Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss
Any one who has experienced a pregnancy loss knows how devastating it can be — whether they are newly pregnant or farther along. Recurrent miscarriages can lead to fear and anxiety around future conception attempts and subsequent pregnancies. It’s important to know that there is help, and a community of support available to anyone who feels like they’re suffering in silence.
How common is it?
While a miscarriage is highly upsetting, it is not uncommon. According to studies, anywhere from 10-25% of pregnancies end before 20 weeks of gestation. Of this number, at least half are considered chemical pregnancies, which occurs shortly after implantation and often before the woman realizes that she has conceived. As with most pregnancy complications, it’s important that you speak with your healthcare provider if you have experienced a miscarraige.
What are the signs/symptoms?
You should contact your healthcare provider if you are pregnant any experience any of the following:
- Mild to severe back pain (more intense than menstrual cramps)
- Sudden weight loss (after a steady weight gain)
- White-pink mucus or discharge
- Contractions every 5-20 minutes
- Bleeding with or without cramps (brown or bright red)
- A sudden decrease in recent pregnancy symptoms
- Expelling clot-like tissue
Preventing Miscarraiges — Naturally
In most cases, the cause of a miscarriage is related to chromosomal abnormalities or unknown. That said, you can proactively improve your pregnancy odds with the right preconception — at the right time (usually 3 months before you want to conceive). Your eggs and sperm create a blueprint for the health of your future baby. Factors such as your weight, stress levels, hormonal balance, nutrition and vitamin deficiencies/excess, and alcohol and caffeine consumption can all have a significant impact on the quality of your sperm and/or eggs. By creating optimal wellness in both parents before conception occurs, you can improve your chances of conceiving, preventing a miscarriage and having a healthy pregnancy.
Common Causes of Miscarraiges
Here are some of the most common causes and risk factors of miscarriages that we see in our practice:
- The risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities increase for each year over age 35. Your chances of conceiving also reduce as you pass age 40 with only a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant. However — age doesn’t only affect women who are trying to conceive. The quality, amount and motility of the sperm decrease gradually as men get older. That said, preconception care in both partners can boost the odds of conceiving either naturally or during fertility treatment.
In overweight candidates, weight loss can reduce miscarriage rate by as much as 13% for many reasons. For one, overweight women are more likely to produce immature eggs and have a poor response to fertility medications.
- Your generatic history may increase the chances of chromosomal errors occuring during the division of the fetal cells, contributing to miscarriage. However, this can also happen due to poor sperm and/or egg quality. If you are undergoing fertility treatment, you can ask your healthcare practitioner if genetic testing (such as Preimplantation Genetic Screening and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening) is right for you.
While the relationship between egg and sperm quality and environmental toxins isn’t fully understood — it can increase the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, resulting in miscarraige.
Untreated Health Conditions
- If left untreated, the following health conditions may affect your ability to get — and stay — pregnant:
- uncontrolled diabetes
- thyroid conditions
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- lupus or other immune disorders
- kidney or liver disease.
- Sexually transmitted diseases, as well as other unmanaged infections can also play a role.
- Medications related to the above conditions can also cause complications during natural fertility attempts and/or fertility treatments. Speak to your healthcare practitioner to ensure that you have the green light before you attempt to conceive.
Whether you are trying to become pregnant for the first time, you want to add a sibling for your child, or you are beginning fertility treatment — smoking can put a damper on your efforts. Smokers experience infertility twice as much as their non-smoking counterparts. It can also affect the success of your fertility treatment. The great news is that the health benefits of quitting can be detected in egg quality in just three months.
A cup of coffee can have anywhere from 70 – 130mg of caffeine. While your morning java can provide a few hours of energy, due to their immature kidneys and liver, it may last up to 130 hours in a fetus. Several studies have shown that high doses of caffeine can cause spontaneous abortion and/or affect fetal growth. Even consumption of 3+ cups of coffee while you are trying to conceive can increase your risk of miscarriage.
Cannabis (and Other Drugs)
- While more research is needed, some studies and clinical observations suggest that cannabis is associated with changes in ovulation patterns in women and reduced sperm motility in men. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, crosses the placenta, passes the blood-brain barrier and enters the fetus’ blood circulation. It can decrease fetal folic acid uptake (boosting miscarriage rates) and possibility decrease uterine receptivity. If you are trying to conceive or pregnant, it’s best to speak with your healthcare practitioner before using cannabis or drugs of any form.
- Despite the old adage, ‘moderation is key,’ it doesn’t apply when you are struggling to conceive or planning fertility treatment. Drinking even a small amount of alcohol on a regularly basis can increase the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. This is separate from adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as fetal alcohol syndrome. Whether it’s 1-2 drinks a week or more, pregnancy and alcohol simply don’t mix.
- Certain food-borne illnesses (a.k.a. food poisoning) are well established as possible miscarriage causes, including: Listeriosis, Salmonella enterocolitis (also known as Salmonellosis), Toxoplasmosis and E. coli enteritis. Taking food safety measures, keeping hands and surfaces clean, cooking to proper temperatures and being particularly picky when dining out will decrease the risk of getting ill.
Reduce Your Miscarriage Risks
A preconception plan can help you reduce the chance of having a miscarriage or pregnancy complications. If you have experienced pregnancy loss, we can help. Our compassionate and knowledgeable fertility team will design a comprehensive plan so that you can grow your family. Contact us today.
What People are Saying …
“Conceive Health at TRIO provides a really relaxing, positive and support environment to receive acupuncture treatment. Tracy and Jennifer are both amazing and really helped calm my nerves throughout a difficult journey. They give great advice on supplements and foods to eat as well. Would highly recommend their care.”
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