For most women, pregnancy is a wonderful experience filled with hope and anticipation. However, it does come with a risk that should not be ignored.
It is estimated that anywhere from 10% to 20% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage. In fact, some miscarriages occur before the woman even knows she’s pregnant.
Although there is no way to guarantee that you won’t miscarry if you become pregnant, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to significantly lower your risk.
Steps to Take Before You Become Pregnant
If you are planning to have a baby, here’s what you should do to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy:
- Eat well and exercise. Pre-conception nutrition is important when preparing for pregnancy, as your weight and what you eat can play a key role in your health and that of your developing fetus.
With that in mind, your diet should include whole grains (whole-wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal); a variety of colorful vegetables, legumes, and starchy vegetables; fruits or 100% fruit juice; fat-free or low-fat dairy products high in calcium; and low-fat or lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.
Also, research shows that being active with regular moderate exercise before and after you conceive will help you have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
- Maintain a normal weight for your height. Obesity can lead to complications during pregnancy that increase the risk of miscarriage. If you are overweight, lose the excess pounds before you conceive.
- If you smoke, stop. The use of tobacco products during pregnancy has been found to increase one’s risk of miscarriage.
- Limit your caffeine consumption. The rate of miscarriage has been found to be higher among those who drink two or more caffeinated beverages in the weeks leading up to conception.
Also, if you have miscarried before, be sure to get tested by your doctor and treated for any issues that may prevent you from having a healthy pregnancy.
Steps to Take During Your Pregnancy
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, you can reduce your risk of miscarriage by:
- Take prenatal vitamins, such as folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D, as directed by your obstetrician.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke, which, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, increases the risk of miscarriage by 11%.
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages, as studies show, drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk of a miscarriage by 19%.
- Refraining from the use of illicit drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana, can increase your miscarriage risk.
Miscarriages most commonly occur in the first trimester (up to 13 weeks) of pregnancy. Thereafter, your chances of miscarrying diminish. However, you can miscarry as late as 20 weeks, so it is important to follow the steps recommended above to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Gynecologist Near You in Syracuse, New York
The highly skilled medical professionals at University OB/GYN Associates provide annual gynecology exams as part of their commitment to helping women of all ages maintain their reproductive and sexual healthcare.
We offer comprehensive services in all facets of gynecology, including:
- Well women visits
- Breast exams and mammograms
- Menopause management
- Infertility evaluation
- Health screenings
- Contraceptive counseling and family planning
- Pap smears
- HPV screening and vaccine
In addition, we provide support and reassurance through every stage of your pregnancy. Our obstetricians, maternal and fetal medicine specialists, midwives, and nurses are available to answer all your questions about prenatal care, labor, and delivery, as well as post-partum care. We have multiple providers who are trained to handle multiple and high-risk pregnancies, as well as genetic testing and lactation, and consulting.
To learn more about our many gynecology and obstetrics services, call University OB/GYN Associates today at (315) 464-5162 to schedule an appointment.