Can Starving Cause Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy: Surviving the Bump

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

Can starving cause miscarriage in early pregnancy? Many expectant mothers aren’t able to eat during early pregnancies. While others can’t hold anything down, others remain starved.

However, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial in early pregnancy, as food deprivation affects fetal development and increases the chance of miscarriage. Let’s consider potential risks associated with pregnancy and how to survive your bump.

Medical Disclaimer: The content here is for educational and informational purposes only. Hence, it doesn’t take the place of medical advice or doctor’s treatment. Expectant mothers should consult their doctor’s over any health concerns.

What Entails a Miscarriage?

A full-term pregnancy is approximately 40 weeks. Hence miscarriage is spontaneous pregnancy loss before 20 weeks. Unfortunately, about 20 percent of pregnancies don’t get to full term. 

However, it’s more likely miscarriage risks occur in early pregnancy before many women realize they are pregnant.

Causes and Risk Factors Associated with Miscarriage?

Getting pregnant is a big deal for most mothers. Hence a miscarriage is emotionally draining. Mothers must know that miscarriages often occur due to genetic abnormalities and other risk factors beyond their control.

These are the common causes of miscarriages

  • Genes or Chromosomes

This is the most cause of miscarriages; about 50% of miscarriages occur due to extra or missing chromosomes. These problems result from errors occurring when an embryo grows, hence not an issue inherited from parents.

Besides these causes, some risk factors increase the chances of miscarriage. This includes:

  • Age: Women above 35 have a higher risk of a miscarriage than those below this age.
  •  Weight: When a pregnant woman is over or underweight, it increases the risk of miscarriage.
  • Invasive Prenatal Tests: There are many tests that pregnant women undergo. The chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis slightly increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Previous miscarriage: It’s unfortunate that if you have previously experienced another miscarriage, you have a 25% chance of having another one.
  • Maternal Health Conditions: A mother’s health conditions increase the risk of miscarriage. This includes
  • Starvation
  • Infections
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Alcohol and smoking
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Uterine issues

Can Starving Cause Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy?

Is there a Link between Starvation and Miscarriage?Here is an overview of research studies examining the relationship:

According to Concern Worldwide USA, there is indeed a close relationship between maternal health and hunger or starvation. Low nutrition leads to anemia, hypertension, miscarriage and preterm delivery. Babies born have health issues and suffer malnutrition.

Another study conducted to show the relationship between dietary patterns and the risk of miscarriage shows that mothers who are well nourished are associated with low miscarriage risks

Mechanisms through which starvation may contribute to miscarriage risk

Here are some possible ways that starvation will impact your pregnancy:

Hormonal Imbalance: Getting inadequate nutrition will disrupts the hormonal balance, which is vital in supporting a pregnancy. This causes miscarriage, gestational diabetes, or even low and high birth weight.

Weakened Immune System: Starvation makes a pregnant woman vulnerable to many infections. Also, a weak immune system will attack a fetus and cause a miscarriage, as it sees it as a foreign object.

Placental Insufficiency: When a placenta malfunctions, it can’t supply enough nutrients and oxygen to baby from the mother’s bloodstream. This is vital support to the baby and lacking it means that a baby can’t survive.

Cell Damage: Oxidative stress arise when starvation triggers a stress response in the body. The result is hypoplasia which also disrupts placental function.

What’s the Effect of Starvation on Maternal Health and Fetal Development?

Effects on Expectant Mother

Starvation means that a mother lacks crucial nutrients such as iodine, iron, folate and zinc, thus leading to:

●     Anemia

●     Weak immune system

●     Weak bones

●     Preeclampsia

●     Hemorrhage

●     Miscarriage

To survive the bump, every expectant mother needs to have proper nourishment while following the doctor’s guidance during pregnancy.

Effects on Fetal Development

Growth of crucial organs of the fetus such as the brain is a result of proper nourishment. Therefore starvation will negatively impact this growth. Other consequences include;

●     Preterm birth

●     Low birth weight

●     Miscarriage

●     Long-term health issues  

Are there Additional Factors that Increase Risk of Miscarriage?

Miscarriage doesn’t occur form a single cause but as a result of many factors. This is known as multifactorial events. For example, chromosomal abnormalities are known to be a common cause of miscarriages.

The other factors that also affect miscarriage include maternal health conditions, environmental toxins, age, and lifestyle factors also play a role. While every miscarriage is unique, several factors come into play. Therefore, women need to understand that, at times, it’s hard to tell the exact cause.

It is emotionally draining and challenging to lose a pregnancy. Hence you must seek support from your close friends and family. Your doctor will also offer support and help you understand possible causes while providing guidance to help you cope.

Exploring additional factors that can contribute to miscarriage risk

There are several concerns that pregnant women raise and question if they contribute to the risk of miscarriage. Let’s look at some of them.

  1. Can Lack of Sleep Cause Miscarriage?

A recent Danish study on a cohort of about 22,000 pregnant women examined how work shifts affect pregnancy outcomes. After eight weeks, women who worked two or more night shifts in the previous week had a 32% increased risk of miscarriage than pregnant women who did not work night shifts.

From the study, sleep deprivation or disturbance negatively impacts maternal health. An increase in stress levels and hormonal imbalance arising from sleep deprivation can potentially increase the risk of miscarriage.

Therefore, it’s crucial that pregnant women must establish a good sleep routine throughout pregnancy. If they have concerns about their sleep patterns, they should seek their doctors’ advice soonest.

  1. Can Dancing Cause Miscarriage?

If you love dancing but worried that it will lead to a miscarriage, don’t panic. You can participate in moderate physical activities like dancing which is safe for pregnancy. Additionally, your doctor will recommend that you exercise often during pregnancy.

Regular exercise has several benefits for an expectant mother and the unborn child; it helps reduce the risks of gestational diabetes risks and improves cardiovascular health. However, it’s best to listen to your body while engaging in physical activity. It would help to avoid high-impact activities and those that strain your abdomen

  1. Can Shouting Cause Miscarriage?

If you are afraid that shouting or yelling will cause a miscarriage, don’t worry. Miscarriage is a multifactorial event, and no single piece of evidence suggests that shouting alone causes a miscarriage. Similarly, excess stress or emotional distress has adverse effects on a pregnancy. Therefore pregnant women must strive to avoid high-stress levels. Always talk to your doctor for support and guidance on managing stress levels.

What’s the Importance of Proper Nutrition on Pregnancy?

Here are some of the benefits

Fewer Complications

Ask any pregnant woman; food cravings are hard to fight, especially unhealthy ones. However, it’s essential that you look at the long run and what’s best for your baby. Eating unhealthy foods put you at risk of complications such as anemia and gestational diabetes. Also, your baby may be born with congenital disabilities.

Fetal Development

For the fetus to grow properly, you must always eat a balanced diet. Essential vitamins and nutrients ensure that your baby’s health is okay. This includes folate, whole grain, fruits and vegetables and vitamins. During your prenatal care, ask your doctor to guide you on a proper diet.

Improved Sleep

Pregnant women will attest staying awake at night, due to issues such as nausea, aches, and pains. Eating well each day and avoiding caffeine has its benefits in improving sleep. Additionally, vitamins and minerals required in pregnancy also aid in proper sleep.

Reduce Risk of Illnesses

Expectant women are more prone to some sicknesses, such as the flu. Proper nutrition and enough rest prevent this from happening. It’s not pleasant suffering from pregnancy symptoms and then having a flu.

Reduced Birth Defect Risks

A balanced diet is rich in nutrients such as iron, folic acid and calcium. These nutrients help reduce congenital disabilities such as heart defects and skeletal abnormalities.

Which Nutrients are Crucial for a Healthy Pregnancy and Fetal Development?

During prenatal clinics, your doctor will recommend a healthy diet. Every pregnant woman needs to maintain healthy eating throughout their pregnancy. Here are a few essential nutrients:

  • Folate and Folic Acid

Folate is folic acid found in food. The main role of the B vitamin is prevention of congenital abnormalities in your baby’s brain and spinal cord. From food intake, it’s hard to get the recommended amount of the nutrient, hence your doctor will prescribe a prenatal vitamin with folic acid which you take throughout pregnancy.

Dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, peas, lentils, citrus fruits and peanuts are great sources of folate.

  • Vitamin D

You may know the sun as a natural source of vitamin D. The nutrient is essential as it promotes bone strength. Food sources include eggs, fatty fish, fortified milk and orange juice. You need about 600 international units each day.

  • Calcium

You have probably heard pregnant women complain that they feel as though they have weak teeth. An expectant mother and the fetus need calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Depending on age, you need about 1000 mg of calcium daily. The best food sources include salmon, dairy products, broccoli and kale. Also, fortified breakfast cereals are rich in calcium.

  •  Protein

During pregnancy, protein is vital as it promotes the growth of crucial organs such as the brain and heart. You can get it from lean meat, seafood, poultry and eggs. Plant-based protein includes beans and peas, nuts and soy products.

  •  Iron

You need iron during pregnancy to ensure blood flows to your baby to supply oxygen. Low iron levels lead to anemia that can negatively impact pregnancy. A good trick is to ensure that you have a good source of vitamin C while eating foods rich in iron. This helps in the absorption of iron; foods rich in iron include meat, poultry and fish, dried beans and peas and spinach.

Tips for Maintaining Adequate Nutrition

Many pregnant women may feel overwhelmed going through pregnancy but don’t worry; with the right doctor, you will have an incredible pregnancy journey. Here are a few tips:

  • Ensure to eat regular meals and snacks
  • Ensure food security such as washing fruits properly and cooking meat thoroughly
  • Stay hydrated each day
  • Take your prenatal supplements
  • Seek professional advice on what to eat and any concerns you have

Seeking Support and Professional Advice during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a long journey if you are a new mom. But, some professionals will be with you throughout the journey. It will require that you have an open communication with your doctor. Mention all your concerns and struggles; this will go a long way in surviving the bump.

So, why is it important to have regular prenatal care and nutrition advice?

Here are a few benefits:

●     Keep Track of a Pregnancy

Besides regular scans by your doctor, you also get nutritional advice as your pregnancy progresses. Your doctor keep a record on how your pregnancy is progressing making it easy to identify potential risks and manage them for both mother and unborn child.  

●     Weight Management

Being underweight or overweight will affect your pregnancy. Therefore, regular prenatal care and nutritional advice help you monitor your weight throughout pregnancy.

●     Nutrient Intake

An expectant mother needs to receive the required nutrients for a safe and healthy pregnancy. During a prenatal visit, the doctor will ensure that your intake is okay and offer recommendations for optimal nutrition.

●     Health Education

You will learn so many things during a pregnancy, and a doctor is the best to offer the valuable information. Education on healthy food choices, managing pregnancy symptoms is crucial. The prenatal clinic is also a great avenue for expectant mothers to ask any questions related to a healthy pregnancy.


Any expectant mother dreads a miscarriage; they pray for a full-term pregnancy and to deliver a healthy child. In contrast, there is a high chance of a miscarriage occurring in early pregnancy in about 25% of pregnancies. They occur as a result of several factors, such as starvation, genetic disorder and lifestyle issues.

Some of these causes are preventable, like starvation and lifestyle problems. Ensure to always visit the prenatal clinic to keep track of your pregnancy and offer more advice on maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Good luck, and congratulations on your pregnancy.

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "" and "", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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