Affecting over a fifth of pregnant women, there’s often little information available about what went wrong in the case of miscarriage. In Canada, this translates to over 100,000 in a single year and that is only including those from known pregnancies. Further statistics tell us that potentially 70% of all pregnancies could result in miscarriage, with either a failure to implant or implantation with a failed pregnancy. Clearly a miscarriage is always a difficult time, as it is a very real loss that will affect us physically, mentally and emotionally. These factors can be compounded, especially if it has become a pattern and is seen as recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
A focus of treatment always includes an effort to address the needs of the Heart and to aid in alleviating any negative emotions or thought processes that may be interfering in our overall health. Also, we will explore physiological reasons, whether it is a thyroid issue, immune response, male factor or other.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, this can be connected to several different patterns and so an intense investigation of concurrent symptoms and reproductive history is necessary to distinguish the correct pattern of disharmony. Given that miscarriage can be a result of genetic abnormality, infection, diabetes, immune system responses, hormone problems, lifestyle and so on, there is really no common pattern or approach, and the best response is to explore each situation individually and to come up with a treatment plan that best addresses the needs of each specific patient.
How can Acupuncture and TCM help?
1. Treatment can address the needs of the spirit, with two to three months of treatment after a miscarriage to heal the heart and prepare the body for another pregnancy. Chinese medicine is very effective for soothing emotions, balancing hormones, promoting blood circulation and regulating the immune system.
2. In Being Fertile, Dr. Pentland says
Acupuncture regulates immune function required for implantation and preventing miscarriage. Too much or too little immune response may result in repeated implantation failure”
. For women who live with immune response conditions, regulation should be an important health goal.
3. We can help to optimize overall and reproductive health to create the best possible environment for a successful pregnancy.
4. Acupuncture can improve sperm parameters and potentially alter the epigenetics of sperm cells.
Acupressure For daily Home Application:
Acupressure is a useful and accessible way to treat yourself at home or on the go. Apply pressure on the point with middle finger or thumbs, moving in a circular motion for about 1 minute 3 or 4 times a day on both sides. If you find that your fingers are getting weak or sore, you can substitute a golf ball, pencil eraser or other object.
DU20 – Governing Vessel 20 – BaiHuai “One Hundred Meetings”
On the apex of the head, this point is is commonly used in clinic for brightening the mind, clearing the head, and helping with sleep. It also has the special function of lifting Qi.
Take home tips:
1. Eliminate coffee and alcohol, and reduce dairy and red meat consumption. These have been associated with higher homocysteine levels, which may contribute to miscarriage. To lower homocysteine levels, doctors recommend taking a combination of Folic Acid (400-1,000 mg per day); B6 (10-50 mg. per day) and B12 (50-300 mg per day).
2. Avoid stress and implement strategies to manage stress better (meditation, music, therapy, etc.)
3. Get support with good friends or counselling and nurture activities and habits that bring joy and positivity in your life.
4. Don’t forget that you and your partner are in this together – Lean on each other.
5. Explore the possibility of PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) – a new advancement that may play a key role in preventing miscarriage.
6. Consider extensive blood work to rule out hormonal disruptions and any immune response