Celiac Disease & Miscarriage

Understanding Celiac Disease & Its Impact on Pregnancy

What is celiac disease?
What are the long-term complications of celiac disease?
What are the effects of celiac disease on pregnancy?
What are the benefits of a gluten-free pregnancy?
Are miscarriages that are caused by celiac disease preventable?

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a disease that involves the digestive system. Simply put, celiac disease prevents your small intestine from properly absorbing nutrients - primarily gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in many foods, including:

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Wheat
  • Soy Sauce
  • Soups
  • French Fries
  • Pasta

Additionally, medicines, vitamins lip balms and other everyday products may contain gluten. If you have celiac disease and eat gluten, your body may react by damaging or destroy the villi in your small intestine. Simply put, villi allow your body to absorb nutrients. Without it, you would become malnourished. Thus, celiac disease involves malabsorption of nutrients and abnormal immune reactions to foods that contain gluten.

There are a variety of symptoms associated with celiac disease, including:

  • Abnormal bloating and pain in the abdominal region
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation and unexplainable weight loss
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Seizures
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Canker sores
  • Skin rashes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness in the hands and feet

Symptoms of celiac disease are extremely varied and may be affected by the age and other factors.

What are the long-term complications of celiac disease?

If celiac disease isn't treated properly, long-term complications may develop. If you have celiac disease, you may be at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, autoimmune liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison's disease, and multiple pregnancy losses. Celiac disease may be diagnosed through blood tests, and intestinal biopsy or other forms of screening. Additionally, there are a variety of treatment options.

Most commonly, celiac disease is treated by a gluten-free diet. Individuals with celiac disease may be able to consult with a dietitian or health professional to help them create an effective diet plan to avoid long-term complications.

What are the effects of celiac disease on pregnancy?

The general health and side effects related to celiac disease may make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant or carry a healthy baby. Additionally, evidence suggests that there may be a link between recurrent miscarriage, unexplained infertility, and autoimmune disorders. Statistically, women with undiagnosed celiac disease are significantly more prone to miscarriage than women without the disorder. One study concluded that there as a clear gradation of risk of miscarriage in women with autoimmune disorders. Celiac disease is one of the most common autoimmune disorders related to pregnancy loss. During pregnancy, women with undiagnosed celiac disease are not only more likely to experience a celiac miscarriage, but an increased risk of anemia and preterm labor.

It’s important to note that it may not only be the celiac disease that is the problem, as the genetics present in celiac disease also predispose patients to other autoimmune issues that can lead to pregnancy failure.

What are the benefits of a gluten-free pregnancy?

Patients who are allergic to gluten or have celiac disease may be able to prevent miscarriage by avoiding foods and products with gluten. It is totally possible to maintain a healthy diet while pregnant and avoid foods and products that contain gluten. During a gluten-free pregnancy, you may need to take extra care to make sure that you avoid foods that are dangerous to your health while still getting the nutrients that you and your unborn child need.

There are many of healthy, gluten-free foods that you can eat while pregnant, including:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Salads
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Red meat
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • And more

Are miscarriages that are caused by celiac disease preventable?

Celiac and gluten miscarriages are preventable - but only if the condition is diagnosed before pregnancy. If you have experienced multiple pregnancy losses, you may be gluten intolerant or have another autoimmune disorder. Many times, it is difficult for doctors to attribute miscarriages to gluten intolerance or celiac disease until a pregnancy loss has already occurred. Because of this, a woman could suffer multiple miscarriages before realizing that she may be suffering from an autoimmune disorder.

Contact An Experienced Reproductive Immunologist Today!

If you have suffered multiple pregnancy losses or cannot conceive, contact Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology today. We are devoted to helping people like you fulfill their dream of having a baby and raising a family. Dr. Braverman is equipped to develop an effective miscarriage treatment plan so that you can have a safe and healthy pregnancy in the future. Contact us as soon as possible to set up an initial consultation so that we can discuss your pregnancy options.

Contact us today to discuss your recurrent pregnancy loss treatment today!