Foods To Prevent Miscarriage: What To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of joy and anticipation for many couples. Unfortunately, miscarriage is an all-too-common experience that can take the joy out of this special period in life.  It is even estimated that in the United States, around 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a loss.  Though this may sound scary, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of miscarrying. One important step is making sure you eat the right foods both before and during pregnancy. In this blog post, we will look at some of the best foods to prevent miscarriage and why they are so beneficial for pregnant women. With these tips, you can ensure that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible!

This article does not give medical advice.  Please always check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.  If you are ever experiencing heavy bleeding, cramping, or other symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

What Causes Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is typically considered the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks, or 5 months of pregnancy.  A late miscarriage is a loss that typically occurs during the second trimester.  

To fully understand why certain foods can be beneficial to reduce your risk of miscarriage, it is first important to understand what can cause a pregnancy loss.  There are many different reasons why early miscarriages, also sometimes called spontaneous abortion, can occur.  The most common reasons are chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal imbalance, infections, and medical conditions.  In fact, it is thought that up to half of early pregnancy losses during the first trimester are due to genetic abnormalities.

Medical conditions that can contribute to a higher risk of miscarriage include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, uterine abnormalities, thyroid conditions, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses. It is important to be aware of any underlying medical conditions you have prior to pregnancy. This will help ensure you get the best possible care during your pregnancy.

A well-rounded diet can also play a role in the health of your pregnancy. Eating unhealthy foods or not getting enough of certain nutrients can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage. Eating certain foods does not ever completely eliminate your risk of miscarriage, as there are many factors at play. Making some lifestyle changes can help to reduce your risk.  Smoking, alcohol use, and drug abuse can all contribute to a higher risk of pregnancy loss. These should all be avoided, especially after you are pregnant.

Recurrent miscarriage is defined as two or more miscarriages in a row.  Women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss should speak to their healthcare provider about possible causes.  Antiphospholipid syndrome is one particular issue that can cause recurrent pregnancy loss.  Most doctors will not do any additional testing unless you have had three or more losses in a row.  Do not be afraid to push for blood tests and additional testing if you keep going through loss.

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Foods to Prevent Miscarriage

When it comes to preventing miscarriage, the goal is to make sure that you get the right nutrients and vitamins for a healthy pregnancy.  In fact, it is important to start eating a balanced diet and make healthy lifestyle choices before you even get pregnant. Be sure you are also taking your prenatal vitamins!

Vitamins that are important during pregnancy include folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  Folate, or folic acid, is especially important for preventing birth defects like spina bifida.  Some foods that are rich in these vitamins include dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fortified breads and cereals. 

Do not feel you have to follow a particular type of diet or a special fertility diet.  As long as you are getting healthy foods in, that is all that matters!  If you do want to follow a diet style, a Mediterranean diet is also beneficial for a healthy pregnancy. This type of eating pattern consists of mostly plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil. Eating this way has been associated with lower risk of miscarriage by some studies.

Some of the best foods to include in your healthy diet are: 

Fruits and vegetables: Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can ensure that your body is getting all the vitamins it needs to keep your pregnancy healthy.

Lean proteins: Eating lean proteins like fish, chicken, and eggs can help supply vital nutrients and amino acids to your body.  Red meat is an excellent source of iron, but should be limited to small amounts.

Whole grains: Eating whole grains can help keep your blood sugar levels balanced during pregnancy and provide you with essential B vitamins and fiber.

Dairy products: Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese contain calcium and Vitamin D, which can help strengthen your bones and muscles. They can also supply important minerals like zinc and magnesium. 

Legumes: Legumes are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. 

Fish: Eating fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote fetal brain development.  Be sure to avoid fish that has a high mercury content, such as swordfish and king mackerel. 

Nuts: Nuts are a great source of important vitamins like folate, vitamin E, and magnesium.  They are also high in healthy fats and protein. 

Seeds:  Seeds, such as flax and chia, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of folic acid. Sesame seeds are typically considered safe, but some sources recommend not eating them during the first trimester.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your body is receiving all the necessary nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to talk to your health care provider about any prenatal supplement or vitamin you may be taking as well. Be sure to get their approval first! 

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Foods That Can Contribute to Miscarriage

While there are a large number of healthy foods that can be helpful in ensuring you have all the vitamins and minerals you need, there are also some food items hat should be avoided during pregnancy.  None of these foods directly cause a miscarriage, but some can increase the chances of miscarriage due to bacteria and infections that can occur after eating them.

Raw eggs:  Raw eggs can contain Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. 

Raw meat:  Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella, which can be harmful to your unborn baby.

Unpasteurized dairy products:  Milk that has not been pasteurized can contain bacteria like E.coli, which can lead to food poisoning.

Unwashed produce: Unwashed fruits and vegetables can have harmful bacteria on the surface that could cause infection or illness. Unripe or green papaya should be avoided completely due to  its potential to cause uterine contractions.

Soft cheeses: Soft cheeses such as Brie, feta, and blue cheese are more likely to contain listeria, which can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth

Liver: Eating too much animal liver during pregnancy can result in an excess of Vitamin A, which can lead to birth defects in the baby. 

Deli meat:  Deli meats can be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. This food can only be eaten if throughly heated up before eating.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase your risk of miscarriage and other health complications for you and your baby. 

Caffeine: Drinking too much caffeine has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.  Limiting your caffeine intake is best. 

Aloe Vera: It is best to avoid ingesting aloe vera during pregnancy, as it may increase the risk of miscarriage.  

Junk Food:  Eating large amounts of unhealthy junk foods should be avoided in order to maintain a healthy weight.  They are usually high in sodium or sugar and lack any nutritional value. 

Eating a balanced diet during pregnancy is an important part of reducing your risk for miscarriage. Be sure to add plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, dairy products, legumes, fish (with low mercury content), nuts, and seeds to you diet.  This can help ensure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to keep your baby healthy. On the other hand it is also important to avoid certain foods like raw eggs or meat, unpasteurized milk or cheese, unwashed produce as well as liver in order to reduce any potential risks associated with them. With these tips in mind you should be on your way towards having a safe and successful pregnancy with a healthy baby!

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