A newly married couple in their mid-30s were excited on hearing the news that they were in the family way. Unfortunately, six weeks later, the pregnant lady had a miscarriage. After some time, she got pregnant again. This time, after 8 weeks of child bearing, no heartbeat was detected in the foetus. It was a colossal loss, yet again! The consecutive pregnancy failures were not what this eager mom-to-be ever asked for.
Half of the pregnancies are miscarried even before the woman realises she is pregnant, and only a few are miscarried in the later stages of pregnancy.
Is there a way to stop miscarriage? Let us find out what leads to a miscarriage in the first place, the diagnostic tests to be done for early detection and the natural and herbal remedies available to prevent miscarriage.
Reasons for miscarriage
There are many reasons, known and unknown, for an apparently healthy pregnant woman having a miscarriage. The most common reasons are:
1. Chromosomal problems: This is a major factor that has been detected as a cause for miscarriage. Up to two thirds of early miscarriages happen due to chromosome abnormalities. Sometimes, a problem can occur at the time of conception too but miscarriage mostly happens during the embryo formation phase with the chromosome of the foetus (either with the egg or sperm).
2. Placental problems: The placenta is the linking organ that ensures blood supply from the mother to the foetus. If the placenta goes through a problem in the developing phase, it can trigger off a miscarriage.
3. Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal changes can cause PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in some women leading to formation of several small cysts on their ovaries, which impede pregnancy. This is one of the principal causes of infertility in women.
4. Thyroid disorders: Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism contribute to infertility and repeated miscarriages leading to abnormal levels of uterine bleeding.
5. Uncontrolled Diabetes: Expectant mothers who are diagnosed with diabetes should consult their doctors to find out ways that can help keep their blood sugar levels in check. Hemoglobin A1C test is recommended to find out the extent of your diabetes control.
6. Lifestyle Habits: Factors such as drug abuse, smoking and consumption of alcohol and excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, either in the early stages or during the later stages of pregnancy.
7. Uterine abnormalities: Polyp or septum formation in the uterus or weakened muscles of the cervix, which is the neck of the womb, can result in miscarriage. This happens mostly in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
8. Age of the mother: In women under 30, one in ten pregnancies are likely to face miscarriage. As the age increases, the chances of miscarriage go up marginally. However, in women over 45, half of the pregnancies are likely to face miscarriage.
9. Disorders in Blood Clotting: Miscarriages can also happen due to Factor V Leiden which is a form of blood clotting disorder that reduces chances of fertility. This disorder is not as common as the reasons mentioned above.
10. Food Poisoning: Eating contaminated or half cooked food such as raw or partly cooked eggs, unpasteurised dairy products, infected meats such as pork or lamb can increase the risk of miscarriage.
Diagnostic tests for miscarriage
There are various tests that can help check for the probability of a pregnant woman having a miscarriage. Your doctor would be the best person to guide you through the tests.
1. Ultrasound Scans: A transvaginal ultrasound is done (rather than an abdominal ultrasound) to check out abnormalities in the womb. To get accurate diagnosis, 3D ultrasound scanner may be used. This is done to analyse the lower abdomen and pelvis region. A scan to ascertain weakened cervix can also be done (in cases of pregnancy following a miscarriage) which is carried out when the woman is 10 to 12 weeks pregnant.
2. hCG Blood Tests: hCG also known as human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced in a pregnant woman. This becomes detectable in blood and the levels double every 2-3 days in the early weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage happens when the hCG levels drop instead of increasing. Doctors need to see the hCG levels measured on two different days to judge the pregnancy’s chances of success.
3. Pelvic Examination: A pelvic exam is done by the doctor to check whether the cervix is dilating. If you are experiencing light vaginal bleeding or spotting and your cervix is dilating, there is a higher chance of miscarriage.
4. Fetal Heart Rate Monitors (FRHM): Also known as fetal dopplers, FHRM is a handheld ultrasound machine, which does not show the images of the baby in the womb, but is able to detect the heartbeat of the baby. Usually, the heartbeat becomes audible when the pregnancy is between 7 to 12 weeks. If there is an irregular heartbeat or no heartbeat, it signifies an impending miscarriage.
Ayurvedic treatment for preventing miscarriage
Ayurveda has many preventive options by which a pregnant woman can protect her womb during her pregnancy.
1. Following formulations are generally prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners for pregnant women – Mahadhanwantaram gutika (garbha rakshini gutika), Phalasarpis, Dadimadi ghritam, Sukumara ghritam and Vilwadi lehyam to combat nausea and morning sickness, etc.
2. Ayurvedic scriptures have mentioned use of herbal and milk decoctions during pregnancy. Therefore, herbs such as shatavari (asparagus), bala (sida cordifolia), guduchi (giloy) should be taken by pregnant women.
3. Asafoetida and Ashwagandha should be taken during the entire pregnancy to prevent miscarriage. Both are known to treat infertility and any other problem of the female reproductive system.
4. Triphala Choorna can be taken during pregnancy with the permission of the doctor in order to correct doshic imbalances in the body.
1. Avoid fermented products such as yogurt, cheese, sour cream; hot seasonings such as chili pepper and cayenne; sour fruits such as grapefruits, berries and apricots as they lead to improper digestion and constipation.
2. Don’t eat food items that increase body heat, particularly seafood such as sharks, prawns, lobsters and crabs.
3. Avoid fruits such as papaya and pineapple during pregnancy as they can be harmful to the growing foetus.
4. Take watermelons, apples, oranges only in moderate quantities during pregnancy, not in excess.
5. Avoid eating outside food during pregnancy. Take boiled water and biscuits with you when travelling as they are considered safe to consume.
1. Avoid stressful exercises, particularly those that strain the groin area. To bring down the heat factor in the groin area, lightly press a towel dipped in cold water on private parts.
2. Do yoga, meditation and deep breathing under the guidance of a trained Yoga teacher.
Natural home remedies
1. Take small doses of ghee cooked in milk from time to time.
2. Have a cup of properly cooked brown rice for meals. It prevents acid reflux.
3. Mix 1 tablespoon of amla with honey and take it every morning.
4. A spoonful of pure juice of Vitamin C when taken with honey is a good remedy.
5. In half cup milk, put 1/4 teaspoon of ground bay leaf. Boil it and then let it cool. Drink this cooled drink two times a day to protect the foetus.
Before you start trying out any of these natural remedies, it is best to consult your doctor.
Pregnancy is a natural blessing and it is all the more important that you take extra care when you’ve had a miscarriage earlier.