Healing after a Miscarriage
This information is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Please seek appropriate advice from your health-care provider.
Miscarriage has been around since creation began, but that doesn't make it any easier to go through. I feel this is one of the most heart-rending experiences possible.
Why Miscarriages Happen
There are several theories of why miscarriages happen. One is that during the earliest days of cellular division the division goes wrong and begins to produce a completely non-viable cellular structure. This could include genes breaking off, replicating three or four times instead of two, the spinal cord (known at this early stage of development as the neural tube) not developing properly, and a multitude of other problems.
Maternal hormonal balance, failure of the fetus to implant properly or in a good location, a uterus or cervix that is not strong enough to bear the weight of a pregnancy, fragile capillaries in and around the uterus/placenta/cervix, or 'just because' can also be 'reasons' for pregnancies to not work out.
You Are Not Alone
Research indicates that about five percent of all miscarriages are healthy babies … but then how could they know this for sure? None of these statistics really make it any easier emotionally to go through a miscarriage. I know, since we had two miscarriages out of our nine pregnancies, both at times when our stress level was really high.
The latest statistics indicate that one in four first-time pregnancies ends in miscarriage, while as many as one in two pregnancies overall ends in loss.
These statistics become less encouraging when a woman reaches 35 years. Miscarriage rates increase to six out of ten pregnancies with the risk of genetic problems increasing geometrically instead of arithmetically.
Paternal age and health have also been found to be factors in genetic problems, but this has not been studied as thoroughly as maternal influences.
Really, when we look at what has to happen for conception to occur and for a healthy pregnancy to result, it is quite a miracle that any of us are here to propagate the species.
While we can do many things nutritionally to help build a strong pregnancy, there are no guarantees that a miscarriage will not happen. If it does happen there are several things grieving moms and dads can do to speed the physical healing and support emotional healing.
What to Do After the Miscarriage
The mother's health may need some rebuilding. Miscarriage is often as hard physically as pregnancy, labour, and delivery combined, and then there is the grief to work through which makes it all the harder.
Overall, vitamins and minerals can play a large part in rebuilding the mother's health. I recommend a prenatal vitamin that is as complete as possible and devoid of fillers and low-quality ingredients.
Quite often, depending on Mom's diet, extra minerals are needed. My preference is to use specific herbal blends that provide easy to assimilate, naturally chelated minerals. Mom should continue taking it at least until her periods have started again. Sometimes extra magnesium is needed. These natural sources of calcium and magnesium are necessary for cellular repair and maintenance, and for proper nerve function. Some people find that taking these nutrients before going to bed enhances sleep, and since sleep is often somewhat disturbed after miscarriage, these nutrients may be a good idea.
Rebuild the Blood
Since blood loss can be very heavy during a miscarriage, it may be a good idea to do things to rebuild the blood. Blood volume can be rebuilt by increasing fluid intake, and blood quality (red blood cell count) can be enhanced by consuming chlorophyll-rich supplements. Chlorophyll is a rich plant source of iron that is easy to assimilate.
After such a heavy emotional and physical experience the immune system can sometimes buckle under. Supplements like Zambroza (Canada) and Thai G (USA) that are high in anti-oxidants and immune-supporting nutrients may easily be added to a herbal program.
Herbs to Use After a Miscarriage
There are some really good herbs to use to help strengthen the reproductive organs and get the hormones back on track. The most well-known one is Red Raspberry Leaves. This contains large amounts of calcium, iron, and other nutrients needed for pregnancy and good health. It has a relaxing and strengthening effect on the uterus. I also like the herb Partridge Berry (Michella Repens) which is an important part of a herbal formula I use a lot of, and has been used historically for its strengthening, toning, and hormone balancing effects.
Most women who have miscarried will tell you they feel depleted physically, mentally, and emotionally. Well-chosen supplements, along with excellent food choices, can be a big part of initiating a powerful healing and recovery.
Vitamins to Use After a Miscarriage
As a support to the nervous system, which to a large extent controls our emotional resiliency, it is usually wise to add a good B complex with some extra B6. The B6 can enhance sleep and the ability to cope with stress, while the B complex enhances the functioning of the rest of the nervous system. Certainly, time does help to distance the hurt.
Flower Essences to Use After a Miscarriage
Most women find that the physical heals much more quickly than the emotional after a miscarriage. This is a good time to use Bach Flower Remedies to help speed emotional healing. Bach Flower Remedies are homeopathic preparations of flower petals that can help to open up the energy of the body and mind so emotional healing can happen more quickly and completely. Bach Flower Remedies need to be formulated specifically for each person since everyone has different issues that need to be worked through.
Emotions After a Miscarriage
It is necessary for most women, their partners, and even their other children to grieve this loss, and a part of the grieving process may be depression. If this depression lasts more than a few months, and/or becomes debilitating, it would be wise to seek help. Sadness after the loss of a child can last a long time, but serious, deep depression should not be allowed to hang on for too long.
Other symptoms of grieving can be anger, irritability, sleep disruption, and appetite suppression.
I want to note here that miscarriage is a different kind of loss. When a parent dies we are encouraged to take a week off work to deal with a part of the grieving process. Parents are supposed to die before their children and because it seems like that’s the way it’s supposed to be we adjust to it fairly well with time, and we have lots of support since many of our peers have already experienced it.
When a child dies we are often encouraged to take longer off work. There may be less support since children usually outlive their parents, so there may be fewer people with experience for us to lean on, although there may be more sympathy.
Miscarriage, though, is an entirely different situation. In a first-trimester loss, often the mom-to-be hasn’t told anyone she was pregnant - so when she miscarries there may be no one to support her while she grieves the loss of her child and of her hopes and dreams for that child. During one of our miscarriages, as I was being wheeled into the operating room for a D&C, a young nurse, who I was sure was not old enough to have sex, patted my hand as I cried, and she said “There, there, Mrs. Cobb, you can have another baby!” I truly hope she never said that to anyone else ever! A later pregnancy loss is equally devastating. A parent's hopes and dreams grow with the baby and everyone knows about the pregnancy. When a loss happens people often just don’t know how to respond. The best response, in my opinion, is “I’m sorry for your loss.” If you have something specific you’d like to offer as support, then offer it - whether it’s providing a meal for the family, providing babysitting so Mom can attend to medical appointments, setting up an at-home massage for Mom, or just arranging to visit. If you’ve never lost a pregnancy at the same stage the grieving mom did, then please don’t say “I know how you feel.”
It's Okay to Ask for Help
It is very important for moms who miscarry to ask trusted friends, family, and professionals to step in and support them. It’s equally important for moms who miscarry to accept help when offered, if it is appropriate. No woman should ever have to heal her broken heart alone after a miscarriage.
Remember that a mother who has lost a baby will probably need special treatment for at least a while as she grieves her loss. She may be well-recovered in a month, or it make take her the better part of a year. The physical upset and the emotional imbalance may require kid leather glove care with special considerations. Pampering is certainly an acceptable gift to offer. Miscarriage, like any other significant loss in one's life, takes time to work through.
For more information about the products mentioned in this article, or to order them at a discount, use this link or call Judith Cobb at 403-850-5503.
If you've suffered one or more miscarriages and would like herbal support during healing or for your next pregnancy, use this link to schedule an appointment with Judith Cobb.