Pregnancy is a time filled with many emotions, with the prospect of a new addition to the family, comes hope and anticipation for the incredible changes that are about to happen, anxiety at the changes taking place within your own body, and of course concern for the health of your new baby.
When a pregnancy results in miscarriage however, the family is often left completely devastated. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss. Studies have shown that 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
The most common causes of miscarriage include chromosomal errors, the improper implementation of the egg within the uterus, and/or structural deformities in an embryo that prevent its further development. No matter how it happens, the loss of a baby is never easy. But when you and your partner decide to try again, it is important to ensure that both of you are emotionally and physically ready to start trying again.
So how can Chinese medicine and acupuncture help?
The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture help promote circulation to the uterus, support healthy egg maturation, and ensure healthy uterine lining, thereby enhancing your chances to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Following conception, acupuncture and herbs can prevent miscarriage by promoting overall health and proper circulation throughout the body, ensuring that essential nutrients are passed from mother to baby. In addition, acupuncture assists the body to manage stress better and reduce anxiety.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is produced during pregnancy by the cells that form the placenta. HCG can first be detected by a normal blood test 11 days after conception, and after 12-14 days when given a urine test. HCG levels should double every 72 hours and will reach their peak in the 8th to 11th week of pregnancy. They will subsequently decline and level off for the remainder of the pregnancy. In early pregnancy HCG levels for pregnancy should consistently rise. If levels decline or increase at a low rate the pregnancy will likely result in miscarriage. HCG levels may continue to remain in the blood for 4-6 weeks after the loss.
Progesterone helps to build the lining of the woman’s uterus for the fertilized egg to implant. Once conception occurs, the placenta continues to produce progesterone for the duration of the pregnancy. Pregnant women have 10 times more progesterone in their blood during pregnancy. Levels of progesterone continue to increase right up to birth. Low or declining levels of progesterone during any part of pregnancy indicate the potential for miscarriage. Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy when performed by a qualified practitioner. As with any health practitioner you seek during pregnancy, ensure that your practitioner is comfortable with treating pregnancy related conditions and avoids the use of acupuncture points that aggressively move qi and blood in your system. Chinese herbs are essential in moving energy upwards, promoting circulation towards the uterus, and supporting progesterone.
If a miscarriage has not occurred naturally, a small surgical procedure is completed called a ‘D and C’ (Dilation and Curettage), in which the cervix is dilated and the uterine lining is scraped away. It takes the body 4-6 weeks to readjust to the change in hormones and produce your first period. HCG takes 4-6 weeks to clear the blood stream and ovulation will not occur if high levels of hCG are present. Starting regular acupuncture treatment immediately after a ‘D and C’ will encourage recovery, reduce anxiety, help you manage stress better physically and mentally, and speed up the decline of hCG in your system, setting your system back to normal. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be an excellent alternative as well as an adjunct to other treatments to increase your chances of conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. By reducing stress, and anxiety, and promoting proper circulation to the uterus, acupuncture and Chinese medicine help ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy. With little or no side effects you owe it to yourself to give it a try!