Whether multiple miscarriages or stillbirths there are 7 main areas that need to be addressed, which apply to any woman who is struggling with miscarriages or recurrent fetal loss at any stage of pregnancy.
Any woman reading this information, that may have suffered a miscarriage or still birth can take this information to a medical provider and request further tests to rule these common issues out.
Miscarriages are essentially considered as foetal loss that happens before 24 weeks gestation and a stillbirth is essentially a pregnancy loss that happens at or after 24 weeks gestation.
In the United States, the chance that a pregnancy will end as a stillbirth is about
- 1 in 200 for a white woman and
- 1 in 87 for a black woman
A stillbirth is 10 times more common than sudden infant death syndrome and it’s nearly 5 times more common than infant deaths related to abnormalities at birth. The following information is drawn from a series of fertility question and answer sessions
1. Hormones & Endocrine
Reproductive hormone imbalance or deficiencies are a leading factor and certainly something that is easy enough to test. Straight reproductive hormonal deficiencies or imbalances that can cause issues. Generally, causing either a placental issue or an implantation issue for an early miscarriage. As far as stillbirths are concerned, usually endocrine deficiencies, imbalances or abnormalities cause placental issues before they cause a stillbirth or miscarriage.
Whenever we’re testing hormonal imbalances, always we like to get a baseline prior to a pregnancy. Ideally on day 2 of the cycle – second day of bleeding – will be the best way to ascertain what is happening as far as hormonal balance is concerned.
2. Metabolic Concerns
Liver and thyroid disorders or diabetes, all of which can increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Diabetes is a huge topic, due to all the related hormones at play, consequently diabetes is going to be an issue. Liver problems in pregnancy can sometimes cause stillbirths and certainly miscarriages but perhaps one we see most often overlooked are sub-clinical thyroid disorders.
Because thyroid disorders are so common and often diagnosed as sub-clinical – meaning most doctors will test, see the results and say, “… there is nothing really wrong” when in my experience sub-clinical thyroid dysfunction can actually cause miscarriages and stillbirths at any stage of pregnancy and is one of the leading factors that we look at in regards to fertility treatment.
Ensuring metabolic function, thyroid function, hormonal balance, is a really important way prior to trying to conceive to ensure that you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of carrying a healthy pregnancy to term.
3. Immunological factors
Miscarriage antibodies, red cell antibodies, antiplatelet antibodies, full blood counts, the count is important, but also having a look at these antibody markers is going to be quite essential. Autoimmune conditions can really create havoc as far as stillbirths and miscarriages are concerned, particularly Lupus. If a woman has a known autoimmune or thyroid condition we help to ensure it is being managed appropriately.
4. Anatomical Factors
Ultrasounds can be helpful in finding and ascertaining the impact of a number of anatomical issues and is a worthy means of investigation during pregnancy particularly in situations of multiple stillbirths
- Fibroids in the uterus, finding out whether the location or of fibroids is actually having a negative impact on the ability to keep a healthy pregnancy to term.
- As far as later pregnancy loss is concerned, placental abruption is an issue, where the placenta separates from the womb
- Umbilical cord problems, cord prolapse or even cords wrapped around the baby’s neck can be sufficient to create issues as far as the development of the baby
- Bleeding and haemorrhage can happen during or even before labour and for whatever reason, internal haemorrhaging is going to create a problem
- Cervical incompetence we’re looking at needing to strengthen the cervix by enhancing nutritional bioavailability as well as other methods which may also be absolutely paramount in preventing foetal loss
To ensure that you’ve got a healthy pregnancy and can carry to term, we are definitely making sure that these anatomical factors be addressed as a matter of cause and of high priority, because if there are issues in this regard, it is definitely going to negatively impact a healthy pregnancy being able to develop.
5. Infectious Issues
The main concern here is that a lot of these infections are silent, they don’t display symptoms yet your developing embryo is largely defenceless against those silent infections.
Our patients are tested for a huge array of possible infections using blood and high vaginal swabs. As far as using high vaginal swabs, it’s really important that they’re done high up near the cervix or via colposcopy, because we want to see if there is any infection near or at the cervical region, because that is really what’s going to make a difference.
- Strep B
- E. coli.
Are examples of some bacteria that can cause quite a lot of damage in regards to miscarriages and stillbirths, so possible infections which are often silent and display no symptoms will be a huge factor and I’m going to go through quite a few of these that are to be looked at because these can really make a huge difference as far as miscarriages are concerned, keeping a healthy pregnancy to term and obviously ensuring that will prevent stillbirths.
First though a note on our treatment of infection…We do use herbal medicine, to support the body’s immune system as well as to help the body to do its own work. We also use antibiotics to make sure that we very quickly address any infection that can negatively impact the ability of a pregnancy to continue.
Although most of our treatment is natural, we do for bacterial infections rely on antibiotics because they give a much more fast and effective results. When we do need to use antibiotics, we make sure to prescribe prebiotics, probiotics and a healthy diet because retaining the balance of good gut bacteria will make a huge difference to the way that the gut works and impacts hormonal balance.
Where antibiotics cannot combat infections – viruses like Cytomegalovirus, Parvovirus or even Rubella, or Herpes – In those cases, that’s where herbal medicines actually shine because in regards to viral infections the focus is on strengthening the immune system.
Possible infections that can and have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths are things like Rubella, also known as German measles.
If you go through an antenatal, prenatal or preconception testing with your doctor, generally Rubella is one of the primary tests. Most women that don’t have immunity get offered a booster vaccine. The thing with the vaccine is that you cannot conceive within four months post-vaccine.
So if you will need to give yourself more than four month before you can actually get pregnant, which from my perspective is actually very beneficial, because essentially 4 months or 120 days is what you need in order to give yourself the best possible chance of conception because the health of your fertility today and your partner’s fertility today, is actually what happened 4 months ago.
Then, of course there’s a raft of other infections to test for
- Common flu virus
- Parvovirus, which is the virus that causes slapped cheek syndrome
- Coxsackie virus, the hand, foot and mouth disease virus
- Cytomegalovirus, which is one of the common viruses actually that you get with flus
- Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection, spreads by animal contact
- Lawn disease, again spread by animal contact, specifically pigs
- Mosquitoes spreading things like malaria again
- Toxoplasmosis particularly for people that have pet cats. Also found in soil so if you like gardening, make sure that you wear gloves at all times.
- Listeriosis and also Leptospirosis which relate to Listeria, food posing which is why pregnant women are warned, not to eat soft cheeses, pork, raw fish anything that essentially could increase their risk of food poisoning.
Looking at genetic screening for both parents is going to be really important because genetic abnormalities can create weakness’ as well as severe physical defect We look for parental abnormalities and genetic factors such as
- Thrombophilias, inherited abnormalities of blood clotting,
- MTHFR again to do with abnormal clotting.
Any of those abnormal clotting type situations is going to cause an issue as far as carrying a pregnancy to term and pregnancy loss. Genetic abnormalities of the foetus can also be ruled out by doing things like amniocentesis and Chorionic villus sampling. Then lastly of course, we’ve got…
7. “Unexplained” Factors
Now this is one of my favourite topics because “unexplained” fertility certainly indicates a lack of investigative rigor. Rather than a thorough investigation of the cumulative impact of multiple, minor factors instead they explain them away by talk about increased maternal age, foetal malnutrition and the dangers of high blood pressure. True these factors do impact fertility but they do not ease the doubt and frustration of “unexplained” fertility issues.
Which is exactly why, when compared to mainstream fertility practitioners we have a very detailed testing protocol that we use, particularly in cases of recurrent foetal loss where it’s absolutely essential to investigate everything possible in order to prevent these issues from occurring again.
When you’re going through all this testing, it may feel very overwhelming and that’s where I would absolutely recommend, seeking the assistance of people with expertise in this area. My team and I are here to help you find and put together the pieces of your puzzle.
Multiple miscarriages and stillbirths are extremely distressful yet rest assured there is hope. In my experience with patients who have had pregnancy losses and then completed their treatment with us and gone on to have healthy babies, successful outcomes cannot be pinpointed to just one or two areas.
With the Natural Fertility Breakthrough Program we are addressing so many different aspects and areas of fertility health and lifestyle factors that there is always a cumulative impact on fertility outcomes.
While our track record is testament to our success, the process is different for everyone, because it’s tailored to each individual – there’s lots to investigate and the journey is life changing – the beauty is that you get to discover so many ways to take greater control and effect your fertility. If you know that it’s time to take your first step with us, your journey to Fertility Starts Here.