Aaah, the loaded question and one that has perplexed many a mother and scientist over the years. The spontaneous loss of a baby in pregnancy is sadly as commonplace as actual births nowadays. But knowing what things cause miscarriage and knowing what early miscarriage causes are can reduce the risk. Before you delve into the world of babies, diapers and breastfeeding, in fact, long before that, consider the health of your body and mind. These two elements are crucial to a healthy pregnancy and in the end a healthy baby.
A miscarriage is something we should all be trying to avoid no matter how common it is.
So, when you are thinking about taking up running to drop a few pounds, consider whether running can cause a miscarriage. Or when you feel a pain in your chest begin to burn, consider if anxiety can cause a miscarriage. In addition, before embarking on actually conceiving your beautiful baby, ask yourself if infection can cause a miscarriage, and go have yourself tested. A dangerous habit for all, think about how smoking can cause a miscarriage before you put that cancer stick to your lips and in turn your baby’s. Always be considering the things that cause miscarriage with all that you do and eat in this time.
Table of Contents
- How Common Are Miscarriages?
- 6 Factors to Watch for in First Trimester
- So, How to Prevent Miscarriage?
- Miscarriage Related FAQs
- Can Stress Cause Miscarriage?
- Can Exercise Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Alcohol Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Smoking Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Caffeine Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Running Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Anxiety Cause a Miscarriage?
- Can Infection Cause a Miscarriage?
- Which Herbs Might Cause Miscarriage?
- Which Medicine Might Cause a Miscarriage?
How Common Are Miscarriages?
Very common, in fact. So common that sometimes the unsuspecting mother does not even know she was pregnant when the miscarriage occurs. Most times it happens in the first trimester, i.e. the first 3 months of pregnancy, and this is why the first 3 months are to be treated with such caution. Many a couple will not even tell the world that they are pregnant during these first 12 weeks, for fear of losing the baby. It is sad that one feels the need to react this way to one of nature’s wondrous events. But, as mentioned, it is quite common to miscarry, especially if it is your first pregnancy. The stats show that out of all the pregnancies all over the world, 10 to 20% end in miscarriage. How common are miscarriages? Too common.But there are ways to avoid miscarriages, especially miscarriages in the first trimester, and we hope to educate on all these methods and avoidances right here.
6 Factors to Watch for in First Trimester
Miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy is common and always a stress for every new or many times over mom. Early miscarriage causes are generally found in this delicate first 12 weeks.
If you are prone to miscarrying in the first trimester or you are just nervous that you might miscarry, here are a few things to keep an eye on in the first trimester:
- Should you discover bleeding or any other fluid leakage during the first trimester, no matter how small the volume, immediately visit your doctor or gynae. Bleeding is very often the start of a miscarriage but then sometimes is not. And catching it early, whatever the cause of the bleeding or fluid, can prevent a miscarriage from occuring. So, do not always assume the worst when you discover bleeding, but always be cautious and treat it immediately. Many women think that they started their period, when often times it was a very early miscarriage. So the stats are a little off as not all these mini, early miscarriages are reported.
- Often times an infection, like a urinary tract infection or irritable bowel syndrome, can cause a miscarriage to happen. Making sure that your body is healthy and operating on optimum cogs before you commence becoming pregnant is paramount. You do not want to start out your baby’s life when your body is in less than a favorable state. Have all the right checks and tests before conceiving. It is for your own well-being and that of your future baby.
3. Smoking and Drugs
- While smoking is just bad, period, it is particularly bad during the first trimester of pregnancy, for baby and mother both. Smoking puts undue pressure on the already hard working lungs and of course infects the growing fetus. So stopping your smoking long before trying to get pregnant and of course most definitely whilst pregnant, is the best thing to do.
- Drugs, no matter the type, are bad for your body and if you were involved with drugs prior to conception, you are setting up your body and baby for a bumpy ride. Taking any form of drug, even a painkiller, during pregnancy can have dire consequences. Be sure to check the ingredients of the drug or medication you wish to take, either with the pharmacist or your doctor.
4. Diseases and Ailments
- If you have diabetes, thyroid or autoimmune disease prior to conception, you run a higher risk of miscarriage during your first trimester. It is not to say that you shouldn’t try to conceive, but make your doctor aware of your ailment so that he can prepare you and check the medication you are taking. Some medications can be bad for the baby, so it is best to have them checked out. Many women have to forgo their normal medication during pregnancy to avoid harming the baby or causing abnormalities later on. This can result in going through quite a bit of discomfort, but in the end is worthwhile when that tiny bundle of joy is placed in your arms. The medication can be continued post-birth unless you are planning on breastfeeding.
- Becoming pregnant when you are over the age of 40 is still an issue, even in today’s high-tech world. The body of a woman 40 or older is very much different from that of its younger counterparts. But it does not mean a woman older than 40 cannot have a baby. It is best to have your physical condition inside and out checked out by your doctor before trying to conceive, though. Down the line, you don’t want your age to be the reason you miscarried in the first trimester. Sometimes a woman over the age of 40 is healhier than a woman under the age of 30. Today’s mature woman makes an effort to look after her body and health.
- Any trauma is bad for both baby and mother, but especially so in the first trimester. Trauma can come in the form of a physical trauma, where the mother’s body is jolted or harmed in some manner, whether it be a car accident or a hard fall. Some trauma can be mental, where the mother gets a terrible fright from an unexpected shout or upsetting news. There is no real way to curb these traumas as they most times are unforeseen and unanticipated. It is a good idea though to prepare yourself for these unexpected surprises and going to yoga or meditation classes or partaking in calming activities will always benefit you down the line.
So, How to Prevent Miscarriage?
Knowing how to stop a miscarriage might not be enough. There are measures that you can take to help your body nourish and take care of your growing fetus.
Herbs to prevent miscarriage most commonly come in supplements. There is no guarantee that they will work. They do, however, help to provide extra nourishment to the body where it is lacking. Talk to your midwife or doctor before adding any type of supplement to make sure it is suitable for your growing fetus. Any change in diet or major change in routine should be talked about with your doctor to ensure your baby’s health and safety.
Exercise in moderation
Doing too much can over stress the body, but not doing enough will not keep your body healthy. No illegal drugs, nicotine, or alcohol should be ingested or smoked. These substances interfere with the nourishment that is being transferred, and adverse effects can be much worse on your baby.
Some foods to prevent miscarriage are nutrient rich and baby-friendly. There is a special fertility diet that you can follow to ensure the best health for your baby. This diet helps to increase fertility as the name suggests, and will keep you healthy and ready for pregnancy.
The right diet can help with the following:
- Hormonal balance
- Low progesterone, high estrogen, elevated prolactin, insulin resistance (OCOS), thyroid disorders, or luteal phase defects are some hormonal imbalances that can affect your pregnancy and fertility in general.
- The health of your eggs
- Placenta health
- Building of nutrient storage
- Decreasing the chances of miscarriage
- Reproductive system health
A few of the main things that you should include in your diet are complex carbs, unsaturated fats, protein and whole milk, and you should take multivitamins to supplement what food cannot. These foods will help your body to prepare for pregnancy and lessen the risk of pregnancy loss.
- Complex carbs
- Limiting highly processed carbs and eating more ‘slow’ carbs helps your body to digest slowly and manage insulin level.
- Bad carbs can increase the blood sugar and cause the body to release more insulin.
- Unsaturated fats
- By avoiding trans fats, you are preventing your body from becoming resistant to insulin. Insulin helps to move glucose between the bloodstream and cells, and high levels can cause metabolic problems that affect your ovulation.
- Plant proteins are filled with healthy fats and are low in calories helping you lose or manage your weight.
- Whole milk
- One or two servings of full fat dairy foods per day can help your body to be more welcoming to a pregnancy.
- Folic acid is the main thing you want to look out for. You should be taking 400 milligrams of it. Also, 40 to 80 milligrams of iron is a good idea, too.
11 Foods that You Should Avoid
Many foods should be avoided during pregnancy. While over the years people have relaxed somewhat on the list of foods to avoid, there are still some that should be definite no-no on your list.
1. Unwashed vegetables and fruits
High on the list is unwashed vegetables and fruits. The harmful effects of pesticides can be detrimental to a growing fetus. So be sure to wash your fresh produce before eating or even cooking them.
Caffeine, with all its unnatural spikes and dips, is most definitely an ingredient to avoid. It raises the blood pressure levels as well as the heart rate. And you don’t want to go messing with the heart at this delicate time of your life.
3. Refrigerated food
Any food that is refrigerated for long periods of time, such as pate or meats, should be avoided as they produce bacteria called listeria. Listeria can cause premature contractions, so either eat pate and meat freshly made or bought, or avoid all together.
Unpasteurised milk can be the most dangerous, not only to the baby but to any human. Make sure your milk is pasteurised. Milk bought from the shop is pasteurised. Milk bought straight from a farm may need to be tested before consumption.
5. Raw Seafood
Raw shellfish, as well as sushi, should be avoided, although many pregnant women are eating sushi nowadays in small amounts. Mostly in the first trimester it is best to stay away from these seafood delicacies. The mercury level in some sushi and raw shellfish can be dangerous for mother and baby.
Any fish that has a high dose of mercury should not be eaten during pregnancy, such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tinned tuna. Mercury can cause brain damage and developmental issues in an unborn baby.
Pineapple, oddly enough, should not be ingested in any form, whether liquid or as a whole food, whilst pregnant. Pineapple contains bromelain, which softens the uterine and induces contractions. Many women drink pineapple juice at the end of their pregnancy to initiate an early birth. So, if you don’t want an early miscarriage then avoid this sweet and sticky fruit.
7. Sprouted Potatoes
Sprouted potatoes can contain toxins dangerous to an unborn baby. So, make sure your spuds are not growing any roots or sprouts. Buy fresh potatoes.
Peaches, strangely, are not good for mommies. The fine rough hairs can cause internal bleeding, so avoid these fruits.
9. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs and poultry – anything raw is dangerous but in particular are eggs and poultry. Salmonella is the ingredient you want to avoid here. Salmonella can basically cause food poisoning due to the very harmful germs and you will find a feeling of nausea, often followed by vomiting, fever and diarrhoea will commence.
10. Soft Cheeses
Soft Cheeses – because of the moulding effect of cheeses as with unpasteurised milk, soft cheeses are a no-go when pregnant. Cheeses in particular to avoid are feta, gorgonzola, Roquefort, ricotta and camembert.
11. Green Tea
Green Tea – while good for digestive systems and cleansing out the body, too much green tea is dangerous for new mothers. The high doses of caffeine in green tea can cause issues for your own body and your baby’s. In fact, everyone should avoid drinking more than 4 cups of green tea a day.
Progesterone to prevent miscarriage is a sensitive issue. A progesterone level that is too low can cause miscarriage if your uterus is not ready for supporting a pregnancy. Using progesterone supplements is only recommended for IVF treatment patients.
Medication to prevent miscarriage usually includes progesterone or other types of medicines. An immune globulin injection to prevent miscarriage can also help.
Get screened for STDs and HIV to ensure the health of your future baby. This should be done before conception. Some of these conditions can cause miscarriage and/or harm your baby.
Baby aspirin to prevent miscarriage is usually used in recurrent miscarriages. There is not much evidence supporting the use of it, but it will not do any harm taking one a day.
Another shot to prevent miscarriage can be of HCG. These may come with side effects, but have been shown to play a role in preventing miscarriage.
Can folic acid prevent miscarriage, too? Studies have shown that these supplements taken before and during pregnancy can help to reduce neural tube defects. A higher dose might also prevent miscarriage.
Acupuncture to prevent miscarriage can provide a stabilizing effect during the first trimester. During the second trimester, acupuncture helps to regulate the nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Lastly, in the third trimester, acupuncture is used to regulate the musculoskeletal system and help with pains associated with late pregnancy.
Massage can be an amazing way to relax and have your worries go away for a little while. In early pregnancy or pre-pregnancy, a massage can improve circulation to the uterus and clear any congestion and adhesions. This self fertility massage can help to relieve some of that stress, too. The more relaxed you are, the better. Your baby will be able to grow in a safe, healthy environment, especially if you make sure to take some time for yourself and take it easy.
To prevent miscarriage as best as you can, there are ways to take care of your body, even before you get pregnant. Most of these ways have to do with how to prevent miscarriage in the first trimester. However, keeping up with all of the treatments, especially ones that help the both of you, is important.
Miscarriage Related FAQs
Can Stress Cause Miscarriage?
Yes, most definitely! Stress, in fact, can cause all sorts of trauma, no matter whether you are pregnant or not. The body reacts physically when under duress and stress can come in the form of a physical onslaught or a mental attack. The effects that stress can have on a fetus is phenomenal and learning to deal with stress before becoming pregnant is very important. The hormones and various chemicals go completely out of whack during a stress episode and this alone is not good for the unborn child, not to mention the mother.
The one hormone that is released when the body is under stress is CRH (Corticotropin-releasing hormone) and doctors have found, when they have tested a baby born underweight or prematurely, that the baby had very high levels of CRH. It is the same hormone released when it is time to contract the uterine for the readying of delivery. Hence, why stress can sometimes cause premature birth and if it is before 30 weeks, a miscarriage.
Practicing to manage your stress is vital to preserving the life of your baby. Again, a yoga class, an anger management class or even taking regular walks out in nature, with no cellphones, no loud noises and just the wind and air to keep you company, is always going to help that situation. So, just thinking about stress causing a miscarriage can cause the blood pressure to rise. That yoga class awaits you.
Can Exercise Cause a Miscarriage?
Exercise is most definitely a good past time during pregnancy but only if you were used to exercising prior to pregnancy. Never start up a new exercise regime or sport when you are pregnant. Go with what you know and your body is used to. If you have never exercised, then don’t start at the beginning of a pregnancy. Regular exercise, in fact, has been known to decrease the risk of miscarriage, so a little bit of low impact cardio is always a good thing. Just make sure you check with your doctor first.
Can Alcohol Cause a Miscarriage?
Alcohol is for the most part not good for anyone’s body and especially not for a pregnant woman, and of course not the unsuspecting growing fetus. A little bit of alcohol during pregnancy will not necessarily cause a miscarriage but excessive binge drinking will set the possibilities very high. When we mean excessive we are talking in excess of five or more glasses a week. Alcohol increases your blood alcohol level which you can generally manage and process but a fetus has no idea how to manage this. We all know what excessive alcohol does to our senses and to our body in general. Imagine what it will do to a tiny baby, not yet exposed to such foreign substances?
Can Smoking Cause a Miscarriage?
Smoking is most definitely a dangerous habit, whether you are pregnant or not. The effects of the secondary smoke on innocent bystanders has huge negative effects, so smoke first-hand to your already stressed pregnant body and to your unborn child can cause great side effects. Nicotine is poisonous so should be avoided at all costs.
If smoking doesn’t cause a miscarriage, which is highly likely, you will find it will bring on early labor and premature birth. The born child will most likely be underweight and lacking in vital vitamins to spur it forward into growing normally.
Can Caffeine Cause a Miscarriage?
Caffeine raises your heart rate and puts undue stress on your valves and arteries. So, when it comes to a small little baby ingesting this toxic substance, you can only imagine what that little heart is trying to do. So, can caffeine cause miscarriage? Most certainly. But, as with most things, everything in moderation. A little will be fine, like one cup a day.
Can Running Cause a Miscarriage?
If you were a runner before becoming pregnant, then by all means, continue running, even well into pregnancy. Some women run right till the very last day. But if you were not a runner before or had stopped running a while before conception, then be super cautious with your running regime.
The jolting and hard impact of running can cause stress on the walls of your uterus and also the baby intact inside. Sometimes, it is best to tone down and revert to a low impact sport like walking or swimming during pregnancy. Get the go-ahead from your doctor for any new activity though.
Can Anxiety Cause a Miscarriage?
Anxiety isn’t full-blown stress, but is a symptom of stress. Feeling anxious and overly worried about something can cause the body to go into ‘flight or fight’ mode, so you want to try manage this in a nice way.
Any pressure put on the heart and entire body is not good for the unborn baby.
Can Infection Cause a Miscarriage?
Making sure you are in a fit and healthy disposition before you go down the garden path of getting pregnant is paramount to your well-being and that of your expected baby. Bacterial and viral infections can cause a miscarriage and should be treated very quickly once spotted. Two particular bacteria are very dangerous and they are mycoplasma and ureaplasma. These lie in the uterus and cervix, which of course is very close to our little fetus.
Which Herbs Might Cause Miscarriage?
- Cinnamon, taken in the right dosage, will cause a miscarriage as it has properties that cause the uterine to contract prematurely. Cinnamon cooked into food is safe but taken whole, like in the form of a tablet, can give the desired results.
2. Dong Quai
- Dong Quai has been used by many a midwife or Doula when they needed the contractions to speed up. Dong Quai improves the strength of the contractions.
3. Homeopathic Remedies
- Sepia and Sabina have the ability to get rid of tissues in the uterine and often is used when a miscarriage has already occurred.
Which Medicine Might Cause a Miscarriage?
Mothers are always told to avoid any type of medicines and tablets during pregnancy. Because the baby has not been exposed to any foreign substances one doesn’t know what these substances can do to them.
Here is a list of medicines that can cause miscarriage:
- Ibuprofen (which is like Advil) for stomach related pains
- Celecoxib (or Celebrex)
- Diclofenac – generally used for inflammatory problems, like arthritis, gout and fevers
- Naproxen (Aleve)