The word “miscarriage” can be a scary word for any woman who longs to be a mother. If you have recently been through a miscarriage or just want to learn how to avoid a miscarriage, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are providing the best self-care to help welcome a healthy baby.
1. Talk with Your Doctor
It is important to talk to your health care provider when you decide you are ready to have children. Your doctor can help you proactively prepare your body physically for pregnancy. For instance, taking expert-recommended supplements will provide health benefits for you and your baby even before conception occurs.
If you have suffered a miscarriage, your doctor should be able to analyze why it happened and if possible, help you prevent a future one. They may share information on lifestyle changes or how to treat any underlying conditions you may have that could interfere with a healthy pregnancy.
2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
When you first get “baby fever,” you should consider making changes to your everyday lifestyle. A clean diet with a generous amount of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is a good start. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help deactivate free radicals in your body that contribute to subpar sperm and egg quality. Whereas, you should try to avoid unhealthy trans fats that are found in fried and processed foods. You may also want to cut down on refined carbs like sugary drinks, pasta, and rice that can spike blood sugar and cause insulin level imbalances. Some women have even found that swapping meat for other protein sources such as beans, seeds or nuts can improve fertility.
Another vital consideration is to ensure your immunizations are up-to-date. Any disease you develop during pregnancy could possibly cause a miscarriage. Infectious diseases like MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) can’t be vaccinated for once you are pregnant, so it’s vital to consult your medical records before trying to conceive. During pregnancy, you should consider getting the Tdap (whooping cough) and flu vaccine for added protection for you and your growing baby.
If you struggle with diabetes or high blood pressure, you should ask your doctor about medications for these pre-existing conditions that are safe to take during pregnancy (the same goes for any medications you currently take). While some women who suffer from these conditions can discontinue medication by losing weight or maintaining a healthy diet, others will need to continue them due to family history. In either case, talk to your doctor about your options so you can reduce the chances of an early miscarriage or birth defects.
3. Find Physical Activities You Enjoy
Participating in intense workouts for more than an hour per day can decrease fertility in some women. Most conception and pregnancy exercise recommendations include moderate exercise such as a combination of cardio, strength training, and yoga. Too much exercise can decrease estrogen and ovulatory function, making it harder to conceive and stabilize early pregnancy.
While cardio is good for your heart and weight maintenance, strength training can help you through a pregnancy with less pain in your back and joints. Taking a regular yoga class can lower stress levels and help you visualize through a long labor. Other activities like walking or swimming are also good options.
4. Avoid Drugs, Alcohol and Contact Sports
Remember that a large amount of what you consume will affect your growing baby. Drugs and alcohol are particularly dangerous for a growing baby. That is why it’s important to stop any of these habits if you are trying to conceive. Prescription drugs for pre-existing conditions will need to be cross-checked to see if they are safe for pregnancy. Other things to consider are limiting your consumption of caffeine, exposure to radiation (including x-rays), and avoiding contact sports in which your abdomen could be the target.
5. Take Prenatal Vitamins that Contain Folic Acid, Calcium and Iron
One of the most important supplements in pregnancy, folic acid, should be taken one to two months before conception in order to be the most effective. A dosage of 400 mg is recommended. Calcium and iron are also essential for proper fetal growth. Take some time to research prenatal vitamins to find the one that works best for you. Some are taken once a day, while others require multiple doses. Prenatal vitamins that are free of preservatives and dyes and made from real food are most ideal. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you have any questions regarding prenatal vitamins.
6. Tackle Your Stress
While there is no perfect time to have children, choosing a time when you can be in control of your stress may help you avoid miscarriage. You need to give your body time to adjust to your new life change, so it’s best to avoid trying to conceive when you are moving, starting a new job, trying to finish school, or tackling a personal health condition.
Fifteen to twenty-five percent of pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. While this statistic may cause anxiety, it is important to note that most miscarriages simply occur because the pregnancy is not normal. By being proactive about your health, you can greatly decrease the chances of experiencing a miscarriage. If you are experiencing reoccurring miscarriages, your doctor may be able to provide treatments that will increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.