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Miscarriage

General characteristics

General characteristics

A miscarriage can be described as the premature ending of a pregnancy (around 20 weeks) when the foetus is not developed enough to live independently of its mothers womb. Miscarriages can happen later in pregnancy but are often then described as 'stillbirths' rather than late miscarriages. Sometimes ectopic pregnancies can be described as miscarriages when the foetus is unable to develop properly and is expelled from the womb spontaneously. As many as 1 in 7 pregnancies can end in miscarriage and in many cases a reason or cause of the miscarriage will not be discovered. If miscarriage occurs more than once in the same woman, then tests and investigations are usually advised to rule out any predisposing factors.

Miscarriage can occur for many reasons including underlying health problems in the mother such as Lupus, a history of irregular periods, large fibroids, weak cervix and uterine muscles, rhesus blood factor clash (i.e mother is RH- father is RH+), insufficient blood supply to the uterus, prolapsed or irregular shaped uterus, polycystic ovaries, infections involving fevers such as influenza and measles, severe genetic abnormalities or deformity within the foetus, untreated illness such as diabetes or thyroid imbalance, environmental factors (such as radiation exposure, PCB's, herbicides and insecticides, heavy metals), extremely poor nutrition or malnourishment, being very under or over weight, severe emotional stress, the age of the mother (more common the older the mother is), ectopic pregnancy (foetus developing outside of the uterus), coeliac disease and amniocentesis. Certain medications such as some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have a higher risk of miscarriage. It is also worth mentioning that some evidence exists to suggest that women in certain professions that give them continuous exposure to certain substances (such as veterinary and dental nurses) have a higher risk of miscarriage.

Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage include bleeding from the vagina (not always indicative of miscarriage as light bleeding is common in early pregnancy), blood streaks or clots in the vaginal mucous, brownish or unpleasant smelling discharge form the vagina (often signs of an incomplete miscarriage), cramping abdominal pains, back pain, fluids from the vagina and the stopping of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Healing objectives are to nourish and strengthen the whole body and uterine/pelvic organs in recurrent miscarriage cases and ensure the body is in maximum good health in order to give the best possible chances for a successful pregnancy to occur.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

After a miscarriage, give yourself a minimum of 4 months before attempting to become pregnant again. It takes this long for an egg to become fully mature and ready for development so use this time to build up your body and emotions with nourishing foods and a gentle nurturing lifestyle.

Stop smoking and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.

Having 2 or more coffees a day is thought to increase the likelihood of miscarriage.

Stop drinking alcohol completely.

Avoid exposure to environmental pollutants wherever possible, even things like petrol fumes, cleaning fluids, paints and varnishes and the like.

Eat organic whole foods wherever possible to avoid exposure to herbicides, pesticides, hormones from meat and dairy etc. Avoid processed and refined foods wherever possible.

Vitamin E has shown to have a preventative role in the prevention of miscarriage so include plenty of foods rich in vitamin E in your daily diet. These include sunflower seeds (and all seeds), pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, dark green leaves such as kale, spinach and chard, avocados, sweet peppers and green olives.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

***Many medicinal and even culinary herbs can cause a miscarriage by stimulating the uterus to contract strongly. Extreme caution is recommended. See pregnancy isssues for a list of herbs that we know of that are not to be used in pregnancy under any circumstances***

It is worth noting that most herbalists and natural healers would agree that no herb will prevent a miscarriage if the foetus is developing abnormally and is not deemed viable by the wisdom of the body or the uterine environment is not suitable in some way.

After a miscarriage and before attempting to be pregnant again try taking a tea to strengthen and tone the pelvic region. Nettle and red raspberry leaf (in equal parts) will help to give tone to the muscles of the uterus, helping with prolapses and cervical weakness. Take at least 3 cups daily, using a heaped teaspoon of the herbs in each cup for several months to get results.

Progesterone (literally meaning 'pro' or 'for gestation') is a key hormone in maintaining a pregnancy so herbs that either contain or promote progesterone tolerance can be taken. These include agnus castus and wild yam which, if taken before pregnancy, can help to correct any hormonal imbalance and give a greater chance of a full and healthy pregnancy. Use equal amounts of each tincture (100ml of each for example) and take a teaspoonful of the mix in water each day. Consult a fully qualified and experienced herbal practitioner on how and when to take these herbs during pregnancy.

False unicorn root tincture can be taken at a dose of 3 drops in water, 4 times daily for a month before pregnancy if possible and throughout the first 3 months of pregnancy in women with a history of repeated miscarriage. It can also be used in the same dose at the first signs of a suspected miscarriage.

Crampbark can be used to try and prevent early miscarriage where cramping of the uterus is not accompanied by cervical dilation.

A useful formula for preventing a threatened miscarriage could include squaw vine, black haw and wild yam root tinctures. Again, it is very important to consult a herbalist in person for specific advise and dosages before using these herbs during pregnancy.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Get plenty of relaxation and bed rest if you suspect a miscarriage is threatening.

Try adding a few drops of pure essential oil of rose to your baths for its healing and strengthening effects on the reproductive system and the emotions.

Avoid using laxative medications as these can irritate the womb and cause unwanted contractions leading to miscarriage.


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