If you follow me on social media, you may already know that after my miscarriage, I was pretty adamant about seeking answers when it came to my health and diet after miscarriage.
I am well aware that a common cause of miscarriage is Fetal Chromosomal Abnormalities, which we can do nothing about.
However, I also knew that I had some existing “smoke alarms” when it came to my health that I never addressed before because they weren’t severe or disrupting my life much.
But when I lost my first baby, I immediately began to analyze what may have been going on with my health and hormones, and remembered those smoke alarms.
Those smoke alarms include cystic acne, tinea versicolor on my back (discoloration due to overactive yeast on the skin), and regular bloating.
Immediately I wondered if these could be linked to hormonal, gut health, or both.
Since the traditional healthcare system typically doesn’t test and insurance doesn’t cover until you have 3 miscarriages (which is baloney!), a friend recommended that I see a functional medicine doctor to do a full blood panel and hormone check.
What is Functional Medicine and How Does It Work?
A functional medicine doctor is a traditional doctor that got additional training in functional medicine, and the goal is to find the root cause rather than only treat symptoms. They describe themselves as scientists and physiologists.
What I like about functional medicine is that they are willing to treat when necessary (they’re not totally against Western medicine) but their goal is to identify the root cause and make natural changes (such as diet or lifestyle changes) to correct the problem going forward.
Anyway, I found one that came highly recommended in the Indy area, Dr. CJ Pabla, and set up an initial consultation.
Dr. Pabla explained their process to me, and I realized I wasn’t going to have an answer overnight but I also really appreciated how thorough it would be.
Basically, they asked a million questions to get a better understanding of my symptoms, then they’d put together a preliminary action plan (supplements, diet changes, etc.) based on those symptoms and what they think is going on, order a ton of blood work and genetic testing, analyze those results, and then make adjustments to the plan based on my physiology.
The Causes of Miscarriage
Dr. Pabla also mapped out the 11 causes of miscarriage on a diagram for me. I was blown away and I remember walking out of the office in tears, feeling understood and not at all crazy for wanting to dig into what may have gone wrong more.
I’ve included a graphic with the causes he listed below:
After answering a ton of questions, and after some initial blood work that showed I had a gluten allergy, Dr. Pabla put together a four page action plan that began with a summary of what he believed was going on. My diet after miscarriage was about to change entirely.
“You have a history of miscarriage and a few associated chronic issues that need to be addressed, such as IBS symptoms, headaches, chronic sinus issues, acne and Tinea Versicolor, mild fatigue, and mood swings.
Many of your above symptoms can be linked to gut dysbiosis. This is the loss in diversity of healthy bacteria and the overgrowth of pathogenic organisms such as Candida (yeast), viruses, parasites, and bad bacteria.
This process can result in an over-activation of the immune system, excessive histamine production and the release of toxins from your GI tract (Leaky Gut Syndrome) causing inhibition of many enzymatic pathways.
Over-activation of the immune system can result in release of cytokines (chemical messengers produced by white blood cells), which lead to further injury of vital cell structures and can also lead to autoimmune issues.
Much of our immune system is centered around our GI tract so chronic inflammation in your gut will over-activate your immune system leading to many symptoms and possible disease.
This could have been developed from inflammatory foods (gluten and dairy), environmental toxins (pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, plastics, and other phenolic compounds) or endogenous toxins (made by our own body such as cortisol, histamine, dopamine, etc.).
As mentioned above, I think you also have underlying food allergies that not only contributed to your gut dysbiosis but could have been one of the root causes of your acne, Tinea Versicolor, and sinus problems.
Inflammatory foods can be both food allergies and food intolerances/sensitivities. We will address each of these with your blood work.
This is phase 01 of your action plan. In this first phase, we will just eliminate bothersome foods. This will be the start of your diet after miscarriage changes. During the later phases, once we receive your test results back, we will suggest a long-term food plan and other lifestyle modifications.
The Action Plan
The action plan was extensive but the most crucial steps I’ve taken action on, beginning with the elimination diet. They are as follows:
- Remove Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Refined White Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Alcohol
- Limit Eggs, Vinegar/Fermented Foods, and Caffeine (I drink decaf coffee only now)
- Consume Omega 3 fats, lean proteins, and minimal carbohydrates
- Drink 70 ounces of Water Every Day with fresh squeezed organic lemon juice in the morning (at least 30 minutes before consuming breakfast to detox the body)
- Take the PureGenomics Multivitamin once daily
- This has the methylated form of folic acid in case I have the MTHFR mutation, which is a genetic mutation that doesn’t break down folic acid properly. 400 mcg is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
- Take Ultraflora Probiotics daily
- Buy Organic Meat and Produce Based on the Dirty Dozen / Clean 15 Chart (see below)
When shopping organic, you don’t need to buy anything labeled “organic” that falls under the Clean 15 list. Otherwise, you’re just paying for the label. On the flip side, you’ll want to make sure that you buy everything that is on the Dirty Dozen list organic.
(Image found on OrganicDieta.com)
Product Swaps I’ve Made
Dr. Pabla explained that when we are exposed to heavy metals in our water, or high levels of toxins in our environments and products, those toxins can create xenoestrogens in our bodies. These essentially mimic estrogen, which tells our body we have enough estrogen even if we do not, which affects hormone production.
This is my very basic explanation based on my understanding but all I know is that it’s definitely not good, especially for women pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
While I’m still in the process of changing everything in my diet after miscarriage, I’ve made a lot of progress toward a clean lifestyle.
So far, I’ve…
- Swapped out our dish soaps and hand soaps for Mrs. Meyers non-toxic soaps
- Opted for for chemical free shampoo, conditioner, and body wash options like Monat and Woman to Woman Naturals
- Switched to non-toxic deodorant – I’ve tried many and my absolute favorite is Primally Pure because I’ve found it works best and smells best
- Changed my skincare products to a medical grade, non-toxic line that my functional medicine doctor offers called Zo
- Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher Pods
And I’m still in the process of…
- Finding a non-toxic make-up line that I like (yes, I know Arbonne is an option, please don’t try to sell it to me)
- Getting my hubby on board with his products HAHA
- To be fair, he DID try a non-toxic mens deodorant for a short period of time
The Goal: Optimize My Health Going Forward
While we can speculate possible links, it’s not likely that we’ll ever know the exact cause of my miscarriage. However, we CAN optimize ] health going forward, and this has been Doctor Pabla’s goal from the beginning.
We’re still waiting on all of my test results to come back but getting this information and making these changes haven’t been easy but I’ve noticed how much better I’ve felt in just 4 weeks and now I’ve become such a champion of advocating for your own health, even if that means having to do something less traditional.
Don’t be afraid to seek answers and clarity if you feel like something is off or could be wrong.
To close, I want to share something my mom said when I started this journey because I think it was full of wisdom, and has helped me avoid obsessing over or worrying about what could happen based on the information I get.
And I believe that is hands down the truth.
Seek answers. Advocate for your health. But just keep in mind that God is bigger than anything you might find.
I’ve been living ‘unconventionally clean’ for a year now and my energy levels are so much more improved (I never had fatigue issues but the difference is still noticeable!). I don’t get sugar dips every two hours – I used to get the shakes with low blood sugar and need a snack. I still have healthy snacks but it’s not needed in the same way. And my husband’s eczema has dramatically improved too. It’s tough to change everything and create new eating and buying habits at first, but so worth it in the long run.
Wow, that’s incredible! Thanks so much for sharing, Laura!
Jordan! I can’t tell you how much this has resonated with me. It’s so easy to get swamped in a sea of information overload but you’ve done a great job breaking it down. A lot of this is confirmation for me and your mama’s reminder is GREATLY appreciated! Thank you <3 Praying for you.
So glad to hear this encouraged you, Sherina!
Thank-you for sharing your journey Jordan, I can relate and feel that I am on a similar one! I’m encouraged by your faith and pray for grace as you make these changes!
I had to do some of this recently after getting off the pill and being diagnosed with insulin resistant PCOS. Girl the struggle is real! I’ve found some really good products though and would be more than happy to email you a more comprehensive list! It took months of trial and error to find products I like–especially makeup. I’ve found CoverFx has a good foundation, concealer, and powder I like better than Beautycounter. Burt’s bee’s has amazing cream and powder blushes that aren’t super expensive. Food can also be a struggle for gut health–I also have celiac disease so gluten is a no go for me too. Even though it can be a frustrating journey, know you’re not in it alone! Good luck with your health journey and I’ll be sending lots of prayers your way!
Hi Jordan <3
Thank you for being such a strong and positive voice in your circumstances. So many women experience the same things but because it isn't mainstream to discuss they are left feeling alone.
I have been on this journey you've started for two years now. My eyes were opened to the chemicals I was putting in my body and how those were having serious effects on my hormones. I have SO MUCH I have learned and hope you read this and can spread the knowledge.
1. Check the EWG's Skin Deep database before purchasing skincare/makeup products. I go for products rated 1-2 and sometimes 3 (like my foundation– Crunchi brand)
2. Check the EWG's regular website for household item safety. I have started using Branch Basics for cleaning products.
3. Get colonics!! Find a good one in your area (or come to the DC area and go to LBN Colon Care– Mylene is AMAZING). Don't knock it till you try it 🙂 My nutritionist has me on a detox protocol for some gut infections I have and going to get colonics has helped me not feel like crap.
4. Check your water!! We moved and I noticed our water smelled funny (smell your water compared to bottled water). We had a water test done and found some really bad stuff lurking in there. Even though we weren't drinking it your skin still absorbs the chemicals in it when you wash your face, shower, brush your teeth. We just had a whole house filter installed (Westinghouse, but Aquasana and PureEffects are great too)
5. FOOD! I have been DFGF for 1.5 years and am hoping to start a DFGF foodie blog…it is in the works. Definitely try a round of Whole30 or AIP and do the reintroduction phase correctly (it is hard but so worth it) so you can learn of any other sensitivities
6. Husbands…It has taken a while to get my husband on board with EVERYTHING. He has been supportive of course, but making changes to his own life has been slow going. His diet is still not wonderful (chips and gummies are a regular staple for him), but he's gotten a lot better and has noticed feeling better. He's a stinky guy and I have a strong nose, so he has started using the deodorant I make that is non-toxic and actually works so much better than store bought.
Anyways, that was a lot, but I've been making these changes over the past couple years. Start with one thing, get it under your belt, then add another. It is so easy to get overwhelmed, but I am so grateful God has slowly introduced me to each of these. Ultimately God is in control and is bigger than our circumstance, but as we know more we should do better.
Love you and are here if you have any questions about these things.
As a registered dietitian, I would caution you from making so many drastic dietary changes, especially if your results regarding food allergies were from IgG testing. Unfortunately IgG blood tests cannot accurately identify food sensitivities or allergies and it can lead to individuals cutting out whole food groups from their diet. Instead, this test usually flags foods that you regularly eat as your body produces IgG antibodies after eating those foods. It is important that all people, especially women trying to get pregnant, consume adequate carbohydrates. This could come from fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, dairy, etc. Glucose is the main fuel source for the brain and central nervous system. For a healthy individual, we want 45-65% of calories to be from carbohydrates. It will be important to consume adequate carbohydrates (along with fat and protein too) in order to maintain your weight or even gain weight when trying to become pregnant.
I have to be honest, there are some red flags from what this physician is telling you. For example, drinking 70 ounces of water per day is great, but ‘drinking it 30 minutes before consuming breakfast to “dextox” the body?’ Luckily our liver and kidneys do a great job of eliminating toxins from our bodies. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to indicate that organic meat or produce would be more favorable or healthier than non-organic products. However, as a consumer, you can choose what you prefer.
With that said, I agree with taking a daily probiotic and a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin containing methylated folic acid. I know your blog reaches a lot of women, and I would worry that others may follow advice that could do more harm than good. I commend you for trying to find the root of the cause for your miscarriage and hope you are able to find the answers you’re looking for related to underlying health issues. I wish you the best on your journey!
I appreciate this post so much. I remember seeing your miscarriage post as I was pregnant and I thought “I can’t imagine.” Little did I know only a short time later I’d miscarry at 15 weeks pregnant. We decided to do the chromosomal testing and we learned our little girl had no abnormalities. Good news, but it has left me with a lot of guilt and so many questions. After working with a functional md, I learned I am allergic to gluten and after reading your post, It makes me feel less crazy that I have thought maybe it could have been tied to that. Your post has inspired me to keep trying to eliminate to keep a healthy gut. It’s SO HARD! Thanks for sharing your journey. Praying for you.
This is a beautifully written blog post that also made me think about some things. I have many of the same underlying conditions such as IBS that is something I need to think about when I get ready to plan on having children in the future so thank you for the amazing information. These are changes that I can make now to help me in the future. Making sure that I have a “healthy gut” is something I am struggling with daily.
Thank you for sharing your journey, sending prayers!
Thank you Jordan for sharing! It’s such a beautiful thing to have friends who go through these types of things together!
I had a parasite, fatigue issues, gut issues, and hormone issues (all linked together) and wow it’s been a journey that started two years ago and I’m still working on healing my body from all the effects! I’m so much better, went clean and now, like you, am so passionate about it because I know so much better now the importance of food, rest, environment, and physical body care! Especially comforting that long term I’m helping my body be so much healthier!
God is awesome and so so faithful through it all!
PS. You probably already know about these but in case not and you’re still trying to find suggestions, these makeup companies are good clean ones overall: 100% Pure, Beauty Counter & Young Living. If that helps you at all! I know it can be a process of switching everything over!
Hi Jordan! I just began reading your book Own Your Everyday! I want to thank you for sharing this information about your gluten allergy and miscarriage. I have a suspected gluten allergy also and I’ve been on a gluten free diet now since February. I noticed my stomach would hurt after eating things that contained a lot of bread. I had a kidney transplant last year because I had a genetic form of kidney disease. According to some things I’ve seen from doctors online, gluten may have actually been the cause of my kidney disease. My boyfriend plans to propose to me sometime next year and if it’s safe enough for us to have kids, that’s our plan. Your information was very helpful to me. I had no idea that gut issues could have such a big effect on pregnancy. I’m sorry for your loss
but I’m happy that with God’s help and the help of the doctor things are figured out and you can now live a healthier life. ❤😊