Acupuncture for Miscarriage Recovery: A Light in the Darkness

When you’ve had a miscarriage, feelings of grief and isolation can be overwhelming. It’s common to feel like you’re carrying around a broken heart that you can’t talk to anyone about. Other losses have their own support groups and recovery programs, but having a miscarriage can feel like you have no one to go to, almost like it’s not a ‘real’ loss. Your friends might say well-meaning things like “Don’t worry, these things happen. It’ll work next time.“ Your doctor offers kindness and care during the miscarriage itself, but then just tells you to call when you’re pregnant again. What do you do in the meantime with the profound grief, and a body that hasn’t felt the same since? It’s so easy to feel alone and uncertain about what to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again. How do you recover from a miscarriage?

Acupuncture Can Help

When you go to an acupuncturist whose expertise includes helping women recover from pregnancy loss, you will feel heard and supported. Acupuncture can help your body recover from the loss, help your hormones rebalance and your cycles return to normal, and can even help your heart grieve in a safe, supportive environment.

Rose’s Miscarriage Recovery

I remember meeting Rose after her third miscarriage. She’d had two D&C’s and one natural miscarriage in the past year and a half. She was anemic and exhausted from the blood loss she experienced, and her cycles had never been regular since. She just felt ‘off’. Most intense for her was the fear that she would burst into tears if she saw a pregnant woman at the grocery store. She was depressed, didn’t see her friends with kids as often anymore, and every time she thought about getting pregnant again she’d be gripped with anxiety. Her friends and family had stopped asking her how she was doing, and she felt like she should be “over it” by now. But she wasn’t.

She told me all this, crying, during our first session together. I told Rose that I could help her body and her heart recover, and also help her become ready to try again—but that it would take some time. For three months she came in regularly for acupuncture and massage sessions. Sometimes she cried through the sessions, other time she slept. Sometimes she talked about how she felt; sometimes she needed to be quiet. I was present with her each time.

I gave Rose Chinese herbs to help her cycles regulate, and acupuncture to bring more blood flow to her uterus and ovaries. After a few cycles, she and her partner felt recovered enough to be ready to try again. I continued to give Rose acupuncture and Chinese herbs regularly to help support her while she was actively trying. Three months later, Rose was pregnant again. She was very anxious early on. She came in for weekly treatments during the first trimester to help support the pregnancy, and shared with me how nervous she was. Rose couldn’t sleep the night before her first ultrasound, but that one, and the three others that followed, were all normal. Her son Mitchell was born healthy, at term, with a full head of hair. It took some work, but Rose said it was all worth it when she saw his beautiful face.

Rose is not unique. There’s so much that can be done to support your body and your heart after miscarriage. Many other health-care modalities have you just wait until you’re pregnant again, and then hope for the best. Acupuncture is safe to use soon after a miscarriage, and is one of the few treatments that can offer you active, effective support right away. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are gentle effective treatments to bring you from a state of devastation and loss into a place of hope and renewal. You don’t have to feel alone, just waiting to be ready to try again with no way of knowing if it will be different next time. With the help of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, you can feel guided into your next steps towards recovery and go on to have the family you dream of.

Miscarriage Self-care

If you’ve had a miscarriage in the past 6 weeks, there are some simple things you can do at home, based on Chinese-medicine principles, to help you recover. Try these simple things, and, when you’re ready, contact an acupuncturist who specializes in miscarriage recovery to help you do even more.

1. Use heat on your lower abdomen for 15 minutes once or twice a day to support healthy blood flow to your uterus.
2. Using a massage oil infused with lavender, do gentle clockwise, circular massage on your belly to help regulate your hormones and improve blood circulation. Take some time to do this in a quiet place, to help you connect with your body and say good-bye to your baby.
3. Do light acupressure massage on the following points for 3-5 minutes each, twice a day, to rebalance your hormones, improve circulation to your uterus, and balance your emotions:

Pericardium 6 – Three finger widths up from your inner wrist crease, in between the two tendons

Spleen 4 – On the inner side of the foot (not the bottom) near the arch, about 2 fingers up from the bone at your big toe

Conception Vessel 17 – At the center of the breastbone, about level with the nipples

4. Drink Gouji berry tea once daily to support good blood quality and strengthen your hormones. Gouji berries can be found in bulk at health food stores. Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon Gouji berries. Steep for 7 minutes. Drink the tea, and eat the berries when you’re done.
5. Drink Tulsi tea once daily to calm your nervous system. Tulsi tea can be found in tea bags at health-food stores. Drink one cup per day during times when you most need emotional support.  Check with your doctor about taking herbs before you start trying to get pregnant again.

Help After Miscarriage

Helping women recover from miscarriages and go on to have healthy babies is one of my missions. I feel called to help every woman who miscarries feel less alone, more supported, and more balanced on their path to getting pregnant again. Please contact me with any questions about how I might assist you during this time. There is hope, and I am here to help you.

Lisa Tongel, Licensed Acupuncturist

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

Photo by Yousef Alfuhigi

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.