What happens when you’ve wanted something and worked to get it, only to have it taken from you? It’s devastating. Especially when that ‘something’ is a person. A baby you’ve dreamed about and planned for, and maybe even started preparing your home for. Losing a baby comes with a lot of heartache and frustration. How did it happen? Will a miscarriage happen, again? What went wrong? Is it my failure? There’s a lot of emotion to work through, and, at one point, it can feel like you can’t handle it, anymore.
The good news is something like this doesn’t just happen–there’s a reason and a cause. It can be found and fixed, especially if you have someone in your corner who knows how pregnancy works. Someone who knows what to look for, and how to heal your body so it doesn’t happen again, even as you work through healing emotionally and becoming mentally ready to try again. And as you learn–as hard as it is–that this wasn’t anyone’s failure. You are still, and will still be, good parents.
Where’s it coming from?
One of the hard aspects of having a miscarriage is that there are so many possibilities for why it could be happening. Like so many other areas when it comes to health, the answer isn’t the same for everyone.
Autoimmune Issues and Losing Baby
There may be antiphospholipid antibodies that are disrupting the developmental process.
Mayo Clinic explains it as follows:
Antiphospholipid (AN-te-fos-fo-LIP-id) syndrome is a condition in which the immune system […] creates antibodies that attack tissues in the body. These antibodies can cause blood clots to form in arteries and veins. … During pregnancy, antiphospholipid syndrome also can result in miscarriage and stillbirth.
The problem might also be thyroid antibodies that are causing the disruption.
The NIH says it like this:
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is an association among maternal thyroid antibodies, miscarriage, and preterm delivery. … [E]vidence is accumulating that the odds of a miscarriage are more than tripled and the odds of preterm birth are doubled in the presence of thyroid autoantibodies.”
Things That Trigger the Immune System
The thing to remember when it comes to dealing with autoimmune issues, is that the body isn’t doing anything wrong. The body does exactly what it’s made to do. If the immune system is triggered often and heavily, however, it stops differentiating between good tissue and tissue that it needs to destroy. The immune system will attack anything inflamed, because that’s the signal it’s supposed to look for, but it’s stressed. Like any of us, when the immune system is stressed, it may not be functioning properly.
Consider things like the foods you’re eating; are you taking in sugar, dairy, the dirty dozen, dyes, GMOs, or other foods that are naturally inflammatory? Are your cleaning supplies, beauty and hair products, lotions, or nail polish hiding toxins? Are you coming into contact with hidden plastics throughout your day? Give your immune system a break so it can do its job as well as it can. Cut the toxins and allergens that are stressing your immune system.
Just because you haven’t come into contact with a toxin that you’re aware of doesn’t mean your body isn’t still struggling with it. Are you around glyphosate without knowing it? Is there hidden mold in your house or workplace? Are there still heavy metals within your body from a vaccine, or toxins from medication you’re taking? Are you stressed at work or fighting an infection? Any of these things could demand enough from the immune system to cause stress.
There is the possibility that the miscarriage can come from a blood clotting issue. When the baby embeds, the uterus starts to form the placenta, blood clots could form within the placenta or the umbilical cord. Because of this, it used to be standard practice that, when a woman struggled with recurrent pregnancy loss, they’d take a thrombophilia panel.
WebMD explains thrombophilia this way:
If you cut your finger or bruise your leg, your body acts to stop the bleeding. Blood cells called platelets and blood proteins called clotting factors work together to form a clot. Once the bleeding stops, the clot dissolves.
But some people may have a condition called thrombophilia that makes them prone to getting blood clots even without an injury. This is also called hypercoagulability.
While this isn’t the only possible reason for losing a pregnancy, it is still a possibility. A thrombophilia panel will look for different markers for blood clotting to see if this is a possible cause. If you do have the markers for blood clotting, the chances of a miscarriage rise, because of the possibility of blood clots in the placenta and umbilical cord.
Genetic Issues and Losing the Baby
The problem could be something like fragmented DNA in the sperm, or non-viable eggs from the mother. These can make it so that the chromosomes don’t line up correctly with the egg and sperm come together. You were designed for life; something may be interfering with that DNA, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be restored.
One Size Does Not Fit All
We have said before in this series that fertility is complicated. If one of the parents’ bodies is out of homeostasis, it doesn’t function properly. The organs and processes all function like the gears of a Swiss watch; each impacting the other. When it comes to getting pregnant, though, you’re not just trying to get a Swiss watch to work like it should. You’re trying to get two Swiss watches to work together in such a way as to create another whole human being. And after that, you’re trying to keep everything functioning well enough to allow a Swiss watch to work inside of another; each of them their own mechanisms, and yet impacting each other in multiple ways.
This is a difficult situation, and it can be heartbreaking like no other. This is why it’s important to have someone in your corner that knows how the body works; on its own and in tandem with others. Is it an issue of a fatigued and overtaxed immune system? Is it an issue of a weak immune system that is unable to protect Baby? Does the mother’s blood clot easily? Is the father’s sperm functioning? Are the mother’s eggs?
How Are These Pregnancy Losses Addressed in the Medical World?
Progesterone is the hormone that supports and sustains a pregnancy. A lot of times, then, people will take progesterone in an attempt to save the pregnancy. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
If it works, the question you will want to eventually address is what is going on in your body that is causing low progesterone production. The body doesn’t just guess which hormones to make; there is a reason and a source for the amount of a hormone in the body. Why would progesterone be low? This is the body telling you something is wrong and is something you will need to look into, at some point.
If adding progesterone doesn’t work, the question there, too, is why. What else is going on in the body that is causing these miscarriages?
If the miscarriage is because of an issue with the body’s immune system, it makes sense to solve the problem by getting the immune system to stop doing what is causing the disruption. This is medically accomplished by giving the woman immunosuppressants. The problem with this is the very thing that was hoped to be the solution–it suppresses the immune system. While an overactive immune system is a problem for the baby, a weak immune system isn’t better. Momma and Baby both need Momma’s immune system to be able to fight off viruses and infections.
Instead of suppressing the immune system, let’s go back to the source–what’s making the immune system target important cells? The immune system is stressed and isn’t distinguishing between safe cells and dangerous cells. Give your immune system a break, support it properly, and stop eating allergens or taking in other toxins.
What is the Wellness Way Approach?
As stated above, one size does not fit all when it comes to fertility challenges. It’s important to look at a comprehensive history and previous tests of each couple to find where the problem might be. What are the chances mold is the problem? Glyphosate?
Getting your uterine natural killer cells and TH1 and TH2 cytokine ratios tested can tell you if the uterus is in a hostile environment. This will tell you if the immune system is over or underactive, and how to proceed. Do you need to remove triggers and let the immune system rest? Which ones? Do you need to support it to a stronger state?
Getting stool or allergy tests done can tell a lot about why the immune system is handling itself the way it is. Is there an infection it’s fighting? Allergens?
Give Your Body a Break
A miscarriage is just as hard physically as it is emotionally. Your heart and your body had started to nurture and cherish the little one. Just like it takes time to emotionally heal from something like that, physical healing isn’t going to come immediately.
Before you try again, give your body time and space to be ready to take on the endeavor of growing a human, again. Let your body go through a complete cycle. Let your body heal and give it time for the dust to settle before you get back into the starting blocks to try this marathon again. This process will take at least three months. Let it. Be in the moment rather than forcing yourself through it to try again. Let yourself mourn.
There is no definite timeline on when your body will be ready to try again. This is why it’s important to have someone in your corner that knows how the body works. That knows its nuances and the hormonal cycles. Everybody is different, and when it’s ready to try again depends on what’s going on inside. How is your body healing? What environment is it in? What else is going on within your body that may make it harder to support and sustain a pregnancy?
How do I Move Forward?
What you just went through is hard physically and emotionally. You just lost a baby. Let yourself sit with that and acknowledge the pain. Work through the pain as it comes. Have mercy with your body and let yourself mourn. Pushing through or trying to ignore the truth of what happened will only cause you more stress in the long run. Stress impacts a woman’s body far worse than anything else.
To find someone who can walk through the process of healing and moving forward in your fertility journey with you, and to get tested, contact a Wellness Way clinic today.