Unfortunately, a miscarriage cannot always be prevented because many factors such as chromosomal abnormalities are unavoidable.
Although you cannot prevent a miscarriage, however, there are steps you can take to lower your risk and have a healthier pregnancy.
4 ways to lower your risk of miscarriage
1. Lifestyle changes
Certain changes before and after pregnancy can help prevent miscarriages:
- Not smoking
- Avoiding alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy
- Limiting your caffeine intake before and during pregnancy
- Eating a healthy diet
- Avoiding certain foods during pregnancy
- Managing stress
- Taking at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day, beginning at least one to two months before conception
- Losing weight before pregnancy if you are overweight or obese
- Managing weight gain if you are overweight or obese during pregnancy
- Trying to prevent certain infections, such as rubella
- Staying active
2. Prenatal care
- Inform you of the baby’s development
- Detect conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes (these conditions may not cause noticeable early signs; however, regular blood pressure and urine tests can help detect problems)
- Assess the health of your baby using blood tests or the ultrasound scanner
- Ask you about your emotional well-being and help you obtain support if needed
If you are unable to make an appointment for prenatal care, ask your healthcare provider to schedule another appointment.
3. Tests following a miscarriage
If you have experienced a late miscarriage or three miscarriages in a row (recurrent miscarriage), you should undergo tests to identify the cause.
Although doctors cannot always diagnose the cause, if they identify an abnormality (such as a uterine abnormality or an infection), you may be offered treatment to reduce the risk of another miscarriage.
Moreover, you should be aware of actions to be taken before conception and during pregnancy to protect your baby's health in the future and lower the risk of any complications.
4. Treating an identified cause
If your doctor identifies the exact cause of the miscarriage, identifying and treating the underlying cause can prevent further miscarriages. Some of the conditions and their treatments are highlighted below:
- Antiphospholipid syndrome: Antiphospholipid syndrome, also called Hughes syndrome, refers to a condition that causes blood clots and can be treated with medications. Research suggests that women with this condition when treated with a combination of heparin and aspirin showed improved pregnancy outcomes.
- Weakened cervix: A weakened cervix, also known as cervical incompetence, can be fixed with surgery that involves putting a small piece of thread around the cervix to keep it closed. This procedure is typically done after the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.
What tests are done after repeated miscarriages?
Genetic tests or blood tests may be required if you have had at least three miscarriages in a row (called repeat miscarriages)::
- Genetic tests: Both partners may have to undergo blood tests, including karyotyping, to determine whether there are any chromosome-related abnormalities. If the tissue from the miscarriage is available, your doctor may analyze it for chromosomal abnormalities.
- Blood tests: You may have to undergo a blood test to check for hormonal or autoimmune issues that may be causing the miscarriages.
Your doctor may also check your uterus by using one of the following methods:
- Hysterosalpingogram: An examination involving an X-ray dye test of your fallopian tube and uterus
- Hysteroscopy: A test where your doctor can view the inner uterus using a thin device
- Laparoscopy: A test that allows your doctor to view the pelvic organs using a light device
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