Miscarriage is a word that brings dread to the hearts of women who wish to become pregnant. It’s not uncommon or unexpected, therefore, that expectant or soon-to-be mothers would find themselves researching ways to prevent it. It would not be any surprise, either, if acupuncture pops up in the search results. But one may ask: Is acupuncture truly effective? Can acupuncture help to prevent miscarriage?
Miscarriage, as defined by the non-profit healthcare advocacy organization Mayo Clinic, is the ending of a pregnancy before it reaches its 20th week. It is also known as “spontaneous abortion”. When a pregnancy fails during this time, it is because the fetus can no longer survive within the mother’s body. At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we go to great lengths to help our patients learn how to prevent miscarriage and go on to have a healthy baby.
Common Causes of Miscarriage
There are several factors that may cause miscarriage. More than half of all miscarriages are known to be caused by genetic problems in the baby – that is, the baby may have too many or too few chromosomes, or its chromosomes may be damaged. Once present, damage or abnormality in the baby’s chromosomes cannot be reversed, generally, but it may be possible to prevent it in the first place. Since the risk of it occurring increases as the mother grows older – in particular, after the mother passes 35 years of age – it is very important to offer preventive care to women who wish to conceive after age 35.
Another common cause is pre-existing health problems in the mother. For example, conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune or blood clotting disorders have been known to increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Certain medicines, such as chemotherapy treatments, may affect not only the development of the fetus, but also the mother’s fertility.
There are also environmental and lifestyle factors to consider. Pregnant women are advised to avoid stress and polluted spaces, and to abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol completely.
It’s commonly acknowledged that if a mother is healthy, the baby stands a greater chance of developing and being delivered in a healthy manner. However, if a mother is in any way unhealthy, her pregnancy may be more at risk. And for far too many mothers, the cause of their miscarriage is unknown.
That is why it is important to keep mothers healthy on all levels by making sure that they have the nutrients, rest and support that they need. In short, ensuring that they get the right supplementary care.
“Supplementary care” provides care that complements standard medical treatments, and does not impede in its effectiveness. The usual medical treatments for prenatal care may include regular prenatal checkups, having routine tests, taking vitamin supplements (e.g. folic acid), and managing diet and exercise. Supplementary care may focus on the mother’s symptoms, feelings, and overall well-being.
An example of such supplementary care is acupuncture, which helps support the mother’s physical functions, including ensuring essential hormones production and good pelvic blood flow. Acupuncture can also reduce unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, such as migraines, nausea, heartburn, and back pain – thus reducing stress for the mother.
There are several known causes of miscarriage that acupuncture can help with. Hormone levels can be supported with acupuncture treatments, improving the body’s ability to hold a pregnancy. Blood circulation or clotting disorders can be improved with acupuncture treatment, increasing healthy blood flow to the uterus to ensure that baby gets enough nourishment. Immune issues where the body rejects the embryo can be prevented with acupuncture treatments aimed at regulating immune function. Inflammation causing failure of embryo implantation can be minimized with regular acupuncture treatments. And, while acupuncture can’t fix genetic issues, it can help promote the highest egg quality so that the possibility of genetic abnormalities is reduced.
Each of the above conditions can be managed effectively with acupuncture, in addition to your doctor’s care. Acupuncture never gets in the way of conventional prenatal care, but can be a great support alongside it to help your pregnancy stay healthy.
Acupuncture has been proven to help promote wellness, decrease stress, and reduce pain – undoubtedly useful for new mothers, especially those undergoing high-risk pregnancies. Can acupuncture help to prevent miscarriage? We at Portland Acupuncture Studio have dedicated our practice in large part to helping women prevent miscarriage. We can help answer this question in greater detail for your unique circumstances. For more information, visit our website at www.pdxacustudio.com or call us at (503) 227-4050.