Miscarriage refers to the loss of pregnancy before the embryo or fetus has developed to the stage when it will survive. When one’s pregnancy goes wrong, all the joy, excitement, and anticipation become guilt, devastation, and sorrow. Miscarriage happens for many reasons, and yet, there are ways to prevent it. Acupuncture can be one source of help in miscarriage prevention, whether you have had one miscarriage or several.
“For women presenting with threatened miscarriage, it is known that 50-70% women who miscarry do so due to chromosomal abnormalities, but it is unknown what percentage of the remaining women, miscarrying for unidentified reasons, could be aided by therapeutic interventions such as supportive care and acupuncture to maintain a successful pregnancy.” source
How can acupuncture help prevent miscarriage?
We don’t yet know every cause for miscarriage. But the ones we do know of can be supported with acupuncture.
As mentioned above, it is believed that many miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus or embryo. Current research is considering whether some of these abnormalities may be able to be repaired by the body in the very early stages of embryo development.
We don’t know yet, but there is some promising evidence that suggests that it may be possible, given the right circumstances. Since acupuncture is able to support the optimal functioning of the body overall, we may find that it plays a role in helping the body repair abnormalities before they become devastating.
Prior to becoming pregnant, it is also possible to have acupuncture treatments specifically to enhance ovarian circulation and function, which can improve egg quality, so that the chances of genetic abnormalities is reduced well before conception.
If weak hormone levels are causing miscarriage, acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments before and during pregnancy can be of significant help in improving hormone production and regulation, helping prevent miscarriage. You can get hormone testing done by your OB/GYN to determine if this may be an issue for you.
Another cause of miscarriage involves reduction of healthy uterine blood flow to the pregnancy, causing it to fail. Since acupuncture is well known to enhance circulation to pelvic organs, and throughout the body overall, acupuncture is an excellent treatment to support blood flow to the pregnancy. Sometimes this poor blood flow is caused by a clotting disorder, and in that case, conventional medical treatment along with acupuncture treatment is important, and can be very effective.
In some cases, miscarriage is caused by an overactive immune system attacking the pregnancy. Acupuncture treatments can help regulate the immune system to prevent rejection of the embryo by the body. The involves treatment over the entire pregnancy, in conjunction with your prenatal care providers, to ensure that the pregnancy stays safe.
In other cases, a growth in the uterus, such as a polyp, fibroid or septum, is preventing pregnancy from getting past a certain point. This can be due to diminished blood circulation, interference with implantation, or increased uterine or pelvic inflammation. While these masses generally require surgery to remove, in some cases, when the masses are small, acupuncture can help the body adapt to their presence, and still allow you to go on to have a healthy pregnancy.
If miscarriage happens and surgery is recommended to remove the mass, acupuncture treatments can help you make a quicker recovery, so you’re ready to try again soon. Most people with masses go on to have healthy pregnancies after the mass is removed.
How important is acupuncture during the different trimesters of pregnancy to prevent miscarriage?
Since we don’t always know the cause of miscarriage, it is important to be treated throughout the entire pregnancy to ensure health at every stage of development. Acupuncture treatments are ideally started prior to conception to provide a healthy start from egg and sperm quality forward. When that is not possible, coming in for treatment as soon as you know you’re pregnant is best.
Acupuncture has been shown to be very safe in pregnancy, with very few, minor complications, such a bruising and localized discomfort. (source) This makes acupuncture a very safe addition to your prenatal care to support pregnancy health and help prevent miscarriage.
Weekly treatments during the first trimester, and then every 2-4 weeks thereafter, can gently support blood circulation, healthy hormone balance, and proper immune system function to support pregnancy health. Acupuncture done in pregnancy can also safely reduce stress and anxiety, and support sound sleep, which in turn will improve the overall health of both mama and baby.
Not every miscarriage can or should be prevented. But with regular acupuncture treatment, pregnancy health can be supported overall at every stage, and many families will finally go on to have healthy babies.
When miscarriage does happen
If miscarriage cannot be prevented and tragedy strikes, acupuncture is an important treatment to help you recover both physically and emotionally. Acupuncture provides gentle safe treatment as you recover, and can help you get ready to try again, and be successful. To learn more about how acupuncture helps acute miscarriage recovery, please see our blog on that topic.
Portland Acupuncture Consultations for Miscarriage Prevention
At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we have over 38 years’ combined experience working with fertility issues and helping women have healthy pregnancies. We are well-educated in the known causes of miscarriage, and their treatments with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. We treat the majority of our patients throughout their entire pregnancies, and are continually assessing pregnancy health with the principles of Chinese Medicine to ensure the healthiest outcomes possible.
We are very comfortable working with women with high risk pregnancies, always in tandem with the prenatal care providers, and have seen that the majority of our patients in high-risk situations go on to have healthy babies. Together, we offer a unique set of experience and expertise to help you have a health pregnancy and healthy baby.