Gluten and Infertility
I have struggled in my pregnancies in life. I am one of MANY women out there who have struggled in one form or another with infertility. My journey began back in 2003. I found out I was pregnant in the summertime and didnt think of anything but when my baby was to be born… until 7 weeks later, I started bleeding. The doctor at the ER ran some tests, did ultrasounds and told me that I wasnt miscarrying. However, it became apparent as the bleeding only got worse days later and I began to pass small clots, that he was wrong. I was traveling in Seattle at the time & in and out of an ER that happened to be across the street from where I was staying. This miscarriage was a terrible experience, the worst one I had, for many reasons. I thought possibly I had caused the miscarriage bc I had done too much, been too stressed, or what not. I learned a couple years later that I probably didnt “cause” the miscarriage.
I found out I was pregnant for a second time in December of 2005. We were stoked and sought a midwife right away. We started all the planning and told EVERYONE about the good news! 11 weeks later, I miscarried again. This miscarriage was the most interesting of my miscarriages. I labored with this one. In my last one, I felt a few minor cramps. With this miscarriage I woke up in the middle of the night with full on contractions and went through a mini-labor for about 4 hours. When all the pain had stopped I realized why I was in so much pain. The bag of waters never broke and I delivered a small “water balloon” (about the size of my hand) with my child still attached (by a tiny umbilical cord) to the placenta on the inside! It was an amazing sight. Tucker (my husband) and I cried in joy as we stared at this little baby of ours. It was really amazing to get to see the child, instead of just knowing there was one, and now there is not. I had bled for 2 weeks before that miscarriage and had accepted that this was my fate, so at the time of seeing that baby, I was not in shock at all. I had made my peace.
We waited a couple months and decided that we would try again to get pregnant. I again, had thought that maybe circumstances in some fashion had let to the previous miscarriage. I had not accepted that this was going to be an ongoing battle at that point. In April we found out that we were pregnant again! We were extra careful and thought for SURE I wouldn’t miscarry for a 3rd time! Unfortunately at 8 weeks along, I began to bleed, yet again. I rushed over to a specialist in hopes that he could stop the unavoidable with something, anything! He had me take an ultrasound and told me that bc he could see a heartbeat my chances of miscarrying were less than 10%. I wanted to laugh, I had gone through TWO of these with heartbeats! That statistic wasn’t cutting it for me! He put me on progesterone suppositories and commented on how low my progesterone levels were. A week later, I passed the tissue and had once again miscarried. When I went back to the specialist he didn’t even comment on the empty ultrasound reading, or offer condolences of any kind. He called me “sweetie” and moved on as if nothing had happened. I had now had THREE miscarriages in a row and he didn’t think that was a problem?!
Tucker and I decided at that point that we would seek help from a different specialist in town, Dr. Silverstein. We made an appointment and started the preliminary testing. We made the decision to not get pregnant until the Fall. We booked a vacation to Thailand and started on our way to healing from the crazy months that we had just endured. After a LONG list of tests- both Tucker and I checked out perfect! So what the heck was causing these miscarriages… no one knew.
Well- much to our surprise in July (just one month before we were supposed to leave for Thailand) we found out that OOPSE our “waiting” didn’t last as long as we had hoped and we were now pregnant for a 3rd time within 8 months and 4 times total! Dr. Silverstein told us that we had a 60% (plus) chance of carrying this baby to term. We decided to not try anything, to not go that “extra mile” with any intervention and just to leave for our vacation and if God wanted to send this baby home to be with Him too- then that was alright with us. We left a few weeks later for Thailand.
We hadn’t been on the ground in Bangkok an hour- when the dreads of morning sickness hit me like a semi. I spent my entire vacation in Thailand sick as a dog! I threw up nearly every day… ooo and let me tell you- morning sickness is SO much worse when you’re not in your own country! 2 weeks later we got home and I was STILL pregnant & SICK! I carried that baby to term. She is my beautiful daughter Addison Mae. She was born on March 23rd 2007 after a beautiful homebirth!
When Addie was 7 months old we decided that we would go ahead and stop “preventing” and see what happens with having another baby! Well, it didn’t take long and sure enough the next month we were pregnant! I was due in August and was so excited! One month later, as we were throwing a Christmas Party at our house, I made a terrible discovery. I was bleeding. Not again?!?! I thought to myself. Sure enough- we miscarried for a 4th time…
I had believed that I was just going to be “prone to miscarry” and that I was just one of those women that “miscarry 10 different times for 10 different reasons and Doctors wont ever know why!”
In February of 2008 we found out that we were pregnant again. We had developed the philosophy at this point that if it takes 3 miscarriages to have a baby on the 4th try, we would go through that again in order to expand our family. By this point we didn’t get the joyous response from friends and family that we had gotten after the first couple pregnancies, when announcing that we were pregnant agian. 6 pregnancies and 4 miscarriages will cause that! lol. But… we were excited and prepared for whatever the weeks ahead led to. Luckily for us- we didnt have to go through 3 miscarriages to get Thomas, my son. I was able to carry that pregnancy to term. Thomas was born on November 13th 2008!
So- what does all of this have to do with the title of this entry? Well… in November 2009 a friend of mine, who also struggled in her fertility and pregnancies started seeing a nutritionist in Denver. He was helping her regulate her body so that she could prevent hyperemisis the next time she gets pregnant. Dr. P was working with her to be able to conceive with ease, instead of it taking months and months of checking body fluids and temperature. She was having amazing success in her daily life and convinced me to get seen by him.
I started seeing Dr. P on Dec 2nd and he has changed my life! One of the first things I told him was that I have had 4 miscarriages. He knew right away where to begin and how to revamp my diet and lifestyle to get my body functioning as it was meant to, naturally! He allergy tested me & found out that I have a gluten allergy & am gluten intolerant. In going through this experience my daily life has changed immensely. I am not nearly as moody. My periods are more stable and I am more level emotionally. I am happier in my life. Im not having gas, headaches or stomach problems anymore. These are things that I learned to live with, seemingly minor irritants in life that I thought were just normal. I learned from this, that they are not. Having gas is not normal. Headaches arent normal. Moodiness and hormonal imbalances are NOT normal! Who wouldve thought!?!
I began to learn more about how what you eat really does affect who you are and how your body functions! I began learning so much about how a Gluten Allergy is so often the missing link to infertility problems in women. It can cause irregular periods, it can cause infertility in being able to get pregnant at all, it can mess up your bodies ability to ovulate correctly, and it is a BIG culprit for recurring “undiagnosed” miscarriages!
Well… drum roll please… Tucker and I just found out that we are pregnant again! We are trying for carrying a third pregnancy to term! It is still early. I am coming up on 6 weeks. I have been feeling only SLIGHTLY sick, which makes me nervous bc terrible morning sickness has been a big key factor in the pregnancies I have been able to carry to term. I have told Dr. P. and he feels really confident that because I have been gluten free for 2 months I may not miscarry anymore! He ALSO doesn’t think that I will get nearly as sick because my body is not in “fight mode” all the time. So… even though it is early I am excited to see where these next few weeks take us; to see if I can be a living statistic to the vast amount of information out there linking an undiagnosed gluten allergy to infertility issues!
Please check back- I will keep an update on this blog about how it goes! I am only posting this on here! I haven’t told anyone on FB or Twitter yet about our good news!
Please take some time to browse these websites below about Gluten and Infertility. I will posted a few highlights here for you to read.
Thanks you for reading my blog! PLEASE leave me a comment! Its the only way I really know if anyone visits my site. I will comment back. I appreciate it!
Gluten & Infertility
-www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1507.asp -Hidden Gluten Sensitivity a Leading Cause of Infertility
“That bagel you had for breakfast just might be one of the reasons you haven’t been able to get pregnant. A hidden sensitivity to a protein in grain can cause infertility, depression, diarrhea, constipation, anemia and fatigue. This protein, called gluten, is present in wheat, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, kamut, and other grains. Gluten sensitivity is related to celiac disease, but it is much more common.”
-www.celiac.com/articles/643/1/Fertility-and-Pregnancy-in-Women-with-Celiac-Disease-by-Michelle-Melin-Rogovin/Page1.html – Fertility and Pregnancy in Women with Celiac Disease.
“In a case-control study that looked at the effect of the gluten-free diet on pregnancy and lactation, investigators learned that women with celiac disease who were not on the gluten-free diet experienced pregnancy loss at a rate of 17.8%, compared to 2.4% of women with celiac disease who were on the gluten-free diet.”
-www.glutenfreefox.com/articles/gluten-and-infertility.html -Gluten and Infertility: Can Gluten-Free Cure or Prevent Infertility?
“A study of women with celiac disease demonstrated that those on gluten-containing diets had shorter fertile periods, greater spontaneous abortions and greater overall infertility compared to those on gluten-free diets. [Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology – “Coeliac Disease, Fertility and Pregnancy”]”
-www.prlog.org/10174836-gluten-the-infertility-culprit-many-are-unaware-of.html -Gluten: The Infertility Culprit Many Are Unaware of
“Gluten is a seemingly harmless food component. Found in all types of food, gluten causes damage to the intestines and ultimately infertility in those who have something called celiac disease. Only three percent of the people who have it, know it.”
-www.naturallygettingpregnant.com/fertility-blog/2008/11/20/infertility-culprit-gluten/ -Infertility Culprit: Gluten
“What does Celiac Disease Have to Do with Infertility?
A lot. In fact, the University of Chicago says, “Any individual who has experienced persistent miscarriage or infertility where a medical cause could not be found needs to be tested for celiac disease (2).” And they are not alone in their recommendation: The Wm. K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease recommends 16 situations and/or conditions for which celiac should be considered, one of which is: “unexplained infertility or miscarriage” (3).”
Here are a few more links to look at!
Oh and I could post a MILLION more!! Please check them out and let me know your thoughts!
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