How can I decrease miscarriage risk?

by | Jul 29, 2019 | Blog

 

Experiencing miscarriage is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to go through. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. Obviously there are often many causes outside of your control, but I know that you want to do everything you can. So, in today’s blog we’re asking the question: “How can I decrease miscarriage risk?”  I have 3 key dietary strategies that you can implement today.  

A miscarriage occurs when your baby stops growing. There is three key dietary factors that can play a role in this.  Firstly, research tells us that about half of all miscarriages happen because the chromosomes in the embryo are abnormal and the miscarriage is the body’s way of dealing with an abnormal embryo, so we’re going to look at

  • Dietary tips for optimising your baby’s chromosomes. 
  • Key nutrients that are essential for your pregnancy to progress,
  • Research shows that certain toxins can cause damage, particularly in the early stages of your pregnancy, so we’re going to discuss what to avoid.

1. Optimising your baby’s chromosomes

When it comes to your baby’s chromosomes, there’s a lot of factors that we can’t do anything about, such as our age. But, research shows that our diet has a very big impact on our baby’s chromosomal formation.  Ensure that you’re optimising your baby’s chromosome formation by including adequate amounts of omega 3. Omega-3 really helps to decrease the inflammation surrounding your egg. That can help to make sure you have less risk of chromosomal damage. Secondly, you want to make sure that you are at your healthiest weight. Studies show that women who are in an overweight or obese category are more likely to have what we call ‘disorganised DNA’ which can increase the risk of miscarriage as well. And then thirdly we want to be including plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies in your diet. They are essential because they really help to conquer the bad free radicals and toxins in our body. So we need them there as our bodies defence system. So the more antioxidant rich fruits and veggies you can be eating in your diet, the better! 

2. Key nutrients that are essential for your pregnancy to progress 

Our body needs key nutrients to assist with your baby’s growth and development. For example, a landmark study undertaken in Australia found that a lack of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is one of the key causes of miscarriage.  A lack of B3 can result in birth defects that are a common cause of miscarriage.  As B3 is a water soluble vitamin it needs to be consumed on a daily basis. This is particularly important for women who follow a vegan diet, those who have gastrointestinal conditions or those who have severe morning sickness.  

Another key nutrient for preventing miscarriages is folate. Folate is needed for the development of your baby’s neural tube, which is essentially her brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately many women think that as long as they are taking a pregnancy multivitamin, that they are getting enough, but some women have higher requirements and need additional amounts of folate.  For example, if you’re overweight, smoke or have had a previous miscarriage, it’s recommended that you boost your folate intake. So make sure that you are getting enough.   

A nutrient called choline is needed for embryonic growth. Choline deficiency seems to be common and it’s not found in many prenatal supplements at this stage. If you’re experiencing recurrent miscarriages, this would be a key nutrient that I’d recommend discussing with your dietitian to ensure that you’re getting enough. 

Studies show that conditions such as undiagnosed Coeliac disease can also be a cause of recurrent miscarriage, as if the condition isn’t being treated, it can impact your body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. 

3. What to avoid 

Some foods have been found to increase the risk of miscarriage.  For example, a study of over 11,000 women found that those who drank more than 4 coffee’s per day had a 20% higher risk of miscarriage – and it didn’t matter if they were drinking regular or decaf coffee, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this. 

Alcohol intake can also increase your risk of miscarriage, so it’s important to abstain from alcohol if you’re trying to conceive or obviously pregnant.  Exposure to listeria bacteria can be another cause of miscarriage, so avoid high risk foods such as soft serve ice cream and deli meats.  And, avoid exposure to heavy metals such as lead, copper or mercury which can cause miscarriage. 

I know I’m biased, but I believe that if you’re experiencing recurrent miscarriage, support from a prenatal dietitian could be a wise move.  

Make sure that you download my free pregnancy meal plan from www.melaniemcgrice.com/pregnancy to help you ensure that you are optimising your pregnancy diet. 

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