Wouldn’t it be great if all miscarriages could be prevented? So much pain and loss avoided. Unfortunately it cannot be so. But there are several things we can do to reduce the chances of miscarriage for ourselves. These things have been studied extensively. So where do we start?
- Aim to conceive before your over 35 years old. Miscarriage rates rise dramatically after this time. Most early miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities. Not always possible, I know, I met my partner later in life. There are other options you can focus on..
- Not smoking during pregnancy. Tobacco, marijuana or vaping.
- Avoid caffeine. Unfortunately, caffeine can increase miscarriage risk. Even caffeine intake before pregnancy. Studies indicate that miscarriage risk begins to rise with just one cup of tea or less than half a cup of coffee per day.¹
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with a large variety of vegetables.
- Supplements such as DHEA and CoQ10 (Ubiquinol), may help to reduce the chance of chromosomal abnormalities, if taken for several months before trying to conceive. Because most chromosomal errors in eggs occur 3-4 months before ovulation.
- Avoid toxins such as BPA. BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1950s. BPA is a known endocrine disrupter. Which means that it messes with our hormones. High levels of BPA are linked to higher miscarriage risk. It is important to keep in mind that it is the highest BPA levels that are linked. To increase your odds of conceiving and preventing miscarriage, the main goal is simply to get out of that highest range; to lower your overall exposure rather than to avoid all possible sources of BPA. How to get out of the high range?
– Get rid of your plastic drinking water bottle. Even if listed as BPA-free, other plastics probably contain other endocrine disrupters. We just don’t know about them yet. Best to go with glass or stainless steel.
– Swap your plastic kettle for a stainless steel one.
– Swap over your hard plastic food containers for glass or stainless steel ones. IKEA has some good glass ones with lids that don’t leak and stand the test of time.
– Swapping plastic colanders for stainless steel ones.
– Avoiding use of coffee machines with plastic components, using a stainless steel French press at home instead.
- Avoid alcohol. Numerous studies have indicated that drinking regularly during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. However, low to moderate alcohol consumption ( 6 drinks per week or less) before you become pregnant is not an issue. The safest option is avoiding alcohol after ovulation, in case you become early pregnant without realising, or before testing.
Avoid refined sugar. High blood sugar and insulin levels are a big problem for fertility because it disrupts the balance of other hormones that regulate the reproductive system. And increase the risk of miscarriage². So, we need to avoid sugary drinks³. Avoid refined sugar in all it’s forms. There is clear evidence that excess sugar consumption compromises fertility.³ Minimise all types of sweeteners, and foods with significant amounts of added sugar. Whole fruit is OK in moderation (2 serves daily). If you find yourself craving a sweet treat, and fruit won’t cut it, a small amount of dark chocolate is a good choice. Also keep in mind that it is long term daily habits that matter most. The occasional indulgence is not worth feeling guilty about.
Avoid refined carbohydrates. The white flours, pastries, potatoes, white bread. Swap out for lower GI carbs such as brown rice, wild rice, steel-cut oats, quinoa or buckwheat. There are many pastas available these days made out of quinoa or buckwheat. This will help to balance your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Dr Elaine Hickman
B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)
Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China. She has over 22 years experience in treating many health problems. Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable. Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility at an advanced age herself.
1 Chen LW, Wu Y, Neelakantan N, Chong MF, Pan A, van Dam RM. Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of pregnancy loss: a categorical and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Public Health Nutr. 2016 May;19(7):1233-44. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015002463. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26329421.
2 Tian L, Shen H, Lu Q, Norman RJ, Wang J. Insulin resistance increases the risk of spontaneous abortion after assisted reproduction technology treatment. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr;92(4):1430-3. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-1123. Epub 2007 Jan 23. PMID: 17244790.
3 Machtinger R, Gaskins AJ, Mansur A, Adir M, Racowsky C, Baccarelli AA, Hauser R, Chavarro JE. Association between preconception maternal beverage intake and in vitro fertilization outcomes. Fertil Steril. 2017 Dec;108(6):1026-1033. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.09.007. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 28985907; PMCID: PMC5716855.