide with step-by-step instructions on:
You can see my “Essential Nutrients for Preconception and Pregnancy Chart” that’s part of my “Natural Fertility Prescription Program“.
There are many herbs to prevent miscarriage; however, the correct herbal remedy needs to be taken at a therapeutic dose to be effective. Speak to your Naturopath about the herbs and dosage that is specific to you to help you to prevent miscarriage. If you have previously experienced a miscarriage, tests need to be undertaken to find out which herbs will prevent miscarriage for you.
Many women who are trying to conceive are worried about miscarriages. While in most cases miscarriages may be out of our control, we hope our article on how to prevent miscarriage has been helpful for you. What are your views? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this important topic.
Preventing Miscarriage – 5 Steps to Prevent Miscarriages
How Soon After a Miscarriage Can you Get Pregnant? – Facts You Need To Know
After Miscarriage: The Essential Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage – Why You Should Wait Before Trying Again
Things that Cause Miscarriage – 7 Things That Can Harm Your Fetus
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.