Caring for your baby-to-be begins before you’re even pregnant. In fact, making sure that you and your partner are at your healthiest may even increase your odds for success, no matter your fertility treatment. A well-rounded, nutrition-centered diet is the best way to start.
Can Dietary Factors Prevent a Miscarriage?
A recently published report in which researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK reviewed 20 different studies involving 65,000 women and what they ate for three months prior to and after conception. Their results are enough to make you avoid that drive-through window for the time being and focus on these foods that may reduce your risk of miscarriage by as much as 61%.
- Whole grain
- Seafood (Always check with your doctor. Pregnant women should avoid some fish and seafood.)
While researchers didn’t base their findings on any one specific diet such as the fertility diet or the Mediterranean diet, it’s important to note that foods recommended in those diets are also recommended based on what the researchers uncovered. They found, for example, antioxidant foods like almonds, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, pumpkin and lean beef benefit pregnancy. Include these in your diet. Omit inflammatory foods such as processed boxed or frozen dinner, foods high in sugar like cookies, pastries and candies, boxed crackers, cereals and sodas.
Moreover, researchers found that diets high in inflammatory foods such as processed foods, fast foods and any food that’s made with high amounts of added sugar actually double your risk for miscarriage.
What Is a Miscarriage and What Causes It?
A miscarriage occurs when you lose a pregnancy prior to the 20th week of gestation. Most miscarriages (eight out of ten) happen early in pregnancy long before the 20th week. You likely have friends or family members, coworkers or neighbors who’ve miscarried. It’s common and affects about a third of all pregnancies, sometimes before you even know you’re pregnant.
Even though miscarriages are common, they are also devastating. In fact, many couples feel the same feelings as they would upon the death of a dear friend or member of the family. Grief and depression are common emotions after a miscarriage.
It’s not always easy for doctors to identify the cause of miscarriage. There are a variety of reasons. Among them:
- Chromosomal Abnormalities: In about a third to half of the miscarriages with an identifiable cause the reason is an abnormal number of chromosomes. A healthy embryo has 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. If there is a missing chromosome, an extra chromosome or damaged chromosomes the abnormality may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, developmental delays or severe physical defects.
- Underlying Diseases: Some diseases like diabetes increase your risk for miscarriage.
- Illness: A serious infection can impact your pregnancy and result in a loss.
- Condition of The Uterus: Some women have fibroid tumors in the uterus which interfere with the development of the embryo. These pregnancies usually end with a late-term
- Recurrent Miscarriage: Those women who’ve had two or more back-to-back miscarriages are at a higher risk for more miscarriages.
- Unexplained: Nearly 50% of miscarriages have no identifiable cause. This is very frustrating for couples and individuals who experience it. Making lifestyle changes such as your diet may help.
Healthy Steps You Can Take
It’s important to note that miscarriages are rarely caused by lifestyle choices. Many couples, however, upon experiencing a miscarriage seek to improve their health before trying again. There’s no doubt you should be as healthy as possible when you conceive and for many years after.
Here are some lifestyle changes you and your partner can make for a happy and healthy pregnancy:
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose some weight or gain some weight start now.
- Eat a healthy diet. Focus on fresh, whole anti-inflammatory foods and cut the processed foods from your diet. Most of them are lacking in nutrition anyway.
- Take supplements your doctor recommends like vitamin D, B6 and folic acid.
- Get some regular exercise every day. Aim for consistency over intensity. If you can only walk for 20 minutes, then do so. Not only is exercise healthy for you in so many ways, it’s the best way to deal with any inevitable stress and improve your mental wellbeing. Just check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
- Keep stress in check. Speaking of stress, it is very detrimental to your overall health, especially when you don’t keep it in check. Take stock of what causes you stress and remove what you can. Learn to say no. If the stress in your life comes from work or relationships keep it under control by trying these coping tactics.
Remember, always consult with your physician before taking any supplements, starting an exercise program or making changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Concerned About Miscarriage?
At LA IVF, we’re here to support you in your goal. If you want to grow your family but you’re concerned about recurrent miscarriages or any other fertility issue we can help. Please contact our office today.