Among the most heartbreaking results of the MTHFR anomaly is the increase in the risk of stillbirths and early spontaneous abortion.
What are stillbirth and early spontaneous abortion?
A stillbirth occurs when a baby dies of natural causes after the 20th week of pregnancy. Stillbirths may be caused by infections in the womb, placental rupture, chromosomal abnormalities or physical problems. Many times doctors cannot tell what causes a stillbirth. Early spontaneous abortion is medical-speak for a miscarriage. A miscarriage occurs when a baby dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
What is the connection between MTHFR and stillbirths or miscarriage?
Research is ongoing into why MTHFR increases the risk of stillbirths and miscarriages. With modern medicine and better prenatal care, stillbirths are becoming less and less common. In the United States less than 1 in 115 pregnancies will result in a stillbirth. Miscarriages are more common than stillbirths, but still happen less often than they did in the past.
With stillbirths and miscarriages becoming less common, it is rare for a woman to have more than one stillbirth and multiple miscarriages are not common. Doctors and researchers have looked for reasons why some women continue to have multiple miscarriages and stillbirths. They found one answer in MTHFR. Studies have found that the majority of women who have multiple miscarriages have at least one copy (and often 2 copies) of the 677 MTHFR anomaly.
I’ve had a miscarriage, should I get tested for MTHFR?
If you’ve only had one miscarriage, it was in the first trimester and you are generally healthy, you probably don’t need to worry about getting tested for MTHFR anomalies. If you have some of the other health problems that MTHFR causes, if you have had multiple miscarriages, or if you have a stillbirth and the doctors can’t tell why, you should probably talk with your doctor about getting tested for an MTHFR anomaly.
I have MTHFR, what can I do to prevent a miscarriage?
A recent study found that taking folic acid reduced the risk of miscarriage for women who have MTHFR anomalies. You might also try eating foods like leafy vegetables that are naturally high in folate nutrients.