The topic of miscarriage is never easy to discuss, yet, with 15% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, we know the issue is too prevalent to leave unaddressed. Often times there is nothing that can be done to prevent a miscarriage, as most early miscarriages are caused by genetic abnormalities. However, we want you to be encouraged in knowing there are a few common practices that, when implemented, can help reduce your risk for miscarriage.
One of the best ways to lower your risk for miscarriage is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and after pregnancy. If you are not yet expecting, you may also consider scheduling a preconception visit with your OB doctor. At the visit, he may take blood samples to check for blood type, Rh factor, and varicella (chickenpox) and rubella immunity. Being vaccinated against these infectious diseases is one great precautionary step to take before pregnancy. Though failure to vaccinate won’t necessarily increase your chances of miscarriage, it is important to know that live-virus vaccines cannot be given after becoming pregnant. With that said, there are a few other infections linked to miscarriage.
One of the easiest ways to avoid catching these viral or bacterial infections is simply by practicing good hygiene. Because this tip is so simple, it is often overlooked, but the importance of proper hygiene cannot be overstated. The CDC recommends that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, washing before and after eating, interacting with someone who is sick, or touching things that have been heavily handled by others — such as doorknobs, money, shopping carts, etc.
Another important factor is safe kitchen/food practices. Food-borne illnesses such as Listeria are often associated with increased risk for miscarriage. Expectant mothers are advised to avoid bacteria-dense foods, such as undercooked meat and unpasteurized cheese. On top of being cautious about what foods you are eating, adhering to proper kitchen safety can also prevent unnecessary risks. Some safe kitchen tips include: using or freezing meat within 1-2 days of buying it, thoroughly washing produce, and refrigerating leftovers soon after cooking.
By taking proper care of your body through recommended vaccinations, hygiene, and safe food practices, you can help reduce your risk for miscarriage. For more questions concerning miscarriage, please consult with your OB family physician. If you’d like to request an appointment with Dr. Stillson you can do so HERE.
Please check out these websites for more tips on preventing miscarriages: