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pregnancy loss

This Israeli Doctor Is Trying to Prevent Miscarriages From Happening

Pregnant woman at home relaxing by drawing with color pencils.

Israeli doctor Asher Bashiri is trying to change the face of natal medical care for women everywhere. Specifically, he’s trying to discover a way to prevent miscarriages. How’s he doing this? Well, Bashiri is the current clinic director of Soroka University Medical Center of Beersheba Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)–and he’s working on a study that could decrease miscarriages from occuring; as of now, 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Bashiri is currently overseeing new research that could find a cure for miscarriage, according to the Forward. In 2016, Bashiri established the first World Conference on RPL as a way to establish international collaboration and knowledge about RPL in hopes of finding a cure. The second meeting took place last month in Cannes, France–and about 200 medical professionals from nearly 60 countries participated.

For over three years, Bashiri created a comprehensive database of 1,000 women, who are largely Jewish and Bedouin, which helps him to determine clinical characteristics of patients with RPL and trends in attempted treatments’ outcomes–essentially, it helps him narrow down why miscarriages occur.

He discovered that women who have had two pregnancy losses or more should always undergo genetic testing of the embryo and couple–which rarely ever happens. He explained why:

“If the fetus is abnormal, there’s one prognosis. If the fetus is normal, then we know something’s wrong with the mother or father.

There are some screenings we’re doing, but there are many tests and ideas we aren’t, and so cannot prove.”

His current plan is to bring “multi-disciplinary” teams together to do more studies that will hopefully lead to evidence-based medicine–which makes sense. He’s already discovered that RPL patients are more prone to having immunological diseases, hypothyroid disease, and thrombophilia (a condition where blood has an increased tendency to form clots, which can lead to miscarriage). Bashiri also found out that vitamin D deficiency is linked to abnormal functioning of the immune system, which is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

Another interesting discovery Bashiri found is the fact that it’s OK to use low-dose steroid treatments on patients who had an immunological disease during pregnancy–in the past, steriods were not usually allowed for pregnant women to use. He found, however, that using these treatments resulted in an 80% success rate.

But there are the mental health factors, too. High-levels of anxiety are also linked to RPL, which has made Bashiri note the importance of working with psychologists who work in mindfulness.

His method apparently works, considering he was able to help a Jewish couple that previously suffered six pregnancy losses. With his combination treatment of hormone replacement and immune system support, the woman became pregnant and ultimately gave birth to a healthy child. In the end, Bashiri really just wants the medical world to do what’s best for families–which means doing the hard work of finding out what works and what doesn’t, stating:

“I’m trying to tell the medical world, ‘Wake up! Let’s do this right and work together to make it better.’” 

Can’t argue with him there.

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