Miscarriage is a time of great emotional, mental, and physical strain. During this time, it is common for women to experience negative effects on their bodies, such as weight loss after miscarriage.
While many mothers complain that they can’t lose weight after miscarriage, some mothers face excessive weight loss after miscarriage.
Weight loss after a miscarriage can lead to other problems, and it is one of the last things you would want to deal with. This article sheds some light on the topic and will help you figure out a way to remedy it.
Why Do You Lose Weight After A Miscarriage?
One of the most frequently seen questions in many pregnancy forums is, whether weight loss after miscarriage is normal.
Well, it is not uncommon to feel fatigued, lose your appetite, or find it more difficult to sleep properly after a miscarriage. You are likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions like shock, guilt, anger, or deep sadness. The pain of losing a baby can be devastating. Even if you tried everything to prevent a miscarriage, you can still miscarry and that could make you
Some mothers feel such deep emotional scars almost immediately after a miscarriage, and yet others may take several weeks. This can be quite overwhelming and can affect various aspects of your life, one of the first of which is likely your food intake. And if you have no appetite or are eating very little, losing weight continuously after miscarriage is a huge possibility.
Related Reading: 10 Common Causes Of Miscarriage
4 Causes Of Weight Loss After Miscarriage
It has been noted that women who miscarry suffer long-term mental health issues. Many of these issues can contribute to rapid weight loss after miscarriage. Not only miscarriage, but D&C surgery can also adversely affect women emotionally. Therefore, many women experience losing weight after D&C surgery as well.
Four main causes that trigger weight loss after pregnancy are:
Anxiety can be a very common experience among those who have had to deal with a miscarriage. This can affect their thoughts, activities, and can even end up affecting your sleep schedule. It is, therefore, necessary to deal with anxiety at the earliest, so as to not compromise your physical and mental health. There are a number of ways to go about doing this.
A high anxiety period is marked by an increased metabolism rate. As a result, more energy is burned. As you know, energy is stored in fats. When more energy is used up, more fat is burned. This can contribute to weight loss.
Besides, weight loss is one of the side effects of certain anti-anxiety medications. Some prescription medication for anxiety after miscarriage (like bupropion) can contribute to weight loss after miscarriage.
It is very likely that one feels stressed after a miscarriage. Most women get stressed and overwhelmed about what happened. They think about what went wrong and if it was avoidable. Women may be also stressed about their health or future pregnancies. However, with the proper steps, stress can be dealt with or at the very least, diminished.
Stress can have bad consequences on your physical and mental health. Almost every part of the body is affected by stress. Some of the impacts of stress on the body systems can lead to weight loss after miscarriage.
- Studies show that stress leads to hyper-stimulation of the vagus nerve which in turn affects the body’s ability to process and absorb the nutrients. This can potentially contribute to weight loss
- Stress can affect the signal passing between the brain and gastrointestinal (GI) system. When the messages of the brain fail to reach the GI, it affects different parts of the GI system, including the esophagus (food pipe), stomach, and bowel.
This could set off various digestive issues like gas, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, etc. which can come in the way of food intake. This paves the way for weight loss after miscarriage
- Stress most often gets in the way of quality sleep. Inadequate sleep contributes to feeling lethargic and terribly exhausted all day long. This can adversely affect eating habits. Moreover, sleep disruption also affects cortisol production, which can affect your metabolism. This could also bring about weight loss
- When the body is under stress the sympathetic nervous system (SNS is part of the autonomous nervous system) accelerates the generation of adrenaline hormone. This hormone is responsible for the fight or flight response of the body.
Adrenaline brings about an increase in heart rate and breathing rate. This hormone also alters the blood sugar level and slows down the digestion of food. This will affect the food intake and end up in weight loss
While some women are likely to feel depressed immediately after a miscarriage, others may take up to several weeks before feeling depressed. Either way, it is not uncommon. It is perfectly understandable, and though it may seem difficult, it can be dealt with.
According to studies, nearly 20% of women who experience a miscarriage exhibit some level of depression.
Weight loss is found to be one of the side effects of depression. Other signs of depression-like extreme sadness and excessive feeling of being lost get in the way of daily activities. In extreme cases, depression affects small parts of the brain that regulate the desire for food.
Related Reading: 10 Indian Foods Not To Eat After Abortion
This can lead to poor appetite and you will not be interested in eating. This may continue for weeks or even months and you will lose weight significantly.
Early pregnancy loss can take a toll on the emotions of a woman. Therefore, weight loss after early miscarriage is not rare among women, especially for those who miscarry during first pregnancy.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD is marked by acute anxiety, depression, and distress. Symptoms of PTSD comprise flashbacks, nightmares, intense anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the miscarriage that hits at unexpected times
According to studies about four out of every ten women develop PTSD symptoms within three months after a miscarriage. Post-traumatic stress can either contributes to considerable weight gain or excessive weight loss. This can be one of the reasons for weight loss after a late miscarriage
3 Ways To Deal With Weight Loss After Miscarriage
Dealing with weight loss after miscarriage is primarily based on getting the food intake on track and taking possible steps to combat stress and anxiety and restoring mental strength.
1. Get your meals on track
- Feeling too stressed and worn out will likely lead you to ignore all feelings of hunger, and you may end up skipping an unhealthy number of meals. To avoid this, try and maintain a strict diet and eating schedule, even using alarms to remind you to eat if necessary
- Even a few bites of food can help reduce stress and enhance the mood to some extend by keeping your blood glucose levels well balanced
- Eat more frequently – if you have an unhealthy caloric deficiency, it is important to increase your caloric intake. This can be achieved by simply consuming more food, or if you are easily full (it is quite common with emotional imbalance), by increasing your number of meals throughout the day
- Try and consume food high in protein and fiber, and avoid unnecessary amounts of caffeine and sugar. Even though caffeine and sugar can temporarily spike the energy levels, they will crash in a while
Related Reading: 12 Foods You Should Eat After Miscarriage For Fast Recovery
Do not underestimate how much regular exercise can contribute to your overall health – it can help improve your appetite, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help you gain weight if you are looking to do so. Consistently doing a moderate amount of exercise can quite dramatically improve your health and mood.
3. Take steps to reduce the stress and anxiety
There are different means to reduce stress and anxiety after miscarriage. You can take any steps that divert your attention from your loss. Deliberately getting back into your hobbies, reading, listening to music, etc. will help. The journey may not be easy but definitely is not impossible. Here are a few steps to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Massage – there are a few things quite as relaxing as a good massage. Not only is it amazing to relieve you of your stress, but it can have some pretty decent health benefits for your body as well. While there is a lot you can do at home, if you are feeling too stressed and worn out, you can also consult a professional massage therapist
- Breathing techniques – regularly performing focused breathing techniques are a great and easy way to relax and relieve stress. Consistently performing them is sure to go a long way in improving your mental health
- Yoga – combining a decent amount of physical exercise and stretching with good breathing techniques through yoga is sure to accomplish wonders for your body and mind. That, and yoga can also be quite fun and engaging once you get into it
Weight loss after miscarriage is quite normal considering the stress one experiences during this period. While a little weight loss due to stress can be easily remedied at home, it is incredibly important to see a doctor if you lose more than about 5% of your body weight in a small amount of time.
You can discuss with them and figure out why stress is affecting your body in this way and find a way to manage the situation. This may include coming up with a healthy daily routine and meal plan.
Remember, a miscarriage is not an end of life. With the right medical assistance and some precautions, most women deliver healthy babies after miscarrying. Stay positive.