Prevent a Miscarriage
Following on in this miscarriage series for #infantlossawarenes month (I totally appreciate we are now in November!), we now look at how to prevent a miscarriage.
If you missed Parts 1 and 2 you can find them here:
I’m all about positivity, taking control and making POSITIVE changes. Want to know more? Read on.
Gentle fertility cleanse
I would start with a fertility cleanse. This doesn’t need to be complicated or stressful. Whilst I genuinely believe that our bodies have fully capable detoxification systems, sometimes we need a helping hand, especially when you’ve had a miscarriage. Your hormones are likely to be out of sync and you may have a build up of toxins in the body. A cleanse is also a great way of taking back some control. I do this with all of my fertility clients as a first port of call to reset the body.
How to do a gentle cleanse:
- Day 1: Just vegetables (Mondays are always are a good day to start post-weekend). Think green vegetable juice for breakfast, hot vegetable soup for lunch and steamed vegetables for dinner.
- Day 2. As above.
- Day 3: Add vegetable protein like beans and pulses.
- Days 4-7: Add white fish.
Essentially, we want to avoid foods that are difficult to digest like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soy, wheat, gluten and dairy.
Ensure you are taking a daily probiotic and include flax seeds to support the gut, increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, watercress and cauliflower, and consume onions, leeks, and garlic. Water is essential – at least 2L of filtered water (preferably still and from a glass bottle). Avoid snacking and aim for 3 meals per day.
2. Address your nutritional status
I could write a book on this (and I’m actually working on something REALLY exciting, so keep your eyes pealed), so let’s stick to the basics. To prevent a miscarriage, you need to ensure you are meeting your daily macronutrient needs – think complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa), protein (poultry, meat, fish), healthy fats (avocado, oils, nuts, seeds) and fibre (green leafy vegetables). Aside from those, some of the best fertility foods can be found below.
Top Fertility Foods:
- Eggs – organic – Protein, Vitamin D, choline, B12
- Nuts and seeds – Omega 3, Zinc, Vitamin E, Protein: Walnuts, Flax seeds, Chia, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, almonds, Brazil nuts
- Fruit – Vitamin C, Flavonoids, Antioxidants: berries, strawberries, pomegranate, oranges
- Bright coloured vegetables: B6, Vitamin C
- Green leafy vegetables: Vitamin K, nitrates, chlorophyll, Fibre: spinach, kale, broccoli, watercress
- Fish – Protein, Vitamin D, Omega3, Zinc, Selenium, B12, CoQ10: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod
- Grass-fed, organic meat – Omega 3, Iron, B12, Protein: Beef, Lamb
- Liver: Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Folic Acid, B12, CoQ10: Chicken pâté
- Beans and pulses: Iron, Folic Acid: Lentils, chickpeas
3. Address any gut issues
Poor gut function leads to imbalanced hormones, inflammation, toxic build-up and poor nutritional status. I can’t stress enough how important it is to look after you gut. If you have PCOS it’s especially important as you tend to suffer from leaky gut syndrome. Eat gut-friendly foods like green leafy vegetables, oats, flaxseeds and avoid sugar. Taking a daily probiotic can really help too.
4. Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet
As mentioned in Part 2, causes of miscarriage here, miscarriages can be caused by inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be a result of poor gut health as described above, poor oral health (make sure you see a dentist!), poor nutrition, stress and exposure to toxins. If left, it can lead to infertility, poor ovulation, implantation failure and once pregnant, can result in recurrent miscarriages, poor foetal growth and pre-eclampsia. That’s a pretty extensive list so, if you want to prevent a miscarriage, it’s not one to ignore!
What to do?
- Refined sugar
- Processed and packaged foods
- Non-organic meat and dairy
- Organic foods (meat, poultry and green leafy vegetables and fruits)
- Oily (wild caught) fish
- Spices such as garlic, ginger and turmeric
5. Limit toxin exposure
This is a really big one. The level of plastic, chemicals and BPA use in our everyday lives is just astounding. Studies have shown links to infertility (especially with sperm counts and quality).
- Reduce plastic use – use glass bottles/containers, paper straws
- Avoid non-organic meat and dairy
- Avoid using tinned foods
- Limit contact with receipts
- Assess your cleaning products (I like the Ecover brand)
- Watch what you put on your skin and hair (think sulphate and paraben free – Neal’s Yard and Pai are both great brands)
- Don’t smoke!
6. Address stress
Stress is another big one. High levels of cortisol (our stress hormone) has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester by 3 times! Now bear in mind this is severe stress, however, managing stress is so important for you and the development of your baby.
What to do:
- Avoiding the foods as described above will really help
- Sleep! Poor sleep (difficulty falling or staying asleep) is a key indicator of stress. I’m a big believer in good sleep for balanced hormones too, so it’s really important you find ways of managing your stress levels. Creating some downtime can really help too. I love the headspace app to help me really switch off. Magnesium can really help too (magnesium flakes in a bath is an ideal bedtime routine).
7. Address hormonal imbalances
This is a big topic, and probably too big to go into too much detail here, but balancing hormones is crucial. As discussed in Part 2: Low progesterone levels in the second half of your cycle (luteal phase) is needed for the embryo to implant properly into the uterine lining. Any deficiency can stop this from happening. This is especially important to check if you have PCOS, as you naturally have lower progesterone levels.
All of the above essentially helps, but some other important factors to consider are:
- Support liver and digestive health
- Avoid non-organic foods
- Address hormonal conditions such as PCOS
- Eat protein at every meal
- Increase intake of healthy fats
- Try seed cycling – consume flax and pumpkin seeds the first two weeks of your cycle, and sesame and sunflower seeds for the last two weeks of your cycle.
8. Address weight – both over and under
If you’re underweight you could be undernourished and your hormones can be affected. Some studies have shown that being overweight can double the risk of miscarriage (with IVF patients), so it’s really important to manage your weight. In addition, once pregnant, being overweight can affect implantation, and once pregnant it can also increase blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, diabetes and premature delivery. Weight loss (and gain) is so individual, so you’re best speaking to a professional.
9: Tests to consider
- Progesterone and full hormonal panel
- Vitamin D
I REALLY don’t like to give general supplement advice but there a few worth mentioning that you could look into. PLEASE ensure that you speak to a professional before embarking on a supplement regime.
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
- Progesterone (ONLY if you have low progesterone in your luteal phase – second half of your cycle – GET TESTED)
- Blood thinners – baby aspirin (75 mg – again, PLEASE don’t self-diagnose. Speak to your GP beforehand)
Medications to avoid:
- Painkillers and anti-inflammatories
Phew! That is A LOT of information. It can feel overwhelming so try breaking it down into baby steps, such as:
- Do a fertility cleanse
- Go organic
- Consume oily fish 3 x per week
- Have green, leafy vegetables at every meal
- Go to bed early
- Swap plastic containers for glass
- Assess your chemical exposure – cleaning products, hair and skincare
- Speak to a professional who can help devise a plan that works for you, taking into account your specific needs
If you’d like any help or have any questions, please do ask. Fertility is so personal that giving general advice can be challenging. However, if you have experienced loss then addressing some of these is a good place to start.