Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have unveiled new evidence to suggest more than a quarter of first-time miscarriages could be prevented via a combination of lifestyle changes.
The study – which was published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – analysed 91,427 women and identified the following common risk factors that can increase the chances of miscarriage:
- lifting more than 20kg (44lbs) each each day during pregnancy
- being overweight or underweight
- women beyond 30 who drink alcohol and work night shifts.
Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, senior researcher at the University of Copenhagen explained that the significance of the study lies in how it identifies lifestyle factors as the reason for miscarriages rather than more specific factors such as pharmaceutical drugs.
In the UK, more than one in seven pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but the study specifically focused on pregnancies in the Danish National Birth Cohort between 1996 and 2002. It found 3.5% of the women had miscarried.
The study went on to confirm the advice offered in the UK given to expectant mothers on how to have a healthy pregnancy and prevent miscarrying, such as avoiding alcohol and not smoking.
The NHS also recommends the following lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of miscarriage:
- eating a healthy, balanced diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- making attempts to avoid certain infections during pregnancy, such as rubella
- getting treatment for specific health conditions that can lead to miscarriage, such as Antiphospholipid syndrome and a weakened cervix.