Pregnancy loss or miscarriage is always heartbreaking, no matter how early or late your loss occurs. The loss of a pregnancy is both physically and emotionally stressful, especially when faced with the devastation of recurrent pregnancy loss (three or more miscarriages). Feelings of loss, grief, fear, guilt, anger and disappointment are all very common and complexly understandable. In addition to a lot of tender loving care, counselling and reassurance, it is important to have thorough investigations to try to understand the big question of why and why us?
Recurrent miscarriage is defined as three consecutive pregnancy losses prior to 20 weeks, from the last menstrual period. Recurrent miscarriage affects approximately 1% to 2% of women (1).
The causes of miscarriage are a plenty and may be multifactorial, which makes it complicated and often impossible to point the finger at one cause
A study of over 1,000 women, who consumed two standard cups of coffee per day, had doubled the risk of miscarriage compared with total caffeine avoidance. (7)
Studies have linked sperm with DNA damage to a history of recurrent miscarriage. Sperm samples from couples who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss, showed higher levels of DNA fragmentation (damage) in the man's sperm. This can be routinely tested at an IVF andrology lab and is called a SCSA or SCIT test. It is a no brainer to have this test done. It is done along with a sperm analysis.
The good news- sperm DNA fragmentation can be successful treated within 3-4 months with herbal medicine and clinical nutrition along with diet and lifestyle changes.
Science has revealed a fascinating fact that an egg has the capacity to repair some DNA damage in the sperm, but girls, our eggs can only do “so much” housework!!!
1. INVEST IN THOROUGH TESTING TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHY AND MANAGE IT BETTER IN YOUR NEXT PREGNANCY
See a specialist fertility trained naturopathic clinician
See a miscarriage specialist fertility doctor
2. INVEST IN 4 MONTHS OF PRECONCEPTION CARE AS A COUPLE
Given sperm is 50% of the equation, men need to be equally and as passionately involved in this process. This involves taking the right nutrients for your genetics, following a fertility diet, engaging in a chemical free lifestyle and avoiding obvious environmental chemicals lined to miscarriage and fertility complications.
3. ENSURE THAT YOU NURTURE YOURSELVES EMOTIONALLY AND SPIRITUALLY
Both yourself and your partner should take time out to process the grief of past losses. Plan for how you’ll manage the natural worry and anxiety when you conceive again. Guided relaxations, counselling, journaling are a few good tools.
4. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR STRESS LEVELS AND WORK TO CREATE CALM, SPACE AND QUIET IN YOUR LIFE
Simply put, we are mammals; part of the animal kingdom. We need to feel calm and feel safe in order to reproduce. Be mindful and conscious.
5. DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE
There ARE answers and with the right support team, you’ll find them.
I wish you well in your journey to having a healthy beautiful newborn in your arms, in the very near future. Remember, you become a parent way before you child is born. Parenting begins when you are preparation to conceive. The journey is long, filled with ups and downs, but flows with immeasurable love and lifeforce.
Angela Hywood ND
(4) Amodio, G., Canti, V., Maggio, L., Rosa, S., Castiglioni, M.T., Rovere-Querini, P. and Gregori, S., 2016. Association of genetic variants in the 3′ UTR of HLA-G with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Human Immunology, 77(10), pp.886-891.
(5) Udry, S., Aranda, F.M., Latino, J.O. and Larrañaga, G.F., 2014. Paternal factor V Leiden and recurrent pregnancy loss: a new concept behind fetal genetics?. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 12(5), pp.666-669
(6) Ferguson, L.R. and Ford, J.H., 1997. Overlap between mutagens and teratogens. Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, 396(1), pp.1-8
(7) Weng, X., Odouli, R. and Li, D.K., 2008. Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: a prospective cohort study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 198(3), pp.279-e1.
“Persevering in the face of extreme pain. It has been a journey full of so many highs and lows. I guess at times, with the pain being so severe, it was difficult to let go and accept that that was the reality of the situation”
says 26-year-old Amelia about her journey with endometriosis.