Miscarriages, Infertility, and Genetic Blood Clotting Disorders
Infertility issues and miscarriage can be caused by many causes and factors, such as chromosomal abnormalities, thyroid irregularities, structural issues, and even all the toxins around us.
However, did you know that inherited thrombophilias (AKA, genetically-caused blood clots) can be a cause of miscarriage and unexplained infertility as well?
If you’ve been through a miscarriage, we understand your heartbreak. If you’re having trouble with fertility, we know it’s downright frustrating. This is why, instead of leaving women grasping for answers, we want to educate and empower you to understand what might be going on, and inherited thrombophilia could be an underlying issue.
Below, we’ll uncover these common genetically-caused blood clotting disorders:
- FV Leiden
- Prothrombin G20210A
- MTHFR C677T
What Is Inherited Thrombophilias?
First, let’s discuss inherited thrombophilia. Blood clots can be caused by either immune disorders (like Antiphospholipid syndrome, or “Hughes” syndrome) or even a hormone imbalance (like excess estrogen, which is why this is a side-effect of birth control pills). However, sometimes people are just born with a genetic predisposition, which causes blood to clot. Genetic predisposition or no, thrombophilia can form blood clots, potentially leading to a stroke, heart attack, or a pulmonary embolus. So it’s to be taken seriously.
Sadly, this out-of-your control genetic mutation can cause issues for women looking to get pregnant or who are already carrying a child. An inherited thrombophilia can create blood clots, which can endanger the baby, blocking blood flow to the fetus. Also, even though you may never show signs, inherited thrombophilias symptoms can increase as you age, disrupting your fertility.
Factor V Leiden
Factor V (FV) Leiden, which stands for Factor 5 Leiden, is a blood mutation and blood-clotting disorder caused by an increase in blood’s factor V protein. The factor V protein mutation can increase the chance of blood clots, wherein 10% of individuals develop abnormal clots. The condition can be life-threatening as is, however, for pregnant women who carry this mutation, it can increase the chance of miscarriage or second and third-trimester pregnancy loss two- to three-fold. It can also increase risks if the woman is taking estrogen hormones.
While the association has not been confirmed, some research suggests that FV Leiden mutation increases pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia (an abnormally high blood pressure during pregnancy), as well as slow fetal growth and placental abruption.
On the other hand, most women with FV Leiden have a perfectly standard, routine pregnancy experience. In general, most with FV Leiden gene mutation never develop any symptoms.
Prothrombin is an essential protein that helps to clot our blood. Our bodies need it to stop bleeding from cuts, scrapes, et cetera. However, when there’s a mutation in the Prothrombin protein, it can lead to excess production, clotting unnaturally and in places it’s not meant to, which can then break off and travel through arteries into the lungs, heart, or brain.
During and after pregnancy, women are already at a higher risk for blood clots. However, when you throw prothrombin mutation into the mix, it adds an even higher risk. Not only can a blood clot travel within themselves, but also toward the developing fetus, which can cause a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other dangerous pregnancy complications, such as recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), placental abruption (when the placenta somewhat detaches from the uterus’ wall), fetal death, and preeclampsia (pregnancy condition with sharp increase in blood pressure).
The MTHFR recessive gene may also play a role in infertility and miscarriages. More specifically, its C677T variant, can lead to an increase in homocysteine and a decrease in methyl folate.
Due to this C677T gene variant, your homocysteine levels will elevate. More critically, your homocysteine is not effectively converted to methionine, which can ultimately lead to an increased risk of miscarriages, infertility, and pre-eclampsia.
If you test positive for the MTHFR gene, which you can find out through a blood test, Naturna suggests incorporating some lifestyle changes, reducing stressors, and getting exercise. Starting a healthy diet of non-GMO foods and eating more folate-filled leafy greens is a start, but because the MTHFR gene caps your body’s natural detox abilities, it also helps to avoid an inflammatory diet, stay hydrated, limit or eliminate alcohol, and reduce household toxins.
Living With Your Given Genes
Sometimes, you have to work with the cards you’ve been dealt. When it comes to passed down genes like inherited thrombophilias, it’s important to note that the majority of women with prothrombin gene mutations may have healthy pregnancies. You may have nothing to worry about at all. But if you have unexplained infertility, keep in mind this could be a hidden cause that you (and let’s face it, our parents) had no idea existed.
However, if you test positive for any of these inherited thrombophilias and experience deep vein thrombosis (DVT) symptoms, such as pains, swelling, redness in an arm or leg, don’t go changing up your diet regimen on the fly or hitting the gym hard. Instead, talk to your general practitioner and speak to us at Naturna so we can guide you in a more holistic and integrated approach.
Calderwood CJ, Greer IA. The role of factor V Leiden in maternal health and the outcome of pregnancy. Curr Drug Targets. 2005 Aug;6(5):567-76. Review. Citation on PubMed
Parand A, Zolghadri J, Nezam M, Afrasiabi A, Haghpanah S, Karimi M. Inherited thrombophilia and recurrent pregnancy loss. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2013;15(12):e13708. doi:10.5812/ircmj.13708