Can Acupuncture Prevent Miscarriage?
According to the most recent data, about one in seven pregnancies ends in miscarriage. This affects about 11% of women and gestational carriers. Chances are, you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage. The heartbreak of pregnancy loss can be devastating, and getting support to prevent miscarriage is essential.
Risk Factors and Causes of Miscarriage
There are many risk factors for miscarriage, some of which are, unfortunately, out of our control – like age, race, or genetics. But we may have more control over other factors, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, high stress, thyroid conditions, and exposure to environmental toxins. Improving your diet and eliminating nicotine and alcohol use before pregnancy can go a long way towards preventing miscarriage. Risk factors are not causes of pregnancy loss, though. There is more to learn about possible causes so that you understand what you can do to prevent miscarriage.
The current understanding is that the majority of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal problems. Some medical conditions are also known causes of miscarriage. For example, certain infections, having an overactive immune system, thyroid imbalances, blood clotting disorders, or problems with the uterus itself can cause miscarriage. Environmental factors may play a role in pregnancy loss, like second-hand smoke or lead in water pipes. Some medications and certain types of food poisoning are also associated with miscarriage.
Since there are so many factors, and some of them are unknown, it is important to get support during pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Acupuncture is one known source of support to reduce miscarriage risk and improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
There are many studies showing that acupuncture helps improve pregnancy rates and birth rates, especially among patients using IVF. An important way that acupuncture can help maintain a healthy pregnancy is by reducing stress. Acupuncture is well known for reducing stress hormones and inducing a parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state.
Acupuncture can also significantly improve pelvic blood circulation. This allows the uterine lining to be a thick, “fluffy” space for the embryo to implant in. Regular treatments also help prevent blood clots or issues with blood flow to the placenta.
Acupuncture is also helpful in regulating hormones, which can help with patients experiencing low hormone levels, thyroid dysfunction, or PCOS. It can help regulate the immune system, preventing immune attacks on the pregnancy. It can also reduce uterine contractions in early pregnancy (conversely, acupuncture is well known for increasing uterine contractions during labor and delivery). Acupuncture has many benefits and is gentle and safe during all phases of pregnancy.
When Do I Start Treatment?
We recommend starting acupuncture about three months before trying to conceive so we can improve hormone balance, blood flow, and egg quality. Having high-quality eggs reduces the chance of pregnancy loss due to chromosomal abnormalities.
If you are already pregnant, we recommend weekly acupuncture during the first trimester and beyond to keep all the systems healthy and to help alleviate pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, breast tenderness, fatigue, back pain, heartburn, and constipation.
Whether you’re planning to become pregnant or are already pregnant, we would love to be part of your care team to support you and your baby. Contact us today to learn more about how acupuncture can help you have a healthy pregnancy.