Quick Links - Most Popular- Please see left hand menu for more:
Click Here to Subscribe as a FSDW Member and Start Connecting with Sperm Donors in the Member's Only Area!
* Click Here to View Basic Profiles of Registered Sperm Donors, Before You Join as a Member
* Register as an FSDW Sperm Donor- THANK YOU! You're amazing!
There is no time during pregnancy when nutrition is unimportant. Of the nine months of gestation, however, the first three are the most important. During this first trimester the baby grows to about three inches in length and weighs about one ounce. Its sex is determined. It can open and close its mouth and kick and squirm - but as yet is too small for 'mom' to feel it carrying on.
This is the time for mom and dad to visit the doctor and/or midwives to discuss birthing options. (Don't just 'go along' with whatever the doctor does 'routinely'. Do some research now on labor positions, drugs, fetal heart monitoring, episiotomy, labor and delivery place, birth attendants, breast feeding, rooming in, vitamin K, erythromycin or silver nitrate, etc., etc..) A visit to an herbalist is also a good idea - just to make sure all of the nutrients are being supplied in the most easily assimilated form. I generally caution pregnant women away from synthetic prenatal vitamins and iron. Often these vitamins are candy coated and so hard that very few people can digest them. They tend to pass right through - whole. Synthetic iron usually causes bowel movements to turn black. It also causes constipation and/or diarrhea. (A dose to three mg. has been documented as causing death in young children.)
During pregnancy there are some herbs which should not be used at all and several others that may be used very carefully. Most herbs are totally safe when used in moderation and with wisdom. Herbs to avoid are rue and pennyroyal. Both of these herbs can cause miscarriages and many other severe complications of pregnancy. Herbs that need to be used with caution include black cohosh, blessed thistle, blue cohosh, cramp bark, damiana, dong quai, false unicorn, ginseng, licorice, sarsparilla, saw palmetto, squaw vine and yarrow. These herbs all contain steroid-like constituents which could possibly affect the secondary sex characteristics of the baby.
Another herb to be careful with is golden seal ".. one of the active ingredients is hydrastine, which contracts the uterus when taken in large quantities. Don't take more than 1/4 tsp. or one 00 capsule per day." (1)
The first trimester is the period during which most miscarriages occur. Early warning symptoms of miscarriage are cramping and bleeding. Most doctors will say they can do nothing to prevent the inevitable, and while herbs don't always result in a live birth after a threatened miscarriage, the benefits are usually pretty good anyway.
The herbalists rule of thumb is "Herbs will stop it if it can be stopped. If not, then the herbs will speed it along and help mom recover faster".
There are many causes of miscarriage including malnutrition, hormone imbalance, and emotional factors. More than one cause is often involved.
Nutritional requirements of pregnant women are very high. To get the amount of nutrients required the diet must be loaded with healthy, whole, live foods. Herbs and other nutritional supplements may be used to enhance the diet. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, sprouts, butter (not margarine), dairy products (if they are tolerated), nuts, seeds, organically raised animal protein (to avoid the hormones and antibiotics used in producing commercial animals) and yogurt are the types of foods to be eaten.
This is definitely a time to avoid smoking and smoke/exhaust filled areas, refined and lifeless non-foods, coffee, tea, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, deep fried foods, products made with white flour, white sugar and artificial colors. All of these items deplete vitamins and mineral reserves and weaken the whole body. Good nutrition can help prevent miscarriage.
Another cause of miscarriage is hormone imbalance. When I'm muscle testing a client and detect a hormone problem, I work with the anti-miscarriage herbs to prevent a miscarriage. Once the miscarriage is threatening, I have had success working with frequent doses of feverfew, lobelia, red raspberry, catnip and an herbal combination of golden seal, capsicum, false unicorn, ginger, uva ursi, cramp bark, squawvine, blessed thistle, and red raspberry. Many of these herbs are not recommended for long term use during pregnancy because of their affect on hormones. In miscarriages, however, the natural hormones are deficient, unbalanced or ineffective.
Doctor Christopher reflects on lobelia in these words: "Lobelia is a selective herb. When a fetus is dead, or in an extremely weakened condition, lobelia will cause it to abort. However, if the fetus is well and healthy, and the mother is weak, it will cause the mother to heal and strengthen, enabling her to carry the child until the proper time for delivery. Lobelia accurately and intelligently selects which way to go. It is truly a 'thinking' herb." (2)
Specific herbs in the anti-miscarriage formula which act with intelligence to stop cramping include false unicorn and cramp bark.
• Improving your odds of a successful pregnancy
No matter how careful, healthy, or lucky a newly pregnant woman may be, there’s no guarantee that she will actually have a baby. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to half of all pregnancies fail, usually before a woman realizes she’s pregnant. In many ways, women who never know about the lost pregnancy are the lucky ones. After a woman gets a positive result on a pregnancy test and starts picturing a new baby in her life, a miscarriage can be heartbreaking.
When a pregnancy ends in miscarriage, one question stands above all others: Why? In most cases, there’s no clear answer. Doctors can rarely pinpoint the cause of a miscarriage. (Physicians generally use the term “miscarriage” to refer to pregnancies that are lost before the 20th week. After that, they’re called “stillbirths.")
What we do know is that most miscarriages aren’t preventable. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, chromosomes fall together in unpredictable ways. Through no fault of the mother or father, a new embryo may have abnormal chromosomes, missing chromosomes, or extra copies of chromosomes. Women have a built-in “quality control system” that usually rejects such embryos before they can develop.
According to a report in Human Reproduction, if an embryo has a serious genetic problem such as an extra chromosome, there’s a nine in ten chance that the pregnancy will end in miscarriage during the first trimester. On the positive side, over 90 percent of all embryos with their chromosomes in the right place will make it to the second or third trimester.
According to the March of Dimes, most women who suffer a miscarriage later go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Improving your odds of a successful pregnancy
Many women can lower their risk of a miscarriage with a few simple lifestyle changes and good prenatal care.
For starters, think about what you’re putting in your body. Cigarettes, alcohol, and many illegal drugs can raise the risk of miscarriage and other complications. If you use any of these substances, quit before you get pregnant. If you’re already pregnant, quit as soon as possible. Federal experts say there is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy, and smoking has been linked to miscarriage and preterm labor. Staying away from secondhand smoke is a good idea as well.
Other threats may come from unexpected sources. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000 found that five or more cups of coffee a day doubled the risk of miscarriage early in a pregnancy. The link between caffeine and miscarriages is still controversial, however, and many women enjoy a cup of coffee now and then without any apparent problems. For now, the March of Dimes urges all pregnant women to stop drinking large amounts of caffeine, but not necessarily to give up coffee and tea entirely.
You might also need to think twice before popping a pill for that headache. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2003 suggested that taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or similar over-the-counter painkillers during pregnancy can raise the risk of a miscarriage by 80 percent. The study found no such risk with acetaminophen (commonly marketed as “Tylenol”), the drug that most doctors already recommend for treating minor aches and pains during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before taking any medications.
Your doctor can be a valuable ally in your quest for a healthy baby. If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, a thorough checkup can determine if you have an illness that could potentially lead to miscarriage. Common examples include lupus, congenital heart disease, kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, and infections of the uterus. In many cases, prompt treatment of these conditions can greatly increase your chance for a healthy pregnancy, especially if treatment starts before you conceive.
If you’ve had more than one miscarriage, your doctor may run extra tests to get to the bottom of the problem. You may not be producing enough progesterone, a crucial hormone that keeps a pregnancy going. Your doctor may be able to correct this deficiency by prescribing supplements. You may also have fibroids or an unusually shaped uterus. These obstructions can often be corrected with surgery.
Because there are no guarantees, all pregnant women should watch out for signs of miscarriage or preterm delivery. Call your doctor immediately if you notice vaginal spotting or bleeding at any point during your pregnancy. (If that bleeding comes along with any clots or tissue, try to collect these so your doctor can take a closer look.) Minor bleeding may not signal and emergency, but you'll need to see a doctor to be sure.
Many miscarriages occur due to severe genetic abnormalities which cannot be prevented. In such cases, the woman's body typically ends the pregnancy in the early stages. In many cases, though, a doctor cannot determine exactly what caused a miscarriage. Doctors do, however, have suggestions for preventing miscarriages, and there are a few conditions that are known to cause miscarriages which should be treated before trying to become pregnant.
Guidelines for Preventing Miscarriages
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy will increase your chances of conceiving; as well as provide a healthy environment for your baby once you become pregnant, thus minimizing the risks of suffering a miscarriage.
Before Becoming Pregnant
Before you become pregnant, it is important to become as healthy as you can by:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Taking daily folic acid supplements
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing stress
Once pregnancy is confirmed, you should also:
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
- Not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- Not use illegal drugs and not misuse prescription drugs
- Limit or eliminate your consumption of caffeine
- Protect your abdomen, and avoid sports or activities that include any risk of injury
- Avoid exposure to radiation, including X-rays, and other environmental hazards
- Consult with your doctor before taking non-prescription medications, including NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen
Although the majority of miscarriages are caused by genetic problems that cannot be prevented, there are a few treatable conditions that have been known to cause pregnancy loss.
Some miscarriages are caused by a deficiency in progesterone, which is needed to sustain pregnancy. Women who don't produce enough progesterone in the beginning of pregnancy may experience repeated miscarriages. Progesterone supplements may help to prevent such miscarriages.
Infections and Illnesses
Certain serious infections, including STDs, can cause miscarriages. Similarly, illnesses, such as immune system disorders, lupus, diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, and kidney disease, can cause miscarriages as well. It is important to speak with your doctor to determine if you have any of these conditions, and if you do, it is important to seek treatment to increase your chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
Women who have certain physical problems may experience recurrent miscarriages. Fertility problems due to an irregularly shaped uterus may require corrective surgery. Miscarriages due to a weak cervix may be minimized with a cervical stitch to hold the cervix closed during pregnancy.