TTC after Miscarriage

Aug 31, 2020

If you’ve had a miscarriage, let me start by reassuring you that I’ve had a great deal of success with helping women have healthy babies after recurrent miscarriages.

In this post, I'll cover some of my recommendations to help you move forward and improve your chances of having a pregnancy go to term with a healthy baby.

Early miscarriages in the first few weeks of pregnancy is usually attributed to poor embryo quality so it doesn’t grow properly (can be due to poor egg quality or poor sperm quality or both) or the embryo didn’t implant to the uterine lining.

Improving egg quality for a better embryo requires a multi-faceted approach.  In this post, I’ll touch on two essential areas: nutrition.

Those two areas are part of a framework of six daily steps that I have my clients focus on to develop a strong foundation for a healthy baby.  If any of those steps are missing, the chances for success are greatly reduced.  

Water

The first area is Nutrition.  People either don’t realize or underestimate how food can be used for therapeutic purposes, including improving fertility enough to prevent miscarriage.

Water is the single most important “food” you want to make sure you’re getting plenty enough of.

By weight, two-thirds of your eggs is water. The rest of the cell is a mixture of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, and other molecules.  An embryo is a collection of cells. 

Dehydration can be a cause of miscarriage. If you don’t have enough water for yourself, you won’t have enough for a baby. 

What is the amniotic fluid made of? Again, it’s water.  Amniotic fluid is the clear fluid found within the first 12 days following conception within the amniotic sac. 

Drink half your weight in ounces of filtered water.

Protein

After water, the next important nutrient is protein. 

Get your protein from clean animal sources since they’re more bioavailable and more nutrient-dense than plant proteins.  That includes:

  1. grass-fed red meat (beef, lamb, bison)
  2. fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring, fish eggs
  3. pasture-raised eggs (2 eggs a day). 

Fats

Another nutrient that’s critical for a baby is saturated fats. 

Saturated fatty acids make up at least 50% of the cell membranes. They give your baby’s cells necessary stiffness and integrity. 

We’ve been trained by mainstream medicine to avoid saturated fat.  Unfortunately, it compromises your health as well as your baby’s health. 

When you’re trying to get pregnant, eat grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, organic coconut oil, and organic sustainable palm oil.

Prenatal

If you’re not taking a prenatal, you really should be. It provides nutrients that you may not be getting enough of from your foods alone.

To look for a high quality prenatal that will help you get pregnant and not harm your chances, read the labels on the bottles.

The first huge red flag is if it has food coloring and that’s easy to identify on the label because it’s written as a color. Because if it has food coloring, it will have other filler chemicals that are potentially harmful to your fertility as well.

The next red flag is if the daily dosage is listed as 1 per day. In a high quality prenatal, it’s impossible to fit everything into 1 pill or capsule.

If it IS in 1 pill then you’re talking about synthetic ingredients made in the laboratory which won’t be as useful or absorbed by the body.

Look for a prenatal made from whole foods, not synthetic chemicals. Since the purpose of taking prenatals is to bridge nutritional gaps from the foods you’re eating, your body will absorb nutrients that are food sourced better.

Because they’re whole food based, the molecules are a lot bigger than synthetic chemicals so they usually require a daily dosage of 3-6 capsules.

There are many excellent quality prenatals. However, the brand I currently recommend is Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal which is made from organically grown raw fruits & vegetables. That’s important because it adds naturally supporting antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrient cofactors for optimal absorption.

Methylfolate

Folate is a B vitamin. It’s traditionally known to prevent certain birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defects.

It’s so important that the FDA requires that folic acid be added to enriched grain products (such as bread, pasta, rice, and cereal).

Most prenatals have folate in the form of folic acid which is the synthetic form of folate. However, unless your prenatal says it has folate in the form of methylfolate, take it as a separate supplement.

This is because about 1/3 of Americans have a genetic variation that causes a decreased ability to convert the different forms of folate to the active form used by the body, methylfolate. These variants have long been associated with recurrent miscarriage. If you have had multiple miscarriages, you can assume that this might be an issue for you.

You can ask your doctor to do a MTHFR screening to confirm your genetic status in relation to the MTHFR gene. That gene encodes the enzyme needed to convert the different forms of folate to the biologically active form, methylfolate.

If you have your 23andMe or ancestry.com data, you can look for those genes yourself so you don’t have to go to your doctor. Go to geneticlifehacks.com to get your report.

Because so many people have this variation, I make methylfolate a blanket recommendation because it’s so important for your baby’s spinal cord development and other birth defects.

The problem is if you have this genetic variation, you won’t be able to convert folic acid that’s in most prenatals to methylfolate efficiently so it’s easiest to just get it in the active form, methylfolate at 800 mcg a day.

Doctors traditionally recommend that women with the MTHFR variant take a much higher dosage of folic acid (up to 4000mcg, I’ve seen). I do NOT recommend this because it can lead to unmetabolized folic acid in the bloodstream, which can interfere with the ability of your cells to take up methylfolate.

DHA

Our brains are extremely rich in fat. About two-thirds of the human brain is fat, and a full 20% of that fat is an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA.

DHA is critical to brain development in your baby.

It’s estimated that as many as 80% of Americans have suboptimal blood levels of DHA.

Plants don’t have DHA because they don’t need it since they don’t have higher brain function. They have the precursor form, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which we can convert to DHA. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for adults to make DHA out of ALA, with most studies finding a conversion rate of less than 10% and for children under 2yo, it’s even lower (close to 0%).

The easiest way to obtain DHA is to include some fatty fish in your diet (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines).

Since most people don’t eat fatty fish regularly, supplementing is best to ensure that you’re getting what you need for your baby. In fact, all baby formula in the U.S. is supplemented with DHA to mimic mother's milk, which naturally contains DHA.

You can safely supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day.