There are few greater joys in life than finally seeing those two lines appear on a pregnancy test, especially if you have been trying to conceive for a while.
But for many women, that joy quickly turns into anxiety, as the worry of complications and miscarriage quickly creeps in.
Unfortunately, miscarriage is a common occurrence, affecting up to 20% of women. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of miscarrying. This starts with giving yourself the best chance of carrying your baby to term by supporting your body with acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a proven therapy that encourages the best possible environment for an embryo to grow into a healthy baby. Read on to find out how acupuncture could help you reduce your risk of miscarriage and experience a healthier pregnancy from conception to delivery.
Why Does Miscarriage Happen?
A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It happens in at least 10-20 percent of known pregnancies. But, miscarriages may be even more common as some miscarriages occur very early, even before a woman knows she is pregnant.
While miscarriages are relatively common, it is still a devastating experience for many women. Understanding why miscarriages happen can help us heal and prepare for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Common Causes of Miscarriage
- Chromosomal issues
About half of all miscarriages are due to chromosomal issues. In these cases, the embryo develops with either missing or extra chromosomes.
- Abnormal growth of the placenta
An embryo needs a sufficient placenta to thrive. In some cases, the placenta does not properly develop and cannot sustain the embryo.
- Hormonal imbalances
Hormone balance is just as important in pregnancy as it is when you are trying to conceive. During early pregnancy, you need the right levels of prolactin, thyroid hormone, estrogen, and progesterone to maintain the pregnancy and help the fetus thrive. When hormones are imbalanced, the risk of miscarriage is higher.
- Medical conditions
For some women, pre-existing medical conditions can cause a miscarriage. Infections, diabetes, thyroid disease, uterine fibroids, or a weak cervix are some of the most common medical issues that may interfere with the healthy development of an embryo. According to Dr. Ko, it’s also possible to miscarry if you experience an external shock, medication, or sudden temperature change before the sperm and egg meet and settle.
- Smoking, alcohol, and drug use
Those who smoke or consume alcohol or illicit drugs while pregnant increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects.
From the Oriental medicine perspective, there are a few additional root causes that lead to miscarriage. Dr. Ko explains that, “Modern medicine thinks of the human body mechanically. It assumes that if they treat it, it will become new. But Oriental medicine sees the human body organically. In Oriental medicine, we see the body as one, and treat the entire system as a whole.”
- Kidney system deficiency
The most common cause of miscarriage from an Oriental medical point of view is Kidney deficiency. In TCM, the Kidney system is responsible for the development of the embryo, the stability of the genes, and the quality of the placenta. When there is a weakness in the Kidney system (due to constitution, lifestyle choices, or illness), the risk of miscarriage is higher.
- Qi deficiency
Qi is the vital life force that gives us energy and movement. It is also responsible for holding things up and closed in the body – including the cervix. When we have a lack of qi, fluids can fall and organs can prolapse. For pregnant women, the lack of energy fails to hold the pregnancy safe and secure. This can result in what doctors call an “incompetent cervix.”
How Acupuncture Helps You Avoid Miscarriage and Help Your Baby Thrive
By knowing the causes and risk factors associated with miscarriage, we are better equipped to make health and lifestyle decisions to improve our chances of a healthy pregnancy.
One of the most impactful ways to support your body before and during pregnancy is with acupuncture. Not only does acupuncture help increase your chances of conceiving, but can also help reduce your risk of miscarriage and set you up for a healthier pregnancy. Here are five key ways acupuncture helps you avoid miscarriage:
- Acupuncture sets the stage for a healthy embryo.
The recipe for a healthy pregnancy starts with two key ingredients: good-quality eggs and sperm. Unfortunately, many early pregnancies fail due to issues with either the egg or sperm. To encourage a healthy start, acupuncture helps by bringing blood flow and nutrients to the ovaries in women and the testes in men. This supports the development of healthy eggs and sperm, so the resulting embryo will be viable.
- Acupuncture improves hormone balance.
One of the leading causes of miscarriage is hormone imbalance. In Oriental medicine, we see this as an imbalance in yin and yang, as well as an imbalance between different organ systems. Thankfully, acupuncture and herbal medicine adjust your hormone balance naturally. During your acupuncture session, we will assess the true root cause of your imbalances, then select strategic points that stimulate your body to restore the balance.
- Acupuncture enhances the quality of the uterine lining for better implantation.
Beyond having a viable embryo, you also need a thick and nutritive uterine lining for your best chances of a healthy full-term pregnancy. Women who struggle with blood deficiency, yin deficiency, dampness, or uterine fibroids may have difficulty developing the healthy uterine lining they need for their baby to thrive. With acupuncture, we can address these issues and create a healthier uterine environment that will best support a growing fetus. Studies show that acupuncture improves the lining quality and uterine receptivity for more successful implantations.
- Acupuncture moderates the immune system to prevent recurrent miscarriages.
While most miscarriages are an unfortunate one-time event, about 1% of women will miscarry more than once. In many cases of recurrent miscarriage, an autoimmune issue causes the body to reject the growing fetus and miscarry. Acupuncture helps by regulating the immune system and encouraging the body to allow the embryo to flourish.
- Acupuncture sets the stage for a healthy embryo.
Dr. Ko’s Tips for a Healthy First Trimester
- Balance activity and rest.
Staying active during your first trimester helps to maintain healthy blood flow and keep your stress levels low. But, excessive exercise can deplete the energy and fluids you need to nourish your growing baby. Aim for mild to moderate exercises during this period and give your body plenty of time to rest.
- Keep stress levels low.
Stress doesn’t cause miscarriage, but it can make maintaining a healthy pregnancy more complicated. Stress interferes with your hormone levels, which need to stay in balance during this important stage in your pregnancy. Build in stress-relieving activities throughout your day to keep stress in check and nurture your body as it changes.
- Get regular acupuncture.
When it comes to preparing for a healthy pregnancy, the more care the better. Balancing the body and enhancing your fertility through diet, exercise, and holistic care (like acupuncture) all work together to help you avoid miscarriage and delivery a healthy baby.
If you have already had a miscarriage, it is best to start acupuncture treatment before trying to conceive again. This helps your body heal and replenish your energy so you can have the best chances of success moving forward.
According to Dr. Ko, starting acupuncture treatment right after a miscarriage is most effective. “It helps reinforce the lower abdominal pain or decreases in physical strength and prepare for the next pregnancy and helps to clean blood stasis and restore normal menstruation. In order for your body to regenerate, it is good to get pregnant after 2 circles and 3 months later. Because miscarriage may be repeated due to endometrial damage or blood stasis. It is most effective to start treatment immediately.”
- Try herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine can also be helpful in reinforcing the weakened physical strength due to stress and depression caused by physical fatigue and weakness after miscarrige. Dr. Ko usually prescribes herbal medicines that tonify blood and Qi, such as Si Wu Tang, Ba Zhen Tang, or Tiao Jing Zhongyu Tang. Schedule a consultation to find out which herbal formula is best for you.
120 Acupuncture Supports You From Bump to Baby
Whether you are in the early stages of pregnancy, or just starting your fertility journey, it is never too early to start acupuncture treatments. At 120 Acupuncture, we are here to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible with acupuncture and other holistic therapies. Book your appointment here, or call us at 1-818-980-7979.