Miscarriage is the loss of a baby prior to the 20th week of pregnancy.
Miscarriage is quite common and one in four pregnancies result in a loss. For many women, finding the cause for their miscarriage can be difficult. Miscarriage can be due to problems with the developing pregnancy. But some women may be told that no medical cause for their miscarriage could be found.
Unfortunately, some miscarriages cannot be avoided. But there are some things that you can do that may help to reduce your chance of having a miscarriage.
Time to make a change – Focus on a healthy lifestyle…
Smoking increases the risk of all sorts of problems inpregnancy. If you can possibly cut back or avoid cigarettes - that is the best option. Many women who do continue to smoke during pregnancy are lucky if they don't run into problems. To give you and your baby the best chance, you should stop smoking and avoid passive smoking.
Don’t drink Alcohol
Alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy, even in small amounts, has been linked with abnormalities in babies.
Don’t take Drugs
Don’t take drugs, unless prescribed by your doctor. Many drugs, both legal and illegal, may increase the risk of miscarriage. These include caffeine in large amounts, amphetamines, heroin and a variety of over-the-counter and herbal preparations.
Good nutrition is vital to health of mother and baby. It is important to eat a well balanced diet, high in fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and cereals. Limit foods high in fat, sugar or salt. Folic acid is important - supplements of folic acid are recommended before and during pregnancy. See your doctor or midwife for the appropriate dose for you. Not getting enough folic acid may lead to problems with the development of a baby’s nervous system and result in miscarriage.
Avoid Certain Foods
Listeria and salmonella are two types of bacteria found in contaminated foods that are known to cause miscarriage. Listeria can be found in raw seafood, soft cheeses (such as camembert or brie), unpasteurised foods, soft-serve ice-cream, and precooked foods such as salami or patè. Salmonella can occur in raw eggs and undercooked meats and poultry. Ensure foods are cooked thoroughly, and avoid those that could be contaminated by listeria or salmonella.
What else can I do to have a healthy pregnancy and baby?
Prior to pregnancy
- Exercise regularly but don’t overdo it. 30 minutes of light to moderate level exercise is recommended. Activities such as walking, swimming, or pregnancy exercise classes are ideal.
- Aim to have your weight within the healthy range. See you doctor about what is healthy for you.
- Minimise stress. Talk to friends, family or a professional about resolving difficult issues.
- See your doctor about existing medical conditions.
- Make sure your immunizations are up-to-date.
- Limit caffeine intake. This includes coffee and cola drinks.
- Seek advice from your doctor or midwife before taking any over-the-counter or herbal preparations.
- Exercise regularly but avoid extreme activity such as more than 1 hour of high level exercise.
- Take time out to relax and reduce stress. Seek advice to resolve issues causing increased stress levels.
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Avoid working long hours.
- Ensure good dental hygiene and see your dentist during your pregnancy.
- See your doctor early if unwell or you notice an unusual or odorous vaginal discharge.
- Arrange to see your doctor or midwife early.
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