Reducing your chance of miscarriage

There are few things more heartbreaking than the spontaneous loss of a long awaited, much anticipated pregnancy.

Sadly, miscarriage is all too common. As many as 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. At least half of all miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities, but for many of the remaining cases, the cause may be unknown.

Only a handful of miscarriages may be triggered by lifestyle or environmental factors. What can women do to encourage an otherwise healthy pregnancy to flourish? Here are a few tips:

No smoking. Smoking is bad for mother and her developing baby, so women should quit even before pregnancy. Even secondhand smoke is bad, so pregnant women should avoid being around anyone who smokes.

Watch what you drink. While modest amounts of caffeine (up to 200 milligrams a day) are tolerable, consistently consuming higher amounts may increase the risk of pregnancy loss. Pregnant women should be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and keep in mind that there is no safe amount of alcohol intake during pregnancy.

Watch what you eat. Certain foods, like unpasteurized soft cheeses and meats, carry the risk of bacterial infection. These infections are manageable in otherwise healthy people, but could be risky for pregnant women. Focus instead on maintaining a healthy diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Manage chronic and acute conditions closely with your doctor. Make sure your Ob/Gyn is fully aware of any chronic conditions you are managing, like high blood pressure or diabetes, as well as any acute illnesses like the flu. Review all your medications with them so they can spot potential risks and help find alternatives when necessary. Even some over-the-counter medications can be risky for a developing fetus.

Take folic acid.  Folic acid not only decreases chances of neural tube defects, it may also reduce the risk of early miscarriage. Foods that are rich in folate include dark leafy greens, asparagus, and citrus fruits.

Be aware of environmental risks. Pregnant women should avoid activities or situations that may expose them to harmful chemicals, temperature extremes, excessive radiation, or risk of traumatic injury.

Do you have other questions or concerns? Be sure to schedule an appointment with a member of our team by calling 615-721-6250

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Jenny Shanks

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