Diet to minimize the risk of a Miscarriage
A healthy balanced diet has a strong role to play in a healthy
Suffering a miscarriage (A miscarriage, which is also known as
'spontaneous abortion', occurs when a baby (foetus) is lost spontaneously before
the 24th week of pregnancy.) is one of the most devastating things that can
happen to a woman, and to her partner. Miscarriages are far more common than
most people realize; it is thought that about three-quarters of all human
conceptions do not result in the birth of a baby. Often these miscarriages
happen so early that the woman does not even know she is pregnant, but just
seems to be having a heavier or later period than normal.
You can achieve optimum health and minimize the risk of a miscarriage by
following these dietary recommendations:
EAT PLENTY OF
Soft-ringed cheeses and un-pasteurized dairy products
Liver and liver products such as pate
Herbal medicines and all drugs except under medical supervision
DIET BEFORE CONCEPTION
Potential parents should try to get fit before conception. Healthy babies
tend to be produced by healthy parents who are neither markedly underweight nor
Both parents should eat a nutritious,
balanced diet, make every effort to give
up or cut down on smoking and alcohol. Some form of regular
exercise is also
very important. Current thinking suggests that these lifestyle changes should be
made at least three months - and preferably six months
before baby is conceived.
ALCOHOL AND SMOKING
To increase the chances of a healthy baby, it is best to avoid all toxic
substances. In women, alcohol is at its most dangerous in the earliest stages of
pregnancy when foetal cells are dividing very rapidly. Unfortunately, this is
when a woman is least likely to be aware of her pregnancy. It is therefore
safest for women to avoid alcohol from the moment conception is planned.
smoke have a higher risk of miscarrying and of their baby being
underweight or even having a birth defect. But if a woman is an addictive
smoker, her doctor may advise that the stress caused by trying to give up during
pregnancy would be more harmful to her and her baby's well-being than continuing
to smoke a few cigarettes. In these circumstances, pregnant women may find it
useful to go to an anti-smoking organisation which helps people to give up.
DIET DURING PREGNANCY
It is generally accepted that a nutritionally poor diet during pregnancy
increases the likelihood of miscarriage. During the first three months of
pregnancy, when foetal cells are beginning to develop into rudimentary organs,
the quality rather than the quantity of the mother's food is particularly
important. Because at this stage the growing foetus is so tiny, a much larger
calorie intake is not required.
What is needed is good
nutrition: if the foetus lacks essential nutrients it
may not develop properly and may be spontaneously aborted.
Plenty of foods which contain complex
carbohydrates such as wholemeal
bread, pasta and green vegetables; these supply energy,
Lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds for
vitamins and zinc.
Oily fish and vegetable oils are good sources of essential fatty acids,
Fresh fruit and vegetables will supply
vitamin C and
Keep to fresh, natural foods, and try to cut down on refined carbohydrates
which may contain large amounts of
FOODS TO AVOID
Listeriosis, caused by the food-borne bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, is
a rare but serious infection. Should a woman become infected during pregnancy it
could lead to miscarriage, still birth or severe illness in her newborn baby.
High-risk foods include soft-rinded cheeses (such as Brie, and Camembert) and
pate - which should be avoided during pregnancy. Ensure that all meat, poultry
and eggs are cooked thoroughly (to kill bacteria). Pregnant women and those
trying to conceive should avoid liver as it is high in
vitamin A, excessive
amounts of which can cause birth defects.
Some studies suggest that caffeine (in coffee, tea and chocolate) should be
restricted but many doctors advise that moderate amounts are harmless.
The supplements recommended below have been studied in clinical trials and
have been found to be effective in connection with miscarriages. For best
results you should take them over a period of three months or as advised by
The Department of Health advises that women should take a supplement of
folic acid at least three months before conception and up to 12 weeks into
pregnancy at a rage of 0.4mg per day. The link between a lack of folic acid
and neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) is now well established;
foetuses which develop such defects are more likely to miscarry.
Multivitamin and Mineral
A good quality multivitamin and mineral would form the foundation of
your supplement programme to make sure that you are getting a 'little bit of
everything'. You then add in those nutrients in slightly higher amounts
which are known to be helpful in preventing miscarriages.
Aspirin and heparin are given to women who have blood clotting
antibodies in order to thin the blood. Another possibility - and certainly
the natural alternative - is to take
vitamin E. This vitamin can help thin
the blood and prevent clots.
Zinc is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can
cause chromosome changes in both partners, leading to an increased risk of
miscarriage. What's more, zinc plays a vital role in normal cell division,
so it is particularly important that adequate levels are available at the
time of conception in order to prevent a miscarriage.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Essential fatty acids produce beneficial prostaglandins which can reduce
abnormal blood clotting. In order to make sure that you are not deficient in
these fatty acids it is preferable to take them in supplement form over the
four-months preconception period and during the pregnancy itself.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and it can prevent chromosome
breakage and DNA damage, which are known to be a
cause of miscarriages and
Many doctors prescribe supplements of iron and folic acid during the latter
part of pregnancy to prevent
NOTE: Most drugs and herbal medicines should be avoided during
Dated 09 May 2012