Preparation for Miscarriage
Approximately 50% of all pregnancies end in in the first trimester, usually occurring before Mom knows she is pregnant. Usually, miscarriage is due to genetic factors of the parents and it is not necessarily considered abnormal as not all babies are meant to survive. Sometimes, the birth of the baby and placenta from a first trimester miscarriage may not occur until the second trimester, especially if a mother was taking progesterone or herbs to support low progesterone, where the placenta may continue growing for weeks following (sometimes, a placental pulse is heard). However, this doesn’t mean it was a second trimester miscarriage as it can just take weeks for the birth to occur. I hope to share some information here to help prevent miscarriage, treat suspected miscarriage, and be prepared if you or someone you know is having this kind of birth journey. Keep in mind, the only time we can really make a difference at home is when there are deficiencies in nutritional intake where herbs, food, and rest may stop labor from coming. Usually, these treatments won’t change the outcome. Start, always, with balanced nourishing and real whole-foods.
HERBS TO AVOID THAT INCREASE MISCARRIAGE RISKS
This list is not a complete list by any means at all, but just ones I often see being used:
- Licorice Root
- Oregano Oil
- Peppermint & Wintergreen Essential Oil
- Wormwood (herb or oil)
- Generally, any herb that causes hormonal or thyroid imbalances, acts as a steroid, or is otherwise teratogenic. Google is not your herbal wisdom source. Your MLM sales rep is also not your herbal wisdom source. Reference quality literature, wise elders, and trained healers to help guide you in selecting herbs that are appropriate for use in pregnancy
This includes any form of these herbs being used in any way.
SIGNS OF MISCARRIAGE or PRETERM LABOR
- Sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms or no common growth or changes being felt, particularly with early loss
- Cramping like the beginning of a period. This may be, or be mistaken for, a Urinary Tract Infection and may feel like back pain (UTI may cause miscarriage or preterm labor)
- Abdominal cramping
- Back ache, especially when combined with period-like vaginal aches and discharge changes
- Increase in vaginal discharge or fluid, especially if it is yellow-tinged or tinged with streaks of blood
- Bleeding of any kind. Especially bright red bleeding, but spotting or brown discharge indicates bleeding
Sometimes, there are not many symptoms. Red spotting or bleeding along with cramping is rarely something we can change. Miscarriage may start slow over a few days or weeks, or happen quickly. Keep in mind, though, that some early pregnancy bleeding is due to placenta site attachment or harmful herbs and supplement usage and may not be a miscarriage, but could lead to one. Sometimes these symptoms do not indicate miscarriage, but should still be assessed or addressed.
WHAT IS MISCARRIAGE LIKE?
Gestational age influences your experience quite a bit. Emotions will play a significant role in the intensity of labor that you may feel as well. You will feel crampy, at minimum, and typically will experience stronger contractions the longer the pregnancy continued.
You may want physical support, but at least give your midwife a phone call when things are beginning as labor can be intense at any stage, and you may want to have some items on hand such as herbs to manage bleeding, or to encourage contractions in some cases.
You will need to care for yourself in your postpartum days and can expect a physical postpartum recovery time of at least one week, but I would expect at least one day for each week you were pregnant. More for grieving. Get help with cooking, household chores, and taking care of older children. It is OK to feel sad no matter how early you experience a pregnancy loss, even if you believe this is not something we can or should control. It is also OK to not feel sad as well. Expressing your emotions and not holding them in, praying, journaling, or reaching out with questions usually helps with transitioning through this experiencing. We all experience these moments differently and there is no right way to feel in these times. Bereavement doulas, and places like StillBirthday.org have a wealth of information and support for loss at any age.
Rest, nourish yourself, and have people care for you while your body heals and your lochia (postpartum bleeding) subsides. You’re not likely to have any breastmilk prior to around 18 weeks gestation, but it may happen if the placenta continues to grow or you weren’t sure of the conception date. If you do have milk, consider donating to a baby in need if you feel called to do that. You can also use red sage tea, topical cabbage leaves, or topical diluted peppermint oil to reduce milk supply. There are also prescription medications that can reduce milk supply as well.
It is very common for early pregnancy loss to occur on the toilet without anticipation and you may not have had the chance to catch the baby and this may feel uneasy to you. If you expect a miscarriage, some women place netting fabric over the toilet each time they go to catch the baby or any tissue that may need assessed. Some women feel more comfortable voiding in a bathtub for these same reasons.
EARLY BIRTH KIT
While most miscarriage kits provide red raspberry leaf, and this is a nourishing herb to the uterus that can be wonderful to drink, this isn't the herb I'm going to reach for when I actually want to make a significant difference in a short amount of time. Similarly, stinging nettles is incredibly nourishing and helps the body to rebuild blood and reduce inflammation and can be used alongside any other herb to provide the body with missing nutrients, but I rarely use this is a medicinal herb for immediate action.
- For spotting in early pregnancy, to support a strong placenta bed (only if there is bleeding in pregnancy as this is a very high dose and should not be taken preventatively or continued throughout pregnancy) take 500 mg L-ascorbate Vitamin C with Flavanoids and 2000 IU D-Alpha Vitamin E daily. Consider taking this for 2-3 weeks, then taper off the dosage
- Drink 1 quart of water (1 cup only every 15 minutes) with some fresh berries, lemons, cucumber, and a pinch of mineral salt to improve hydration with signs of miscarriage. Nettle leaf, Catnip Leaf, and Spearmint can be mixed in equal parts and provide support as a tea in the same way.
- Eat a healthy quick whole 20 grams of protein immediately if you haven’t recently: eggs, tuna, beef jerky, protein bar or protein drink…etc.
- Add 2 cups of Epsom Salts or Magnesium Chloride Flakes to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes
- Make 1 quart, steeped for at least 20 minutes, of Catnip Tea and/or Cramp Bark Tea. Sip ¼ cup of this every 15 minutes until cramping subsides. Alternatively, you can take a tincture - ¼ dropperful every 15 minutes up to 2 hours at a time (with 3 hours between doses) of Mountain Meadow’s C&B Formula, or Wild Yam, or Wild Yam & Black Haw, or Catnip or Cramp Bark, or any blend of these herbs.
If you have questions, or know someone that might like support through a miscarriage, including herbs to help initiate contractions after a confirmed miscarriage, please reach out.