Hi everyone, my name is Alex and I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. Unfortunately, some of the women that I work with end up losing their baby. This devastating time in a family’s life is more common than one might think. And while nothing can truly comfort you during this time, incorporating certain nutrition can help your body heal following a pregnancy loss.
First Thing’s First…
It is so easy for women to blame themselves for this devastating loss, and just because the loss was outside of your control, doesn’t make it any less hurtful. But it’s important to remember to give yourself some grace during this time.
Nutrition To Prioritize Following a Miscarriage
Following a miscarriage, there are a few things happening to your body. There will be a swing in hormones, you will be losing blood, and your body will start the tissue healing process. There are a few key nutrients to prioritize to help your body health at this stage.
Preventing Iron Deficiency
It’s important to prevent iron deficiency, especially with a loss of blood. Foods high in iron include (3):
● Red Meat
● Green Vegetables
● Fortified Grains
● Nuts and Seeds
Reducing Inflammation and Aiding Wound Healing
Nutrients such as vitamin A, C, E and D are all essential for reducing inflammation and helping your body heal its wounds (4). Foods high in these nutrients include all sorts of different fruits and vegetables, but especially the following foods:
● Sweet Potatoes
● Citrus Fruit
● Bell Peppers
● Fortified Dairy
● Nuts and Seeds
Supporting Tissue Repair
Post miscarriage, your body is trying to repair muscle tissue. Foods to support this process include foods high in iron (mentioned above), as well as foods high in zinc and protein (5,6). Foods high in zinc include:
● Pumpkin Seeds
● Dark Chocolate
Drink Adequate Fluid
Have you ever donated blood and they told you to drink a whole bottle of water right afterwards (7)? Well just like with any blood loss, we need to make sure we drink plenty of fluids to help our body replenish that blood.
Reducing Risk for Future Miscarriage
Remember, most causes of miscarriage are outside of our control. However, we want to be as proactive as possible with including foods and nutrients that can be protective and reduce our risk of future miscarriage. Certain nutrients are critical for optimizing sperm, egg, and uterine health. The following list can help you get there.
Consume Adequate Protein
Take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36. The number you get will be the minimum amount of protein you should eat each day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you would need at least 54 grams of protein each day.
Have 2 Servings of Low Mercury Fish Each Week
Fish is a wonderful source of several essential nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA which is vital for sperm, egg, and embryo health.
Eat a Minimum of 5 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Each Day
The vast amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals all work together in a way that we can never bottle up into a capsule. National guidelines recommend we eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables each day for optimal health, but we want to take it a step further and try to get more if we can. (7)
Take a Comprehensive Prenatal Vitamin
Not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. There are several nutrients that you need to look for specifically. Check out my other blog post on the 5 Nutrients That Should Be In Your Prenatal.
Stop Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
For women that are trying to conceive in general, alcohol should be avoided. For women that have had a previous miscarriage, caffeine consumption should also be avoided.
Remember, this is a time to give yourself some grace. If you are in a mental and emotional space where eating leftover cold pizza is all you can handle at the moment, that is ok. Give yourself some time and space to process your loss, then you can take some time to focus on nourishment.
If you are interested in learning more about fertility, prenatal, or postpartum nutrition, be sure to check out more from Alex Gardner at www.alexgardnernutrition.com