Healing After a Miscarriage

by Judith G. Cobb, MH, CI, NCP

This article is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant for educational purposes only. Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health, and Nature’s Sunshine Products accept no responsibility for results you get, whether good or bad, from using this information. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

Note: More information about the products mentioned can be found at the end of the article.

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.

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.

couple grieving after miscarriageThis 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.

Research indicates that about five percent of all miscarriages are healthy babies … but then, 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 high already.

The latest statistics indicate that one in four first-time pregnancies/conceptions ends in miscarriage, while as many as one in two pregnancies overall ends in loss. These statistics become less encouraging when a woman reaches age 35, when 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.

I have to think these statistics are skewed a little, as I’ve never seen a study done that looked at outcomes for couples who had superior nutrition and optimally healthy lifestyles as compared to couples who live on the ‘twinkies and coca-cola diet.’

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 a grieving mom can do to speed the physical and emotional healing.

Physical Healing after Miscarriage

The mother’s physical health may need some serious rebuilding. Miscarriage is often as hard physically as pregnancy, labour, and delivery combined.

Overall, vitamins and minerals can play a large part in rebuilding the mother’s health. I often recommend using a good prenatal vitamin (Nu-Life makes an excellent one).

Quite often, depending on Mom’s diet, extra calcium is needed. My preference is to use Herbal CA. The high calcium and mineral content of this formula is easily assimilated. Mom should continue taking it at least until her periods have started again. If the Herbal CA slows down Mom’s bowels, you may need to top up her Magnesium Complex. 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, this may be a good idea.

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 using chlorophyll capsules. These contain highly concentrated plant chlorophyll, which is a rich plant source of iron in a liquid suspension. (The liquid suspension makes it easier to assimilate the iron.)

After such a heavy emotional and physical experience, the immune system can sometimes buckle under. Zambroza is an easy-to-take immune-enhancing juice. It can be taken straight, made into ice cubes and floated in a water bottle, or simply diluted in water.

Most women who have miscarried will tell you they feel depleted physically, mentally, and emotionally. These supplements, along with excellent food choices, can be a big part of initiating a powerful healing and recovery.

Miscarriage is a loss, needs to be respected as such, and can lead to depression. This can affect sleep patterns, and certainly does compromise the overall quality of life. It is necessary for most women, their partners, and even their children to grieve, and a part of the grieving process may be depression. If this depression lasts very long, 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.

As a support to the nervous system, which to a large extent controls our emotional resiliency, it is usually wise to add a good mid-potency Vitamin B complex, with some extra Vitamin B6. The B6 enhances sleep and the ability to cope with stress, while the Stress Formula enhances the functioning of the rest of the nervous system. Certainly, time does help to distance the hurt.

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. We also 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. Although there may be more sympathy, there may be less support, since children usually outlive their parents so there may be fewer people with experience for us to lean on.

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 her hopes and dreams for that child. During one of our miscarriages that was not going well, as I was being wheeled into the operating room for a D&C, a young nurse, who I was sure was not even old enough to have sex, patted my hand as I cried and 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. In my opinion, the best response 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, then please don’t say “I know how you feel.”

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.

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 Squaw Vine for its strengthening, toning, and hormone balancing effects.

Emotional Healing after 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 which can help to open up the energy of the body and mind so emotional healing can happen more quickly and completely. Bach Flower Remedies are most effective when they are combined and formulated specifically for each person since everyone has different issues that need to be worked through. (Many holistic practitioners custom blend flower remedies.)

Specifically, Star of Bethlehem can be used to ease the shock.

Cherry Plum can be used if one’s mind is racing out of control.

The deep despair, heartache, and depression can be eased by using Sweet Chestnut.

Readjusting to life without baby can be made easier by using Walnut.

Pine is used for feelings of guilt, the old ‘what did I do wrong to cause this?’

If there is a surrealistic feeling, like the miscarriage is just a bad dream, Clematis is the Bach flower to use.

Honeysuckle is used when one is living in the ‘what might have been’ and is unable to accept what has happened and move on.

Bitterness can be mediated with Willow, especially if there is resentment toward other women who are pregnant or have babies.

Heather can resolve chronic, mind-filling, prolonged thoughts about the miscarriage.

Holly is for anger, revenge, and jealousy towards women who have children.

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.

If you have had a miscarriage and would like holistic support in healing or to reduce your risk of suffering another miscarriage, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available.

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Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).

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