DGP: Overcoming Recurrent Miscarriage with Nutritionist Kinsey Jackson [Episode 15]
Welcome to this week’s Dirty Genes Podcast. Today I’m interviewing our Editor in Chief at Seeking Health, Kinsey Jackson, MS, CNS. She shares her personal story of recurrent miscarriage and the steps she took to finally bring her rainbow baby into the world.
Please note that this episode contains sensitive subject matter surrounding miscarriage that some might find triggering or upsetting. Please proceed gently and at your own pace.
I’m Dr. Ben Lynch — welcome to the Dirty Genes Podcast. I hope you enjoy the episode! If you do, be sure to give a thumbs-up, rate it, leave a comment, and subscribe here.
Table of Contents
- Watch the Podcast (YouTube)
- Show Notes
- Intro Message from Dr. Ben Lynch
- Episode 15 Transcript: Overcoming Recurrent Miscarriage with Nutritionist Kinsey Jackson
- Vegetarian to Paleo for Autoimmunity
- Male Infertility: Varicocele & Mutated Sperm
- Defining Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)
- Research & Support for RPL
- Second Trimester Pregnancy Loss
- Ask to See the Placenta
- Blood Clots & Miscarriage
- Rainbow Baby Hope
- Genetic Conditions Related to Recurrent Miscarriage
- Test Both His & Her Genes
- Down the Research Rabbit Hole
- PAI-1, MTHFR, ACE & Other Clotting Disorders
- Autoimmune, Blood Clotting Disorders & Miscarriage
- Thyroid Lab Tests
- List of Lab Tests for Recurrent Miscarriage
- Dirty Genes and Trying to Conceive
- Blood is Thicker During Pregnancy
- Lovenox vs. Baby Aspirin
- Blood Thinners, Clots & Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH)
- Find a Doctor Who Will Work FOR You
- Firing Your Health Professional
- Medication & Supplements
- Immune-Related Genetic Tests
- Adenomyosis & Implantation
- Premature Delivery at 26 Weeks
- The Importance of Mindset
- Complications of Premature Birth
- How to Respect Your Doctor’s Time
- Books by Kinsey
- Keep Seeking Answers
- Subscribe to the Dirty Genes Podcast
Click the video below to watch the Dirty Genes Podcast or keep scrolling to read the transcript of Episode 15: Overcoming Recurrent Miscarriage with Nutritionist Kinsey Jackson.
Intro Message from Dr. Ben Lynch
Have you experienced a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages? If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, this episode is for you.
The amount of actionable information in this podcast is, frankly, almost impossible to find on the internet or in doctor offices. This is years of research, experience, pain, and ultimately, total joy, all in 90 minutes.
Miscarriages are common. How common? They occur in 15 to 20% of all pregnancies, typically in the first trimester. After the first miscarriage, the risk of having another is about 20%. After three or more consecutive miscarriages, the risk of miscarriage increases to 43%. This is known as recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
Thankfully, interventions exist to support women who suffer multiple miscarriages. And that is what I am going to share with you in this episode. You are going to learn directly from our Editor in Chief, Kinsey Jackson, who’s had multiple miscarriages and had very little support initially from family, health professionals, and just a general sense of fear, unknown, anger, sadness, frustration. You name it. The emotions were there. I’m sure you can relate.
Now, what you’re going to learn in this episode took years of experience, years of pain. But now what’s happening is that Kinsey is a mother of a beautiful baby boy, Milo. We want to share with you her experience, her story, so hopefully, you can hold in your own arms a beautiful, healthy baby boy or baby girl and have a healthy family.
Join me today as I interview Kinsey about how she overcame recurrent loss to bring her rainbow baby into the world. She shares her story, knowledge, and compassion with you in an episode of the Dirty Genes Podcast that you do not want to miss.
Please note that this episode contains sensitive subject matter surrounding miscarriage that some might find triggering or upsetting. Please proceed gently and at your own pace.
If you don’t think you can handle this type of information because we get pretty blunt and to the point, then I just caution you. Maybe you shouldn’t be listening to this while driving or at work. You should be listening to this in a healthy, calm, relaxed environment that you can just sit and relax and take the information in.
And the good thing is, you are going to want to take a lot of notes. But we know that you’re busy and have a lot of stuff on your plate. So we’ve taken notes for you. Well, Kinsey has taken notes for you. Kinsey has prepared an amazing document for you. Download it for free here:
Enjoy this episode.
Episode 15 Transcript: Overcoming Recurrent Miscarriage with Nutritionist Kinsey Jackson
Dr. Ben Lynch: Close your eyes for us, Kinsey, and try to put yourself right back. Re-live that situation. For the first time, Milo, holding him. What’s going through you?
Kinsey Jackson: I just remember thinking, this can’t be real, this isn’t going to last. He’s not going to make it. And at that point, I really wasn’t sure if he was going to make it or not. It wasn’t until months later that I was able to accept I have a living baby. Finally, after four losses and after being told that I’d never be able to carry a pregnancy. It was really hard for me to accept that this is real.
Dr. Ben Lynch: There’s multiple things going on with that term, accept, so what is it? What was it?
Kinsey: I definitely think there was fear because of my history of recurrent pregnancy loss and because I had previously lost a virtually identical pregnancy. I lost my baby, Junior, we named him, in the late second trimester.
And then Milo, my now living son, was born three months premature. A baby born that small and that young, there are so many different ways that it could turn out. I think because I’d had so much loss and experienced so much grief and fear, my mind wouldn’t allow me to believe that this could be it. This could be my rainbow baby. So I think that it was a lot of fear standing in the way, and it just really took time to get over that.
It was actually on Black Friday, and Milo was born November 6th. So it was a couple of weeks later. And you know how everything goes on sale on Black Friday.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: I saw all these sales going on for baby stuff, and I thought, I don’t own a single baby item. I was so afraid during my whole pregnancy it wouldn’t work out again. So I didn’t buy a single baby item.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Interesting.
Kinsey: So Black Friday rolls around, and I don’t know what it was about Black Friday. It just hit me that I have a baby, and I better get shopping. So I ended up buying literally everything I needed to be a new parent over that weekend. But, yeah, I mean, that just apprehension of accepting that this is my reality now. It was strong.
It’s amazing how much loss in your past can keep you from acknowledging your current reality.
Like, this is real, and he’s OK, and he’s going to make it.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And how is Milo now?
Kinsey Jackson: Milo is amazing. He’s now 19 months old. As I said, he was born three months early. So really, he should only be measuring for a 16-month-old. But he’s wearing 3T clothing. He’s in like the 90th percentile for other 19-month-olds.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Wow. That’s incredible. Height and weight?
Kinsey Jackson: Height, weight, and head circumference.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And he is meeting his goals?
Kinsey Jackson: He’s meeting his milestones. He may be slightly delayed in language, but we’re not worried about it.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, my kids were.
Kinsey Jackson: And a lot of them are. I don’t think it’s fair to compare your kids to these milestones and say they’re delayed if they aren’t exactly meeting them.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: Because everybody’s so different.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I agree. So it wasn’t until Black Friday where you were able to live without that pressure and fear and apprehension of loss. It sounds like that’s when you started to let go of protecting yourself, you know, from maybe it’s not going to work out. Was that the first time that you ever shopped for baby stuff in your life?
Kinsey Jackson: No, I had purchased some baby items in my previous pregnancy that I lost at 25 weeks, which is late in the second trimester. It was so painful after going through that loss and looking at those items. I’m just glad I didn’t set up my nursery because, you know, I’m in the community now of people who’ve been through recurrent loss and a lot of women, they have their whole nursery set up and come home empty-handed to an empty nursery. I can’t even imagine.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah.
Kinsey Jackson: But it was extremely difficult to even look at those couple outfits that I had gotten for Junior. I got rid of them. I got rid of all the baby books. I got rid of everything after that loss because it was too painful. It was just too painful.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So. Take us back. We jumped into the conclusion here because, you know, I want folks to know that there is a happy ending. I don’t want to say a happy ending. It was a happy beginning.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Vegetarian to Paleo for Autoimmunity
Dr. Ben Lynch: With Milo, before you even got pregnant and had your first loss, you were struggling with your own health physically, emotionally, and mentally as well, I would assume. You were a bit of a train wreck in the beginning, from what I read in your history.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So if you could improve all those things, it goes to show what journey you’ve been on. And how much strength that you had to keep going on.
Kinsey Jackson: Well, it’s ironic because I considered myself a healthy person my whole life. I adopted a vegetarian diet at a very young age when I was eight years old out of care for animals. My family always said, “Oh, you’re so healthy, Kinsey.”
Well, fast forward to my early 20s, and I started feeling tired, not great. Went to the doctor, found out my thyroid is low. They wanted me on thyroid medication. I didn’t want to take medication. So a couple of years later, I was graduating from getting my undergrad degree, and I had lost a significant amount of hair from the top of my head. Like, I had a huge bald spot, and I was diagnosed with alopecia areata. It was really mortifying.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And how old were you?
Kinsey Jackson: I was 28.
Dr. Ben Lynch: OK.
Kinsey Jackson: At this point, I just remember staying home and not wanting to go out or see anybody because I was so embarrassed. I always had a hat or a scarf on. But I still hadn’t made the connection with what could potentially be triggering my condition. I knew it was an autoimmune disease, but I didn’t realize that it was largely being triggered by my diet.
A couple of years later, my dad passed away. The stress from that caused me to start having flares in different joints. I wasn’t sure what was happening to my body. At times, I was crippled to the point of being in a wheelchair or on crutches to get around. I ended up going to a rheumatologist and asked them to test me for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And they said, oh, you’re too young to be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. But I knew I had RA. I just had a feeling in my heart from the research I’d done. I convinced them to run the tests. And in fact, they came back highly positive. They said, we’re so sorry we doubted you. You know, you have the worst case of our we’ve ever seen in someone your age.
So they told me, “You need to be on methotrexate for the rest of your life. And you might need a liver transplant by the time you’re in your 50s”, is what one rheumatologist told me. At the time, I was working at the Bellingham health food co-op, living out my granola phase of life. So I wasn’t really down with taking medications.
By luck, I saw a naturopathic doctor, Pat Elliott, here in Bellingham. She turned me on to the Paleo diet. And she’s like, you need to start eating meat and quit eating grains and beans. And I thought, you’re crazy lady. I’m never going to eat meat. It had been almost 25 years since I had eaten meat.
But then I read Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution, and it made a lot of sense. I had a science background at the time. I got my Bachelor of Science in biopsychology and chemistry.
When I learned about how the gut lining can be affected by certain compounds in foods that trigger systemic inflammation and set off genes we are predisposed to, it just resonated true to me.
And I thought, well, I’m going to try this. I’m going to try it for one week, and that’s it.
So it did. I gave up vegetarianism. I went on a Paleo diet. Of course, it was very modified because I wasn’t just chowing down steaks or anything, you know, but within a day or two, my symptoms started to subside. It was obvious to me that I was feeling better. So that one-week commitment turned into geez, it’s been about a decade now since I’ve changed my diet. I’ve tracked my lab blood tests the entire time. And it’s been really cool watching my markers of autoimmunity go down as I’ve made these dietary changes.
Well, that experience motivated me to go back to school and get my Master of Science in human nutrition. I wrote my master’s thesis on the connection between autoimmune disease and intestinal hyperpermeability, otherwise known as leaky gut syndrome.
At that point, I was so gung ho like, the Paleo diet is everything, and diet is everything. And I really did believe that. So when I still continued to eat clean but was having infertility issues, it was a huge slap in the face that changing in your diet isn’t necessarily the end-all solution for everything.
Male Infertility: Varicocele & Mutated Sperm
Dr. Ben Lynch: I mean, what was your thought when you found out that infertility was an issue? I mean, what was the emotion behind that?
Kinsey Jackson: I think mostly confusion in the beginning. Because at first, I didn’t realize that I was struggling with infertility. It took about a year of trying to get pregnant before I thought something’s not right. So I didn’t realize it overnight.
After years of deliberate avoidance, it was actually hard to get pregnant when I finally started trying.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: You know, there’s only about a 20 percent chance or something that you’re going to have a successful pregnancy anyway. So I thought, oh, maybe I’m not hitting the right window. But after a year or so of trying, I just knew something wasn’t right.
I started acupuncture and Chinese herbs and temperature charting, which can be really effective for some people for fertility. But it didn’t work for me.
So we started looking at my partner, my husband now. And we discovered that he had what they called teratozoospermia, which is mutated sperm. It was later found that he had a varicocele, which is an enlarged vein in your testicle that can heat up the surrounding area so much that it can kill and mutate sperm. Sperm are very temperature sensitive.
We talked to multiple specialists, urologists. Everybody agreed that it was large enough that it would probably benefit from a surgical repair. So he ended up getting that repair done, which is a pretty common surgery. And lo and behold, his sperm counts came back normal after that. So that was definitely playing a role in our infertility at that point.
Defining Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)
Kinsey Jackson: It wasn’t a couple of months later that I was finally pregnant. But unfortunately, that ended up being an early pregnancy loss in the first trimester. And in fact, I went on to have three consecutive pregnancy losses that all ended in the first trimester.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And over what period of time.
Kinsey Jackson: This was about two years, I guess.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Mm hmm.
Kinsey Jackson: And unfortunately, in order for the medical system to acknowledge there’s a problem, you have to have three consecutive miscarriages.
In order to be diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss, you have to have three miscarriages in a row.
There’s some talk about changing that number to two. But by the time a woman has had three miscarriages, years can go by. Think of all that time you’ve lost.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And the emotions. I’m sure you thought, maybe I’m not fit to have a baby. I don’t want to try again. I don’t want to experience the anguish again. I don’t want to go through this again.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And the tension between you and your partner. I mean, this is a pretty personal question, Kinsey, but how was that with your partner having miscarriages and recurrent pregnancy losses?
Kinsey Jackson: I remember there was a lot of guilt, and I felt a lot of times like, “Oh, I’m just not fit for motherhood.” I felt like a failure as a woman, as a mother, I failed. But I remember when he went through that himself. When he found out he had low sperm counts, I remember him saying, I understand if you want to be with somebody else who can give you kids. And I think that’s really common to have that weigh so heavy on your heart and to feel so guilty, like this is my fault. But thankfully, we were really supportive of each other, and there was no blame in either direction.
But you can’t help but feel guilty and like a failure.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Your own self-antagonizing.
Kinsey Jackson: Right. Especially if you don’t have a diagnosis. It helps so much to have a name, a diagnosis, and to understand why this is happening.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: But for several years there, I didn’t know why I was having these losses. I didn’t know what was wrong. That really was what began that next part of my journey. Figuring out what to do next. Asking the question, what do I need to do to have a baby?
Dr. Ben Lynch: So did you know that in order to seek help for recurrent miscarriages, you had to have three? Like, once you hit that three, then you sought help? Or did you assume that you were seeking help after the first two as well? I mean, what happened there?
Kinsey Jackson: I had done a lot of research, and I knew about that number three. From my understanding, it’s just a common medical standard. Three is the definition of recurrent pregnancy loss. Three or more.
Dr. Ben Lynch: We put so much blame on doctors and health professionals for not helping us, but they have a system that keeps them confined.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah.
Dr. Ben Lynch: We blame teachers for not teaching our kids things in school, but the teachers are confined to a structure and a protocol. So we have to backup.
Sometimes instead of putting blame on the individual, we have to step back and look at the whole institution.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, three is a bit much. Hopefully, they do reduce that number to two.
Research & Support for RPL
Dr. Ben Lynch: OK, you’ve done all this research, and at this point, you already have your master’s degree in nutrition, right?
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: OK, and so you are quite knowledgeable. You know how to research.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Share with folks. What were you using to research?
Kinsey Jackson: A lot of it was just kind of poking around the internet. Joining Facebook forums where others are going through the same experience has been incredibly helpful for my journey. There are groups for recurrent pregnancy loss and fetal loss that you can join and hear from thousands of women with similar experiences.
Dr. Ben Lynch: No health professional wants you to have their patient come in and say, “Oh, I was on Google, and I found this. Can you do this for me?” There are all sorts of meems out on the Internet about, you know, patients coming in, and they’re consulting with Dr. Google. How dare they? They know more than me. Were you up against that?
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, absolutely. I tried to play it cool because you don’t want to anger your practitioners. But yeah, it can be hard having a medical background and walking into the doctor. There often seem to be two types of doctors. Some of them just shut you down, like, they don’t even want to hear it. In which case, a lot of times, I don’t even tell people about my medical background.
But there are other practitioners who are more open to having that conversation and listening to what I had to say. Some of the practitioners I saw gave me invaluable information along my journey.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Loss
Kinsey Jackson: But yeah, there was also a lot of resistance just because I’m the type of personality that I am. I wanted to run all the tests. And they would tell me, “We don’t think you need to run those tests.” I heard that a lot. And especially later on after I had my second-trimester loss. That’s the point where I was like, “I want this test and that test, and I’m not taking no for an answer.” And I came up against a lot of resistance from the MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) doctor that I was working with.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And why is that?
Kinsey Jackson: So, my second pregnancy, Junior, who I lost in the second trimester, his pregnancy and Milo’s pregnancy (my living son now)…their pregnancies were virtually identical. Down to literally the same due date.
I had a subchorionic hematoma (SCH) which is a large bleed in both pregnancies that developed at week 12. And for both pregnancies, I was told at first that it wasn’t going to work out. You’re going to lose the pregnancy. So go home and wait to have a miscarriage.
But every two weeks, I went back for another ultrasound. And there was still a heartbeat. There’s still a baby. The baby is growing. There’s still a huge bleed. So without getting into too many of the nitty-gritty details, what happened was around week 25, I developed an infection in my uterus, and I was very sick. I went to my MFM doctor, and she said, “The baby is dying. The baby is infected. You’re infected. You’re going to lose this baby.” And I did. Within the next 24 hours, I delivered him, and I got to hold him.
Ask to See the Placenta
Kinsey Jackson: But when I delivered the placenta, I said, “Hey, give that to me.” And I’m so glad that I asked the delivery doctor to see the placenta. They thought it was a little weird, but they gave me the placenta. And I’m looking at it, and there are clots all over it. I can see them with my eyes. And I knew at that moment that I had a clotting disorder.
Dr. Ben Lynch: It was that obvious.
Kinsey Jackson: It was very obvious to me. So I said, I want the placenta sent to pathology. And they were giving me a hard time about it, you know, whatever. So they sent my placenta to pathology, and the results came back with “multiple infarcts on the maternal side.” So, that confirmed that yes, I had blood clots, and they were on the maternal side, not the placental side.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Just to clarify, because that’s an important point. Can you clarify that again? Exactly what does that mean?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, the placenta is what nourishes your baby, and it connects to your uterus. If there are clots between the placenta and the uterus, blood and nutrients can’t make it from the uterus to the placenta to feed the baby.
It’s like a boulder in the way blocking life force.
And that’s why my baby was measuring small with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and low amniotic fluid levels (oligohydramnios). Because clots in the placenta were blocking off the flow of nutrients to my baby.
Blood Clots & Miscarriage
Kinsey Jackson: So after losing Junior, I asked my MFM, “Hey, test me for the blood clotting disorders, like, all the blood clotting disorders.” “Well, we already tested you for Leiden Factor Five and Factor Two, which are the two most commonly accepted blood clotting disorders in the community.” And I was negative for both of those. So, if I didn’t have Factor Five Leiden or Factor Two, then I didn’t have a blood clotting disorder, according to them. This was so frustrating because I knew in my heart that I did.
Dr. Ben Lynch: OK, so what did you do next?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, it was really traumatizing being in the hospital. Like I said, I just delivered my deceased baby at 25 weeks. I’m holding his little body, and the doctor walks in, and she says to me, “You’re never going to be able to carry a pregnancy. If you want to try to get pregnant again, which we don’t recommend, then you need to find a surrogate, and you need to do in vitro fertilization (IVF). You should never try to get pregnant on your own again.”
It was just so tasteless in that moment. I’m literally holding my dead baby. Not an hour has passed since I delivered him. And here I have this doctor telling me that I’m never going to have another baby.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Wow.
Kinsey Jackson: It was horrible.
Dr. Ben Lynch: I’m getting pissed.
Rainbow Baby Hope
Kinsey Jackson: I know, I’m sorry, I’m, like, tearing up. But something happened right after that. A big rainbow flashed across the sky, right after the doctor left the room. Just as I was just starting to believe, “It’s never going to happen. This is never going to happen for me.” A rainbow right outside of the window flashed across the sky. And in that moment, I just knew it was a sign. That I had to keep the faith for my someday rainbow baby, which is what they call a baby born after a loss. I had to keep trying. Honestly, I don’t know. If that rainbow wouldn’t have shown up, I don’t know if I would have kept going. I don’t know if I would have had the strength or the will to keep looking for answers. And I’m so glad that I did.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You know, after you saw that rainbow, you got determined to keep going.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Which is awesome. Thank you. Being in Seattle where there’s rain and sometimes sun to generate a rainbow.
Genetic Conditions Related to Recurrent Miscarriage
Kinsey Jackson: I can’t tell you how many practitioners I had to see before I found the right one. How many MFM, (Maternal Fetal Medicine) doctors I interviewed. Hematologists, Reproductive Endocrinologists, fertility specialists. I mean, it’s into the double digits easily before I found somebody that took me seriously.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So what did you do after that?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, being research-minded and having my science background, I went a little compulsive on researching. I spent days and nights studying and looking for an answer. I had to know why I lost my baby. These doctors weren’t going to give me my answer, so I was just going to figure it out.
I actually stumbled onto an article that you wrote, Dr. Lynch. And that article is why I’m sitting here today. It’s why I have Milo in my life, my rainbow baby. It absolutely changed my life.
So, you shared common genetic conditions in addition to Factor Five and Factor Two that can be related to recurrent pregnancy loss.
You had recommended for both the father and the mother to run:
- PAI-1 (Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor)
- ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme)
- Factor Five
- Factor Two
And that’s for the father and the mother. You also recommended for the mother:
- MMA (methylmalonic acid)
Test Both His & Her Genes
Kinsey Jackson: So I ended up …
Dr. Ben Lynch: For his and her.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: That’s an important point.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes. For both.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes, a very important point.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Because what happens when two people of different genetic makeups conceive a child, right? They are inheriting two different genetic makeup potentials, varying phenotypes or genotypes. So it’s important that you test both.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And so many people only test the woman.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right.
Dr. Ben Lynch: It’s so common. I’m telling you. It’s too common. And I was at fault for this, you know, someone would come to me back in the day when I did consults and say, “Oh, I’ve just got MTHFR. I’m heterozygous for C677T. I just have one copy. And it’s not that significant, but I keep losing my baby. I should have had the foresight to say, “Have you tested your partner? Because what your partner has could be contributing. Your baby could actually be potentially homozygous C677T.”
Whereas, yes, you could have one allele for C677T. It might reduce your methylfolate production by 20 to 30 percent. But the partner could be contributing the other allele. So now the baby’s homozygous.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah. It’s a problem that most practitioners don’t see.
Down the Research Rabbit Hole
Dr. Ben Lynch: Go and share with folks where you are today. Where you’re working, and also where that article will be for them.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes. What was really interesting is I knew you. I knew of you. I knew of Seeking Health. I did not know that the two of you were connected. So I figured it out the night that I stumbled across your article pulling an all-nighter. No, it’s not healthy for my genes, but I was so into it, just looking for more information. I went down the rabbit hole, got on Seeking Health’s website, and figured out the connection.
I read every blog that you’ve written and that Seeking Health had written. And what was interesting was I woke up the next morning, slept in, and there was a message in my LinkedIn inbox from Adam at Seeking Health. And I thought it was a bot. I thought, “Oh, weird. They saw me looking at their website all night. Like, that’s really creepy.” But it wasn’t a bot. It was the CEO reaching out to me saying, “Hey, we’re looking for somebody in Functional Medicine who writes. And I’m a writer, and I have my credentials in Functional Medicine. And I’m like, well, that’s me. So I started writing for you shortly thereafter, which was really ironic. And now, today, I’m the Editor-in-Chief of Seeking Health.
So really, that night of research led to so much. It changed my life in so many different ways. I’m very, very thankful that you published that information.
And maybe it’s different now because this was some years ago. But literally, at the time, you were the only person talking about these genetic factors that none of my doctors had ever mentioned to me.
PAI-1, MTHFR, ACE & Other Clotting Disorders
And of course, when I returned to the doctor with this list, like, “Hey, I want to be tested for Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor and Angiotensin Converting Enzyme.” They refused to test me, which I just thought, that’s crazy, right? Like, my insurance will pay for it. It’s not an issue there.
“Why won’t you test me? With my history? You saw the placenta. I saw it. There’s something going on!” But they just refused. So thankfully, I have a very cool naturopath, and I walked into her office with a list of tests that I wanted to run, and she ran them for me. She’s like, “I don’t know what these are.” I’m like, “That’s OK. I just need to run them. I’ll even look up the billing codes for you (the CPT codes).” And I did.
My results came back that I am heterozygous for MTHFR C6777T. But I’m homozygous for the PAI-1 4G/4G. I also have ACE D/D. And there are research studies out there connecting MTHFR, PAI, and ACE genetic variations to recurrent pregnancy loss.
I brought these studies to my doctor and still like, “No, we’re not going to treat you for that. It doesn’t play a significant role in pregnancy loss. Oh, I’ve heard of that. But, you know, that’s not something we treat. We really only treat Factor Five and Factor Two.” And I’m just thinking, this is crazy.
Dr. Ben Lynch: That’s that’s amazing.
Autoimmune, Blood Clotting Disorders & Miscarriage
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah. It really was. I also wanted to share the list of tests that I ended up running, you know, more than the blood clotting stuff.
A big cause of women’s recurrent pregnancy loss is underlying blood clotting disorders and autoimmune issues.
A lot of women have underlying blood clotting disorders that they aren’t aware of.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And there’s a lot of different types of them.
Kinsey Jackson: There are. But also, autoimmune stuff is huge, and immunity plays a massive role in pregnancy.
Thyroid Lab Tests
This is a list of lab tests to consider for diagnosing recurrent pregnancy loss. It starts with your thyroid panel. And that includes:
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid antibodies
Dr. Ben Lynch: The antibodies are very, very key. And, you know, if if you have thyroid antibodies, then that’s autoimmune.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And then that sets up women for other autoimmune issues as well.
Kinsey Jackson: Yes, it does.
Dr. Ben Lynch: If you’re having recurrent pregnancy loss and you’re not checking for that. You know, to me, a thyroid test is fundamental.
Kinsey Jackson: And most doctors do run that. The unfortunate part is they only look at your TSH levels.
Your TSH is not going to paint a full picture of your thyroid function.
You need all of these other tests as well.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So you’ve got to test the full thyroid panel.
Kinsey Jackson: You really do. And as it turns out, low thyroid function is commonly connected to infertility issues. So that just should be tested really before a woman even considers trying to conceive. She should know her thyroid status going in.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Well, and what’s the thyroid? It’s your metabolic regulator.
Kinsey Jackson: Right.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So if your thyroid is sluggish, your metabolism is sluggish. How are you supposed to, you know, keep yourself going, let alone grow an entirely new organ? Plus, you’re developing a whole new human from scratch during pregnancy.
Kinsey Jackson: And if your thyroid is borderline, well, if you do become pregnant, most women need to increase their medication dosage. If they’re on medication, they need to up their level of thyroid medication because there is that much more demand to grow a baby.
A borderline thyroid condition can become a full-blown thyroid dysfunction pretty quickly during pregnancy.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You’ve got to dial-in that thyroid.
Kinsey Jackson: You really do. First and foremost.
List of Lab Tests for Recurrent Miscarriage
Kinsey Jackson: The other tests for recurrent pregnancy loss include the following.
- Antiphospholipid antibody panel (including anti-cardiolipin antibodies)
Dr. Ben Lynch: What do they do?
Kinsey: They are antibodies that have been connected to antiphospholipid syndrome and recurrent pregnancy loss.
If you Google LabCorp recurrent miscarriage panel, they actually have a panel of lab tests related to recurrent pregnancy loss.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Brilliant. And that’s with what lab?
Kinsey: LabCorp. I think most major labs have it. Or you can just order all of the tests individually. But the ones we know are related to recurrent loss are:
- Antiphospholipid antibody panel
- Anti-cardiolipin antibodies, which are usually included in the antiphospholipid antibody panel
- Lupus anticoagulant
- ANA (antinuclear antibody), which mine was positive
- Protein C and Protein S
- Anti-SSA/Ro antibodies
Those were the main antibody tests from my research that are related to recurrent pregnancy loss. But we were also looking at my:
- MTHFR status
- Day 3 and day 21 female hormones. Testing your FSH, LH, and estradiol on day 3, and then testing your progesterone levels on day 21 of the same menstrual cycle. This can give you a good idea about where your hormones are sitting. Is there some sort of endocrine imbalance going on? That’s important for all women experiencing loss or even trying to optimize a healthy pregnancy.
- Testosterone levels
- Inflammation markers like the ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and C-Reactive protein test
Dr. Ben Lynch: Ok, my head’s spinning. So, this is why you’re here. Because you’ve lived this, and that’s a weird word to use for this situation. But you’ve experienced this incredibly difficult situation, and you’ve summed up years worth of research over this span of time that we’re sharing with folks. Sure. So we got to turn this into a resource guide.
Kinsey Jackson: Absolutely. I would love to.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. So we will do that for you folks. If it’s not in the show notes, it will be at some point. You know, because Kinsey has a lot on her plate.
Kinsey Jackson: Well, I do want to get these tests out to others. I think it will help so much. I don’t even know how many hours, like, hundreds of hours I spent researching this stuff. You should see my notes. I mean, I have spreadsheets, Google Docs for days.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Even if your resource guide isn’t perfect, you can just copy and paste this for now. And then, we will have it for free, and people can opt in to get it. When you have more time, and you want to polish it, they can get notified when you’ve made it more polished.
Kinsey Jackson: Great idea.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So we can do that.
Kinsey Jackson: I would love to get this information out to people. But, yeah, I feel so blessed that I have a science background. That I was able to do this research. I don’t know how women who don’t have any science background would come to this or figure things out. I probably wouldn’t have. But I’m a research nut, and I love this.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, me too.
To be honest, half the stuff that you’re saying, I have no clue what you’re talking about.
Kinsey Jackson: You know, it’s little known out there unless you really get into the infertility world and the autoimmune world, which I’ve been in for years now. But yeah, a lot of practitioners don’t know about it. And like I said, my naturopath was like, “I don’t know what these tests are, Kinsey.” And I’m like, “That’s OK. Run them anyway. Please.”
Kinsey Jackson: And just to finish out my list of labs to ask for:
- ApoE2 status
- Karyotype testing, which is pretty standard at IVF clinics or if you see a high-risk pregnancy doctor, they’re going to do karyotyping on you, which looks at the chromosomes and the likelihood of translocation or other chromosomal abnormalities in your embryo. You will likely receive genetic counseling to review your results.
- Vitamin D
- Hemoglobin A1C
Dr. Ben Lynch: Because we all know that D levels and insulin resistance and whatnot can all play into the health of your pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is absolutely a big problem and extremely common. And polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Kinsey Jackson: And then there’s also physical examinations to look for anatomic structural abnormalities in the uterine cavity (i.e. fibroids, polyps, bicornuate uterus, or other septum issues, etc.). These can include an SIS (saline infused sonogram), HSG (hysterosalpingogram), hysteroscopy, sonohysterosalpingogram, or transvaginal ultrasound.
Dirty Genes and Trying to Conceive
Kinsey Jackson: So like I said, I had my naturopath run these tests, and they came back. When I saw that I was homozygous for PAI-1 4G/4G, I just knew in my heart this was it. This is what happened. This is why I had lost Junior at 25 weeks gestational age.
I looked at the literature; it synched up. You know, other people have gone through this, too. And it just gave me so much, I guess, relief to know I wasn’t alone and to have a name for my condition. An explanation for my unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. It empowered me.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And it also it empowered you in a big way, because not only were you doing all these lifestyle and dietary changes, environmental changes, putting the work in, but you found a genetic component. Which was a major underlying factor in your situation. Now, was it the only factor? No, if you were still a vegetarian, if you had not changed your diet and lifestyle, if you didn’t have the supportive husband that you have, you know, that genetic factor would have been contributing even more.
Food and lifestyle are a major factor. But you put all that work in, so you cleaned all that up. So those dirty genes were clean, but there was still a dirty gene that was there.
There are eighteen thousand of them. You cleaned a lot of them up with Paleo. Yeah, but there were still some others that were dirty that needed to be cleaned up. But you had no idea what they were until you did genetic testing.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right.
Dr. Ben Lynch: So genetic testing has its point.
What I want to emphasize here is you don’t start with genetic testing. You do the fundamentals first.
You get that out of the way because you need to really understand, is that genetic variation, that genetic mutation a contributing factor? But the bigger one for you might still be your diet or your lifestyle, or maybe your partner is toxic in your relationship. But you had all that dialed in. So for you, it was really genetic at this point.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, it really was. And that’s empowering to know. One doctor I remember said to me, “Well, I don’t know why we want to run these tests because it’s not going to change the treatment outcome.” But that’s absolutely not true.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Nonsense, because if you identify a particular gene that’s dirty, then you identify with that. What does this particular gene do? What’s its job? And then, is it able to do its job? Then, what intervention can you do to support that thing? It’s like MTHFR’s job is to make methylfolate. That’s its job. You can bypass the issue by consuming more leafy greens or liver or supplementing with L-methylfolate. Simple.
Blood is Thicker During Pregnancy
Dr. Ben Lynch: So, for your PAI genetic mutation, what did you have to do?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, it’s a blood clotting disorder that inhibits the activation of plasminogen. But you really don’t even need to understand the mechanics of it. You just need to understand that, “Oh, my blood’s more likely to be more clotty.”
When you’re pregnant, your blood naturally becomes 5 to 10 times more clotty due to hormones. A small blood clotting disorder can become a problematic one during pregnancy.
Because of all the hormones, like both estrogen and progesterone can pose a blood clot risk. That’s why they say when you take birth control, you have increased risk factors for blood clots because of the hormones in the pills. So when you’re pregnant, naturally, your hormones are sky high anyway, and that increases your likelihood of clotting.
Pregnancy increases the thickness of your blood.
Lovenox vs. Baby Aspirin
Kinsey Jackson: So I wanted to take a blood thinner during my next pregnancy, if I was able to get pregnant again. And as it turns out, a lot of women out there take a low dose, prophylactic dosage of a blood thinner such as Lovenox or Heparin. And this isn’t like therapeutic doses. This is a prophylactic amount, like 40 milligrams of Lovenox is what I took.
I took Lovenox to just thin the blood a little bit in conjunction with a baby aspirin because each has a different mechanism of action.
Lovenox is thinning the maternal side blood. But the low-dose aspirin acts on the platelets and can help reduce blood clots in the placenta.
So they’re both recommended by doctors in the know.
I finally found a MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor that believed me and had been treating PAI-1 and other clotting disorders for years. He recommended that I take both Lovenox and low-dose aspirin simultaneously throughout the whole pregnancy.
Blood Thinners, Clots & Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH)
Kinsey Jackson: This was actually very scary and very controversial because in both pregnancies, I had a large subchorionic hematoma (SCH), which is a large bleed in the uterus. It seems very counterintuitive to give blood thinners to a person that’s actively bleeding, right? I saw multiple hematologists who said, “That’s crazy, don’t take blood thinners if you have a bleed.”
However, there is a subset of practitioners out there who believe that subchorionic hematomas (SCH) start from a clotting problem.
I asked this to four different hematologists, and actually two of them came back with the same analogy. “Well, I suppose it’s possible that a SCH could start from a clot. Because it’s similar to a stroke.” In your brain, if you have a clot and it blocks blood flow, that’s a clotting problem. That’s a stroke. But eventually that clotting problem will bleed out, which is also what you see in stroke victims. Essentially, the same thing is happening with the subchorionic hematoma (SCH). You have a clot, and eventually, that clot sort of explodes and bleeds all over. And that’s what a SCH is.
It’s scary to think about giving blood thinners to a bleed like that. I was terrified. Both pregnancies where I had a large SCH were terrifying. The second one probably even more so because I knew how bad things could go. But I went forth with the treatment. I gave myself injections of Lovenox every single day during that pregnancy along with low-dose aspirin. When I had an active bleed from the SCH, I stopped both. When the bleed subsided, I went back on both.
And I was doing other supplements as well that are known to have blood-thinning effects, like vitamin E and fish oil. It scared my doctors.
Find a Doctor Who Will Work FOR You
Kinsey Jackson: After I lost Junior, and after my MFM doctor told me she wouldn’t test me for blood clotting genetic conditions, I decided it was time to find a new doctor. I interviewed around and kept searching and finally found a wonderful maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doctor who is from Europe. So maybe he has a different perspective on things, but he was all on board with the Lovenox and the baby aspirin. And he told me that I needed to be on methylfolate, not folic acid. So thankfully, I was able to find somebody to work with. And his name is Dr. Daniel Gavrila, and he’s in the Seattle area.
Dr. Ben Lynch: How do you find him?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, after I’d lost my baby in the second trimester, they told me I had to do In vitro fertilization (IVF). I did go to an IVF clinic, Seattle Reproductive Medicine. They are really great there. I was actually preparing to do IVF. And literally the cycle before we were going to start IVF, I got pregnant naturally with Milo.
So I asked the doctors there. I said, “Listen, you guys know me. I want to be on Lovenox. This is what I’m going to do. Who do you know that will do this for me?” And one of the doctors there gave me the lead. So you’ve got to ruthlessly ask people. And thankfully, she was honest with me. She said, “Go try this guy.” And I did. And it absolutely changed the course of everything for me.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Because when you’re in an environment like that, they know people. And you have to utilize that network.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right. You’ve got to. It’s your best chance at finding a practitioner that will work with you and for you. You can’t be shy to utilize a network of resources. You have to be bold and ask. You have to be an advocate for yourself, just ruthlessly. You have to.
And actually, when I started out my pregnancy with my Milo, I was still seeing the same MFM that I had seen before when I lost Junior. And I had actually convinced my primary OBGYN to give me the Lovenox script first. So I told the MFM that I was on Lovenox, and she said, “I don’t want to hear that you’re on Lovenox. I didn’t want to test you for blood clotting disorders because you don’t have Factor Five or Factor Two. I said, “OK, you don’t want to hear that I’m on Lovenox? Because I am.” She’s like, “I don’t think you should be. And so if you are, I don’t want to hear about it.” And I thought, “Wow, you’re my doctor. I would think you would want to know that your pregnant high-risk patient is on blood thinners.”
So it became very clear to me at that moment that I needed to find a new doctor. And that’s when I set on the journey to find a new MFM. Unfortunately, I was already pregnant with this super sketchy pregnancy. There were lots of pregnancy complications, ranging from bleeding, to a low cervix, autoimmune and blood clotting issues, advanced maternal age, IUGR, low amniotic fluid, and more. So I’m really lucky that I found Dr. Gavrila when I did.
Firing Your Health Professional
Dr. Ben Lynch: And people need to take what you’re saying to heart because it is not easy to fire a health professional. No, because here you are. You use judgment to hire them to help you in the first place. And by you firing them, you’re also judging yourself, saying, I screwed up, and I picked the wrong doctor. So by staying with the very doctor who was not helping you, you’re trying to justify that you screwed up and made a wrong decision. But that is ultimately the better thing to do because we all make mistakes, and it’s not really a mistake. It just didn’t work out in this particular situation.
Look, everyone’s biochemistry is different and unique, and every health professional has their strengths and weaknesses, and you have to match up. You know, you’re not going to just marry any guy that walks into your life. You found the right guy.
You’ve got to find the right healthcare professional. And sometimes you have to fire them. You are ultimately in charge of the health professional that you are working with.
You cannot say, “Oh, I don’t like my health professional because they’re not listening to me. Well, you need to stand up and say goodbye and then go find a new resource. And that’s what you did. So kudos to you.
Kinsey Jackson: So glad I did.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You had to because you would not have Milo in your arms now.
Kinsey Jackson: No, I absolutely wouldn’t.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You wouldn’t. So, you know. Yes. That article I wrote helped you. Yes. Identifying those genetic variations helped you. But if you did not have the drive to keep going and pushing after all these health professionals were knocking your butt down, truly knocking you down, you still wouldn’t be holding Milo.
So you’re the one that got all this to happen with all your research. All I did was write a couple of articles and share them with people. And I’m glad I did because you wouldn’t be sitting here, and you wouldn’t be a mother.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, seriously.
Dr. Ben Lynch: But ultimately, you’re the one who put the work in. And I keep reinforcing this point because I know a lot of people are fearful to doubt their health professional because what they do, instead of doubting their health professional is wrong, is that they doubt themselves.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right. And so sad.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And because they’re the professional, not you. And they are the first one to tell you that.
Kinsey Jackson: Nobody knows everything. No one doctor has all the answers.
It’s up to each person, each patient, to take the bits and pieces from each provider that resonate true with you. And then leave the rest.
Like when that doctor told me that I was never going to have a baby, I decided to leave that behind. I’m not going to take that in. I’m not going to make that my reality. But I won’t lie. It hurt to hear that. It really hurt.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. Do you know Mel Robbins? She describes the five-second rule. If something is bothering you in life, what do you do? You don’t walk backwards. You walk forwards. Nobody walks with their head pointing in the opposite direction. But that’s where we’re living. We’re living in the past. But yet we’re walking forward. Mel Robbins, I loved her comment, you know, you got five seconds. Sometimes it’s five seconds. Sometimes that’s way too short. I mean, recurrent pregnancy loss, it takes more than five seconds. Yeah, but the point is, you got to let the past go and keep working to make the future better. That’s right. Yeah. You did it. And so you got the Lovenox, you got this new MFM, and you know what happened.
Medication & Supplements
Kinsey Jackson: Well, and I decided to hit it from all angles.
I knew from my research that recurrent pregnancy loss is often related to either a blood clotting disorder or an immune problem.
There are studies out there talking about hydroxychloroquine for improving pregnancy outcomes in women with lupus. And Western medicine is on board with that. So I was able to get a prescription for Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine), and I took it to moderate my immune system, to address any potential autoimmune issues I was having. And I took Lovenox and baby aspirin, along with an arsenal of different supplements throughout my entire pregnancy. I also did oral, vaginal, and then injections of progesterone starting each month we were trying to conceive (TTC) and into the second trimester of my pregnancy.
Some practitioners recommend starting Lovenox at ovulation every cycle you are TTC. And discontinuing it if you start your period until your next ovulation. This is to thin the blood slightly during the time that implantation would occur. This is thought to help the preimplantation state of the uterus, and potentially prevent a subchorionic hematoma (SCH) from forming in the first place.
Many practitioners recommend starting progesterone after ovulation every cycle you are trying to conceive.
Low progesterone levels can lead to miscarriage if hormones are not robust enough to support a pregnancy. It is important to wait until after you have ovulated. Taking progesterone earlier than this can actually interfere with or inhibit you from ovulating. Tracking your basal temperatures and ovulation signs is a good way to know when you have ovulated.
As you obviously know Dr. Lynch, Optimal Prenatal has methylfolate, the active form of folate that the body prefers, and not folic acid.† I took additional methylfolate and B12 per the recommendations of my new MFM. I also took alpha lipoic acid (ALA). There are researchers looking at the effect of alpha lipoic acid on subchorionic hematomas (SCH).† So I thought, what the heck, let’s try it. So I did that myself. A lot of my doctors were looking at me like we don’t know what these supplements are.
Dr. Ben Lynch: They don’t study nutrition.
Kinsey Jackson: No, they don’t. So I was kind of on my own, and that was really scary, too. I was sort of an N=1 experiment, but, you know, I went for it. I feel like if you do your research and there are people studying it, and enough studies have happened, like, I don’t need it to wait for 20 years until it’s considered evidence-based by Western medicine. So, I took vitamin E through my pregnancy and fish oil of course, and that made all my doctors nervous as well.
Dr. Ben Lynch: I was just going to ask, were you taking fish oil and vitamin E? Because they have blood-thinning effects, and you were already taking blood thinners.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah. And thankfully, it worked out for me.
Immune-Related Genetic Tests
Dr. Ben Lynch: Did you do a clotting test? Did they ever cut and see your clotting time?
Kinsey Jackson: No, I never did like a bleeding test, a clotting study time study. They ran my partial prothrombin time and that kind of thing. And all of that seemed to come back pretty normal. But what didn’t come back normal was the genetic tests I talked about.
I did have elevated levels of PAI in my blood when I tested that. And I did have elevated levels of ACE in my blood along with elevated levels of vitamin K. And I took these to the doctors, and they said, “We don’t know what to do with this information.” Even the hematologists.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And you did not look at the genetics of your immune system? You did not look at tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and interleukin (IL-10)?
Kinsey Jackson: No, I just kind of cut to the chase and was like, “Well, what can we do? Plaquenil. That’s immunomodulatory. It’s been studied at least a little bit in relation to RPL. Actually, some doctors I spoke with recommended that I was on prednisone instead. But there is some concern about the effect of prednisone on the fetus.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Did you ever look at your natural killer cell (NKC) levels?
Kinsey Jackson: No, that was my next step. There’s more research now being conducted about natural killer cells and the immune system. Yeah, and luckily, I don’t believe that was my issue. But I mean, who knows? But no, I didn’t look at that. That was my next step if my first phase of things didn’t work out.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, because if your natural killer cells are too high, that can become problematic.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right. There is literature talking about recurrent loss and NKCs. And some specialty clinics actually treating that out there.
Adenomyosis & Implantation
Dr. Ben Lynch: Ok, so you got all those supplements on board. You got the meds on board. You got the doctors on board. OK, and then Milo happened, but it wasn’t easy.
Kinsey Jackson: No, it wasn’t easy. It was a very sketchy, scary pregnancy where I was on bed rest from the start. And you can do all the things right. But at the end of the day, Milo still came early.
Through my infertility journey, it was discovered that I have a condition called adenomyosis. Some people think it’s autoimmune in nature, but it’s similar to endometriosis. Except instead of impacting the endometrial lining, it affects the muscular wall of the uterus, and it makes your uterus wall really thick. So you can imagine, if a pregnancy is trying to implant in the uterine wall, the thicker the wall, the more difficult it is to latch on.
So no matter all the great things that I did with my diet and whatnot, I still had kind of a crappy placenta form as the result of it having a difficult time latching on to my uterus. And I personally believe that my blood thinning efforts helped to get enough nutrition to the baby to sustain him.
Premature Delivery at 26 Weeks
Kinsey Jackson: But the exact same week that we had previously lost Junior, my loss at 25 weeks, I went to the doctor for a scan, and it showed that Milo was in distress. So they admitted me to the hospital on bed rest. The goal was to keep the baby in as long as we can. And it was very scary because it was right around the time of viability.
I knew what could happen at week 25, week 26, week 27. Those are the critical weeks of pregnancy where it’s going to make or break.
So I was admitted to the hospital, and they significantly upped the amount of blood thinners that I was on. And the doctor I was working with was so progressive. He was doing things that increased nitric oxide production and vasodilation to increase placental circulation and nutrients. Every night I was doing what’s called a protein bath. Well, that’s what I called it. He called it a hydrotherapy bath where I’d get into this big, deep, hot bathtub and chug a big protein shake right beforehand. And the thought was that being in the hot water dilates your vessels and helps deliver more protein to the fetus.
Dr. Ben Lynch: This reminds me of another gene that we did not talk about. It’s nitric oxide synthase three. This is very polymorphic in the population, meaning it’s very common. It’s been found in both genders, men and women, to have this gene not work.
As well, to produce nitric oxide, there are pros and cons of that. But if you have a combination of MTHFR, nitric oxide synthase three, PAI, and you have TNF alpha in there as well, and you have other folate genes, it’s a recipe that you really need to be knowledgeable about.
It’s not a recipe for disaster; it’s a recipe that you need to be knowledgeable about because you need to know what precautions that you need to take prior to pregnancy so you can prepare your body.
You know, everybody has this idea that genetic testing identifies faults and that you’re broken, and that you’re a problem. But genetic testing can pinpoint the exact areas we need to focus on.
Dr. Tom O’Brien said it beautifully. He said, “Think of genetic testing as having all these links on a chain together. They’re all linked together. And genetic testing shows you where this one link can be slightly thinner. Maybe it’s not as thick as the other ones. It’s still holding the chain together. But you’re not going to lay that one particular weaker chain link over a rock cliff. You’re going to position it in the area where it gets them a little more love and attention.” And that’s what genetic testing is. It just identifies where that link is for you so you can take more precautions.
And so, I’m pretty confident that there’s a nitric oxide synthase variation in you, Kinsey. That has something to do with your nitric oxide. And protein supports nitric oxide synthesis because arginine is what helps make nitric oxide. And so arginine is high in protein.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, wow. I was supplementing with arginine at the end of my pregnancy while I was in the hospital per the recommendation of my doctor.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Arginine can backfire, as you know. I remember when you and I were on the phone right before you were admitted to the hospital. With arginine, you have to be careful, as I discuss in the book Dirty Genes. If you’re taking arginine and you get nitric oxide, that’s great. But if you’re taking arginine and you’re not getting nitric oxide, you can actually make the condition worse. Especially if your antioxidant levels are too low. So if your iron levels are too low, oxidation is too high, you could actually be making the problem worse. So read that chapter in the Dirty Genes book. It’s a big one.
Kinsey Jackson: I’m definitely going to check that out for myself. I’m lucky that the interventions that we tried worked, or at least worked to keep him in long enough. Yeah, but my water broke at 26 weeks and 5 days, and he was delivered three months early, weighing one pound, ten ounces. He was the smallest baby in the Evergreen Hospital NICU! And I delivered him four days before my 40th birthday—I guess I forgot to mention earlier that I’m of, what they call, “advanced maternal age.”
And to circle back to the beginning, that’s why it was so scary to think that he was going to survive. I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I’m so grateful to Dr. Daniel Gavrila and EvergreenHealth for everything they did after he was born to keep my son alive during those critical weeks.
Dr. Ben Lynch: When I was talking with you on the phone at this point before Milo was born. I could hear in your voice, though, that you were like, “It’s going to happen.” It’s sketchy right now, but you still had confidence in your voice. I could hear it.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, I was determined.
Dr. Ben Lynch: And to be honest, I wasn’t. But I appreciated your confidence. I wasn’t about to say anything else, but I was nervous for you. And I was hopeful that it would work out. And, you know, you did all the right things that I know of as well. And you supported nitric oxide. You worked with a progressive doctor. You got even more blood thinners. I mean, you were doing all the right things, you know, in my book as well. I’m just super thankful that it all worked out.
Kinsey Jackson: I’m so thankful that it worked too. And I do attribute it to all the interventions that I took and this knowledge that I had. Because literally the two pregnancies (with Junior and then Milo) were exactly the same pregnancy, down to the same due date even! The subchorionic hematoma (SCH) was the same size each time, very large. The SCH developed in the same week of pregnancy for each one, around week 12. They found intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) in the same week, around week 25. I mean, side by side, if you were to compare them, even the doctors were like, this is eerie how similar these pregnancies are.
The Importance of Mindset
Dr. Ben Lynch: What was your mindset? Because as I shared a second ago, I heard you sounding you were scared. I mean, on the phone. But some people, when they’re scared, end up retracting and hiding. Others when they are scared, like you, are still confident and moving forward.
What was your mindset at that point when you’re told to bed rest and everything was lining up to the past pregnancy loss? What was your mindset at this point with, you know, with Milo?
Kinsey Jackson: Well, I remember several nurses asking me, “Why are you so calm? Most women in your position are freaking out and crying.” I was extremely calm and mellow and laughing the whole time. Because I knew that my mindset was a powerful medicine. Me freaking out or having any sort of stress wasn’t going to help the situation. It wasn’t going to help my baby. I needed to be strong for him.
If ever there was a time that I focused my energy to stay in the moment, it was during that time. I only let myself focus on the present moment, and it really helped.
Dr. Ben Lynch: What is stress? What’s what does stress due to blood flow?
Kinsey Jackson: Oh yeah. It can reduce it big time. So that wasn’t going to help the situation.
Dr. Ben Lynch: The sympathetic nervous system constricts blood flow. When a woman is stressed out—and ladies listening and husbands—it’s so important to be supportive and not freak out. But yeah. I ask that whole mindset question because it could have been your mindset along with these other things, too. Milo is here because of all the things that you’ve done. You could have done the Lovenox, and the arginine, and the protein baths, and all this stuff. But if you were freaking out…
Kinsey Jackson: I could have undone all that. Yes, exactly. And that’s what I thought, too.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right. So mindset matters immensely.
Kinsey Jackson: And it is not easy to be cool in a situation like that, especially when you’re in a hospital. You know, you can’t sleep because they keep you up all the time. They were having to monitor the baby 24/7 because he was so tiny. It was difficult to keep the monitor on me. So the nurses were constantly running into the room, thinking the baby’s dying. And so there’s just naturally a high-stress environment when…
Dr. Ben Lynch: You’re surrounded by doubters.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah, I was surrounded by doubters. And honestly, I don’t know why I had faith that it would work out this time. I just decided that I was going to keep the faith. Maybe it was that rainbow I saw after I lost Junior, and after my previous doctor told me I would never carry a pregnancy. To this day, I really do think that it was that rainbow.
So, Milo was born early, and he was the smallest baby in the NICU, and he lived three months there. And I lived there in the hospital with him. I set up my desk in the hospital room, and I did my best to carry on my usual routine.
What is incredible to me is that the day we finally got to bring him home….I kid you not; we saw three rainbows on the way home!
Dr. Ben Lynch: Oh, three, wow.
Kinsey Jackson: It was just like full circle the universe saying, “I’m so glad you kept going.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: You are a woman full of intention.
Kinsey Jackson: It was just, oh, man, it was really intense. This brings tears to my eyes, thinking about how full circle that was. And you’re right, Dr. Ben Lynch. I think that my attitude played a gigantic role during that critical time.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, it did.
Kinsey Jackson: And it’s not easy, you know. Who can blame a woman for crying and being upset and scared in a moment like that? But if ever there is a time to just not think about all the bad stuff that can happen and just focus on what you can do in this moment, it was then.
In that moment, I could focus on my breath.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Dr. Bruce Lipton has a video on this whole thing. You know, he’s what I consider a major influence on my work with epigenetics. But he says, I think it’s the psychology of love or the relationship between the mother and the baby where he said exactly what you did. You have to maintain calm. You have to be happy. Just the parent’s sympathetic, calm, and supportive system is what needed to happen at that point. And amongst among all of us, you still managed to do that.
Kinsey Jackson: To get zen on it. It’s not easy.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I think you got some you’re your husband’s fisherman skills, maybe for your strength and fortitude, perhaps.
Complications of Premature Birth
Kinsey Jackson: I’m just really thankful that everything lined up the way that it did. Yes, he was born early. And no, I didn’t carry a pregnancy to full term. But I carried him long enough. And then once baby is out in the world, you just pray to Western medicine that they have the technology to keep him alive.
And he did have issues. He had stage four ROP, retinopathy of prematurity, the leading cause of blindness worldwide in infants. And he had a hydrocele and a hernia and a heart murmur, and other issues. And that was all very scary, you know. But again, I went and started doing my research. And I found that some researchers are studying vitamin A for retinopathy as prematurity. And of course, I don’t want my baby to be a science experiment, but I decided to use some Vitamin A Drops on him to see if it helped. And I don’t know if that’s what was it or if it was something else. But his ROP went into remission about a month later.†
He was scheduled to have surgery for his hernia and hydrocele, but it was canceled due to the current climate of events. We couldn’t do surgery because they had canceled all surgeries. So I just kept giving him breast milk fortified with Probiota Infant. And the hernia and the hydrocele went away on their own. No surgical intervention required.†
So I don’t know if his body just healed itself or if any of these interventions had an effect at all. But, it’s amazing, you know, that there are options out there when we think that there isn’t anything we can do.
There are always things we can do to be proactive.
I don’t think people should supplement without talking to their doctors first. I’m lucky to have doctors and brilliant people in my life that I can bounce things off of and get advice. And, you know, sometimes our solutions aren’t going to be from the doctor’s mouth. A lot of times, we’re going to have to be an advocate and find those answers ourselves.
How to Respect Your Doctor’s Time
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s more often than not. I think more often than not, you have to be your own advocate for your own health. And then, you use the health professional to support you in that journey. But ultimately, it is your responsibility to define what’s going to work for you. Because no health professional is going to know what works best for you better than you. You know, they will help you and prevent you hopefully from doing something stupid. But you did all that groundwork because, frankly, no health professional has the time to be able to figure you out as well.
Kinsey Jackson: Which is unfortunate. You want to believe that your doctor will read what you hand them. My mom walks into doctor appointments with a giant stack of medical records, all of her past labs from her whole life. I’m like, “You think the doctor’s going to read all that?” No, they are not. They don’t have time.
That’s why I advocate for patients to have a one-page summary of important medical facts of their history, and any important diagnoses and important medications that you’re on.
Mine is one page, front and back. And so many doctors have told me, “Thank you so much for this. This just made my life so much easier.” And I feel like I’ve gotten better care by having that one-page summary.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Because you’re considerate of their time, right? No health professional wants to come in and read labs that are, you know, fifteen years old and four hundred pages of it.
Kinsey Jackson: That’s right.
Dr. Ben Lynch: I’m one of them. And I’m not heartless. You just have to be efficient with your time. It has to be relevant. So by you preparing your medical history for your doctors, that is of massive importance. Everyone should have something like this. Because if you get on their good side, you’re going to get better care.
Just yesterday, some guy came to build my son’s trampoline for his birthday. And I’ve built trampolines too many times. So I said, screw it, I’m not going to build this next one. I’m going to hire someone to build it and be there and surprise him. And it worked. He was so tickled he couldn’t believe it. But the guy we hired was so grumpy. He was just toxic. You could feel his negative energy. I was like, “Man, I don’t want this energy at my son’s party. You’re building my son’s birthday present, and it’s supposed to be a joyous occasion.” So I was like, “Hey, man, you need any help doing anything?” No. Grumpy. And so he needs some water. And so we finally said, “Look, you know, I’m going to move this stuff out of the way to make your job easier. My other boy came and helped me take care of it, and then his mood lifted, and he was a little bit better because he thought he had to do all this other stuff too.
So, if you can get in there and reduce the workload on whoever you’re working with, yeah, it’s going to make for a better relationship. And this guy we hired to build the trampoline, when we offered him just a bit of help, his energy just turned around. And so it’s going to be the same with your health professionals.
Kinsey Jackson: I totally agree.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Trampoline or recurrent pregnancy loss. You’ve got to reduce the workload on your health professional.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah. You want them in your good graces.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. And you got to increase the workload on your own.
Kinsey Jackson: I think the biggest take-home point for me is that if I wouldn’t have been an advocate for myself, if I hadn’t been proactive, I wouldn’t have had the success that I had.
If I had listened to that doctor who said you can’t, I would have just given up. And I wouldn’t have known that, oh, this is actually possible.
But I had to put in the work. And as hard as it was in retrospect, it really wasn’t that hard. It just took time and effort. And if I would have had a resource like the one I’m going to put together for the show notes here, with a list of lab tests to run, it would have been a lot easier.
Books by Kinsey
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right. I see a future book even though I know you just came out with a new Paleo Instant Pot cookbook.
Kinsey Jackson: Maybe you can help me with that. That could be fun. And yes, this is the second Paleo cookbook I’ve published. It’s called: The Paleo Instant Pot Cookbook for Beginners: Pressure Cooker Recipes Made Clean.
My first book is also great for beginners to the Paleo diet who want a quick start guide. It’s called: The Paleo 30-Day Challenge: A Paleo Cookbook to Lose Weight and Reboot Your Health.
And since we discussed the importance of dialing in the thyroid for pregnancy, I wrote a book to help you do that called: The Thyroid Reboot: How to Understand and Support a Healthy Thyroid – A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Help Support Your Thyroid, Health and Wellness.
Dr. Ben Lynch: That project sounds good. And congratulations on all of your books.
Keep Seeking Answers
Kinsey Jackson: Thank you. So, the big points that I want people to walk away with today are, first, the understanding that if you’ve had recurrent pregnancy loss, you’re not alone. People don’t talk about it enough.
Recurrent miscarriage is a silent epidemic. So many women are suffering alone, and they don’t speak about it.
They’re ashamed, or they’re embarrassed, or it’s just taboo to talk about. More people need to speak up about this.
You know, once you start talking about it, you realize, oh, you’ve had a miscarriage too. And you too. So many women out there are suffering alone. So what I want to say is that I’m so sorry for your loss(es), but please don’t give up.
Keep the faith. Keep looking for answers. Your answers are out there.
And I fully believe if you have the intention and the will, you will find the answers. You have to be an advocate for yourself. And if some doctor or person says no, then find somebody else to work with. Just keep seeking. Keep seeking until you find it, and you will.
And I think the universe tests us to see how serious we are. By giving us a bunch of dead ends at first. And it’s like you’ve got to be like a tenacious rat in a maze, right? You come up against a dead end. It’s like, oh, not that way. OK, you’re not just going to stay at that dead end and be like, “Oh, poor me. I can smell the cheese, but I can’t get it.” No, you hit that dead end, and then find another path, and hit another dead end, and then find another path. Just keep going and keep searching. And if you keep searching, you will find your answers. They are out there. But we have to be advocates for ourselves, and we have to push and do the research. And it doesn’t even have to be that heavy of research. We just have to be willing to stand up for ourselves and ask for what we need, and get the tests. And if they won’t give it to us, find someone that will.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Exactly. If you don’t have the ability to do the research or even know where to start, we will have a reference guide for you.
But yeah, you just need to ask. The more people you ask, the more likely you’re going to get somewhere. Ask wherever you go. There are experts in that area. You’re going to find some experts that you like. Oh, I just wasted three months of your time. No, you just found out that that is one more expert that is not suitable for you. You did not waste your time. You just found out that they weren’t right. So now you need to find someone else. And it is a journey.
And one thing I want to talk about, you know, you mentioned your intention and mindset. Mindset is so, so important, especially when there’s so much negativity and so much doubt. You could have doubt from your partner. You get doubt from the health professionals. You get doubt from your significant other’s family members, friends, and family.
It’s tough to have a positive mindset. But it’s a strong asset.
Kinsey Jackson: Yeah. And the will to keep going. So many people said, “Give up, Kinsey, stop trying. My family was like, “Don’t do this. It’s too dangerous. You just need to adopt.” Well, that would have been great too, you know, and I would have happily adopted a baby. But nobody else gets to tell me what I can and cannot do.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: I’m just really glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers. And I’m glad that I have a scientific background because I think it gave me the power and knowledge to find my solution. But I, I just think about, jeez, all these women out there who maybe don’t have a scientific background, or they are unsure about how to do research, and then they have one doctor tell them it’s not going to happen and then that’s it.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right.
Kinsey Jackson: They give up, and that breaks my heart. And that’s I guess what I want to get across today is that there is hope.
There is a rainbow after the storm.
We just have to keep going and keep the faith.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Well, really said it loud and clear. And I think you’re going to change. a lot of families lives out there. A lot of women’s lives and future babies are going to be born because of it.
Kinsey Jackson: I really hope so. Thank you so much, Ben, for the role that you’ve played in all of this. I am so grateful to you.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, well, my pleasure. And I’m grateful that we connected and that you joined the Seeking Health team. And now for sharing this very, very powerful story, which is at the heart of Seeking Health where optimizing lives is our company mission. Because ultimately, what we strive to do is optimize the lives of unborn children.
Kinsey Jackson: So absolutely right. Thank you Dr. Lynch.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Thank you Kinsey.
Special Bonus >>> Kinsey put together a resource guide for those struggling with recurrent pregnancy loss. It’s packed with invaluable information for you and your doctors. Download it free by clicking here.
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†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
‡ This information is for educational purposes only. No product results are implied.