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renoyogamom

Celiac And Miscarriage?

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I might be grasping at straws here, and I haven't even been diagnosed with Celiac, but I am suspicious about the role of gluten intolerance in miscarriage. I just miscarried for the second time (previous miscarriage was several years ago) and the timing of fetal demise seems to coincide with my adding gluten back into my diet after being gluten-free for over 6 months. Is this merely coincidence, or is there something to my suspicion?

I initially removed gluten from my diet to see whether going gluten free helped reduce the muscular and joint pain and fatigue I'd been experiencing. It seemed to work. A few months after removing gluten I found myself pregnant, and shortly after that I talked to my family doctor about getting tested for Celiac (antibody blood test) to see if I was 'officially' gluten intolerant. She told me I had to have been on a gluten-containing diet for at least 2 weeks prior to the test in order for the antibodies to show up, so at 6 weeks pregnant I began eating wheat products again. Three weeks later I miscarried. Is it possible that this pregnancy might have survived had I remained gluten free? I should know in the next week or so whether I really am positive for celiac or whether the gluten sensitivity is perhaps all in my head. I guess that might go a long way to answering this question too. In the mean time, does anyone know the link between celiac and miscarriage? I've found several studies indicating an increased risk of early pregnancy loss and possible auto-immune relationship to miscarriage for celiac sufferers who are not on gluten free diets.

Kim

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I was undiagnosed when I had my kids who are now 2 and 5 years old. I had bleeding and contractions the whole pregnancy with my son. I didn't miscarry, but I had preterm labor and all sorts of sickness and unbearable pain. He was a month early and almost died in childbirth, ending with a dramatic emergency C section and me being put completely under to get him out in 2 minutes and save his life.

With my daughter I was severely ill the entire 9 months, had preterm labor again but went full term with her because of terbutaline, had such bad pain that I would stand in the bedroom shaking and crying unable to move to walk to the bathroom.

I believe, and so does my OB that ALL of it was probably due to my undiagnosed celiac disease.

Screw those stupid barbaric tests. You have symptoms. You go gluten free and the symptoms go away. That's not coincidence! Somebody who isn't celiac or gluten intolerant will NOT have abatement of symptoms from a gluten free diet. Save yourself the heartache and remain gluten free.

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I was undiagnosed when I had my kids who are now 2 and 5 years old. I had bleeding and contractions the whole pregnancy with my son. I didn't miscarry, but I had preterm labor and all sorts of sickness and unbearable pain. He was a month early and almost died in childbirth, ending with a dramatic emergency C section and me being put completely under to get him out in 2 minutes and save his life.

With my daughter I was severely ill the entire 9 months, had preterm labor again but went full term with her because of terbutaline, had such bad pain that I would stand in the bedroom shaking and crying unable to move to walk to the bathroom.

I believe, and so does my OB that ALL of it was probably due to my undiagnosed celiac disease.

Screw those stupid barbaric tests. You have symptoms. You go gluten free and the symptoms go away. That's not coincidence! Somebody who isn't celiac or gluten intolerant will NOT have abatement of symptoms from a gluten free diet. Save yourself the heartache and remain gluten free.

thanks so much for your reply. I'm sorry you had such challenges with your pregnancies, and I know exactly where you're coming from. I have three living children and have miscarried twice... and I had complications with all of them. HELLP syndrome and severe pre-eclampsia with the first, then miscarried, then carried two to near-term(36 weeks), but had preterm labor from 28 weeks and was on terbutaline for both pregnancies (yuck), then miscarried again. From what I've learned over the last couple of days ALL of this could be due to undiagnosed celiac. I'd love to have the empirical evidence, but as you say, it might not be worth it. However, I've already lost this last pregnancy, I have nothing more to lose for awhile; maybe I should stick with it and get the test. I wish I knew before I started eating gluten again. I guess I need a better informed doctor.

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I might be grasping at straws here, and I haven't even been diagnosed with Celiac, but I am suspicious about the role of gluten intolerance in miscarriage. I just miscarried for the second time (previous miscarriage was several years ago) and the timing of fetal demise seems to coincide with my adding gluten back into my diet after being gluten-free for over 6 months. Is this merely coincidence, or is there something to my suspicion?

I initially removed gluten from my diet to see whether going gluten free helped reduce the muscular and joint pain and fatigue I'd been experiencing. It seemed to work. A few months after removing gluten I found myself pregnant, and shortly after that I talked to my family doctor about getting tested for Celiac (antibody blood test) to see if I was 'officially' gluten intolerant. She told me I had to have been on a gluten-containing diet for at least 2 weeks prior to the test in order for the antibodies to show up, so at 6 weeks pregnant I began eating wheat products again. Three weeks later I miscarried. Is it possible that this pregnancy might have survived had I remained gluten free? I should know in the next week or so whether I really am positive for celiac or whether the gluten sensitivity is perhaps all in my head. I guess that might go a long way to answering this question too. In the mean time, does anyone know the link between celiac and miscarriage? I've found several studies indicating an increased risk of early pregnancy loss and possible auto-immune relationship to miscarriage for celiac sufferers who are not on gluten free diets.

Kim

I'm sorry for your loss. :(

It's impossible to say whether or not the timing of your gluten ingestion and losses is coincidence - a lot would depend on how quickly your intestines are damaged (if you are celiac) and how quickly they heal. Since SO MANY pregnancies end in miscarriage due to other reasons, there's just no way to know, for sure (certainly without autopsy) if celiac played a role.

I don't know that there are any studies that fully examine WHY there is a link, but as you note - there is plenty of evidence that there is one. Given that untreated celiac disease causes an autoimmune reaction, it wouldn't surprise me if there was an element of the immune system being on high alert and rejecting the "foreign body", causing a miscarriage. Malabsorption - either resulting in chronic low vitamin and mineral levels, or in temporary ones as the baby grows but cannot get any more from your body - could play a role as well.

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Hi Renoyagamom,

First off, my condolonces for your loss.

My first pregnancy was horrible, continuously sick 24/7 until 5 1/2 months then went into premature labor. Was in the hospital for 2 weeks, they put me on terbutaline. Sent me home for a month then developed preeclampsia. Son was born 2 months premature. Fast forward 2 years, starting in '85, had 7 miscarriages in 5 years. Couldn't get past the 16th to 24th week. They could not tell me why. Just that they weren't meant to be.

I wish that I had known back then about gluten. In my opinion that was the reason I lost them.

If I were you, I would go gluten free and in a little while you will have another one. Again, just my opinion. I wish you well

Vicky

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Bowel inflammation and contractions cause uterine contractions. It may be as simple as that. The reason they use castor oil to induce labor is because of that phenomenon. Whatever it is, gluten is not going to help your pregnancy or fertility if you have celiac or intolerance.

I got diagnosed by blood test only. I would never torture myself and make myself sick just so the doctors can get a hefty paycheck for doing a surgical procedure on me. I'm cynical about it, but I 100% believe that it's all about the money. The biopsy is many times inaccurate and can give false negatives as can the blood tests, but with the blood tests there are NO false positives. Your body will not produce antibodies to gluten unless there is a problem. So why follow up positive blood work with an endoscopy? Because they get a hell of a lot more money that way than from labs.

There is NO liability on their part for diagnosing celiac because it's treatable with diet. It's not like they have to put you on some expensive or risky drug so they had better be darn sure. I am so cynical about this but that's after being misdiagnosed for FORTY years and suffering way too much.

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Thanks again everyone. I'm sorry you've all been through the same as me and much worse. So heartbreaking! I feel fortunate that my gluten effects (if that's what they are) are as mild as they have been. Thinking about it, I don't know that 2 weeks on gluten would be enough to elicit a miscarriage; I guess we'll never know. Better not to blame myself if I can manage it.

I appreciate your information, support, and insight. My plan right now is to continue with the gluten challenge (nothing left to lose) get the blood tests in a month or so (after 6-7 weeks on high gluten diet) and forgo the biopsy. If the blood test is positive, we'll know, and if negative I may not get a diagnosis, but I do know I feel better off gluten, so why not go gluten free. I'm curious to see if it would prevent the preterm labor issues. Thanks again!

Kim

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Thanks again everyone. I'm sorry you've all been through the same as me and much worse. So heartbreaking! I feel fortunate that my gluten effects (if that's what they are) are as mild as they have been. Thinking about it, I don't know that 2 weeks on gluten would be enough to elicit a miscarriage; I guess we'll never know. Better not to blame myself if I can manage it.

I appreciate your information, support, and insight. My plan right now is to continue with the gluten challenge (nothing left to lose) get the blood tests in a month or so (after 6-7 weeks on high gluten diet) and forgo the biopsy. If the blood test is positive, we'll know, and if negative I may not get a diagnosis, but I do know I feel better off gluten, so why not go gluten free. I'm curious to see if it would prevent the preterm labor issues. Thanks again!

Kim

I feel bad because I forgot to tell you I'm so sorry for your loss. You can't know if celiac or gluten caused it. Don't blame yourself. You are armed with some new knowledge now and that gives you options, which is a great thing.

I have been processing a lot of emotion about how difficult my pregnancies were due to celiac. My OB was sure I had it before I had kids and sent me to a GI. He gave me a laundry list of why there was NO way I could have celiac so I went on my merry way, glad not to have it. Turns out his laundry list was a list of symptoms that all pointed to celiac and he was wrong.

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I'm so sorry to hear about your losses :(

I was diagnosed with celiac just as I found out I was pregnant (this is my first pregnancy after almost 5 years of TTC, am now 21 weeks along). The internist who officially diagnosed me explained that it was critical to avoid gluten while pregnant not only due to absorption issues, but also because the newest research indicates that the same antibodies which attack our intestines when we ingest gluten will also attack the placenta.

i just googled and came up with a study that supports this:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649929/

Conclusion

These data indicate that direct immune effects in untreated celiac disease women may compromise placental function.

So yes, I'd guess it's possible that gluten contributed to your miscarriage. But this would not be your fault! This would be the fault of a medical system that hasn't studied celiac disease and it's effects on pregnancy enough.

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I am so sorry for your loss :(

In my own personal experience, having just found out 4 mos. ago that I have celiac disease after a lifetime of a "tempermental" stomach, it seems to fit my family history of preterm labor. My mother had my sister 5 weeks early, was on something for preterm labor with me and ended up dying, undiagnosed, of a celiac-related cancer.

I had preterm labor w/ all three of my girls, starting at about 28 wks. Was on terbutaline, monitored my contractions twice a day at home via a modem and had all but one of my girls at least a month early, in and out of the hospital, on bed rest, etc. The Dr's or techs at the monitoring company always said I had an irritable uterus but I bet it was irritable because of my stomach! I remember having a really bad day with my stomach upset and they called me from the monitoring company hours later when I sent in my strip, freaking out because I'd had 19 contractions in an hour. Luckily, by then, my stomach was feeling better and the contractions had subsided!!

My middle daughter was diagnosed 9 mos. ago w/ celiac and that's how I found out I had it. Hopefully now that you are being tested and all, you'll be healthy and can conceive again and get on w/ your life!!

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