Top Tips On How To Recover And Refuel Your Body After Miscarriage
The emotional and physical recovery from a miscarriage is incredibly important and not something that should be taken lightly.
Granted, there are some women who are lucky enough to get pregnant the next cycle after a miscarriage and have no further problems, but for most women, it's advisable to wait at least two menstrual cycles before trying to conceive again.
The reason for this, is that there are a number of important nutrients that need to be replenished after a miscarriage. It might seem unlikely that nutrient depletion would be possible if a woman had only been pregnant for a short amount of time. However, some of the most crucial stages of embryo growth, such as the development of the central nervous system and the brain are taking place before a woman even knows she's pregnant, and this puts a drain on the body’s resources.
Whether a woman was pregnant for six weeks or six months, it's advisable to take the time after a miscarriage to recover optimal health, not least because proper nutrient intake may reduce the risk of another miscarriage occurring in the future.
Nutrients that may be depleted after miscarriage
Foods rich in Iron are crucial to recovery, due to the inevitable blood loss that happens with miscarriage. If you experience very heavy bleeding or haemorrhage after a miscarriage and have symptoms of dizziness or weakness, then an iron supplement may be needed for a couple of weeks to replace your iron stores quickly, as dietary sources may not be sufficient.
Vitamin D has been linked to miscarriage, so it's very important to get tested to see if there is a deficiency of this vital nutrient. Remember, dietary sources of this nutrient won’t be anywhere near enough to correct a deficiency, so a high-quality supplement, along with some sun exposure (if possible) would be the best way to replenish levels effectively.
Essential fatty acids
As the name suggests, these vital fats are required for the developing embryo brain during the first trimester. DHA and EPA fats (with an emphasis on the former) are used in large quantities by the developing embryo. The term ‘baby brain’, which is a term that has become synonymous with a woman’s forgetfulness or lack of ability to concentrate while pregnant, may be due to a deficiency of these essential fats.
Eating oily fish (mackerel, salmon, anchovies) along with avocados, coconut oil, chia/flax seeds and walnuts, will help to replenish your stores. If those foods don’t appeal, then supplement with a high quality, third party independently tested EPA/DHA supplement for at least a month after a miscarriage.
Folate and other B vitamins
The importance of Folate for a healthy pregnancy is widely known, but it's equally crucial in the weeks after a miscarriage has taken place. Whole-grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables are all good sources of Folate, as well as providing the other B-group vitamins, which support the function of Folate within the body.
While it is tempting and completely understandable to want to binge on junk food after having a miscarriage, try to limit yourself to one ‘blow-out’ day. By all means, cry, scream, bury your sorrows in a tub of ice-cream, but aim to start afresh the next day.
If you’re in no mood to cook, then buy the healthiest ready-to-go meals you can find, or ask your someone to support you by cooking nourishing meals while you recover.
It’s never easy, but it’s important to be kind to yourself after a miscarriage and take the recovery process at your own pace. After a few weeks, you may not feel 100% emotionally, but at least being in good physical health will support you as you go through the grieving process.
Jessica Bourke is a Natural Fertility Specialist, who deals with all aspects of reproductive health. Her clinical approach is based on evidence-based nutrition protocols, acupuncture treatment, and she also offers functional lab tests to support you on your journey to parenthood. She's a regular contributor to Irish media and co-author of the 'Guilt Free Gourmet' cook-book. As a Mum of two, Jessica understands the challenges of pregnancy and parenting. For more, visit jessicabourke.com.