Miscarriage is very common. One in seven of known pregnancies miscarry in the first trimester. About 1% of women miscarry in the second trimester. And many more will miscarry before they are even aware they are pregnant.
Causes of miscarriage
Most miscarriages that occur within the first trimester are a result of foetal abnormalities, the risk of which increases with the age of the both parents. After the first trimester, maternal factors, such as uterine abnormalities or cervical incompetence become more common causes of miscarriage.
If a woman has miscarried 3 times, her chance of another miscarriage is increased by 30%, as well as the risk of premature labour. Recurrent miscarriage may be caused by the following:-
- Hormonal dysfunction (ovary, placenta, thyroid) (30%)
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities such as fibroids or congenital abnormality of the uterus (10%)
- Endometrial infections (10%)
- Chromosomal abnormalities of either parent (3%)
- Blood clotting factors
- Immue factors
Treatment of miscarriage with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture
When a woman is already pregnant and is threatening to miscarry, the miscarriage is inevitable where there are severe foetal abnormalities, and no treatment can change the outcome. However, in a few women, the reason for the threatened miscarriage may be due to the physiology of the mother, and timely treatment of Chinese medicine may save the pregnancy.
After a miscarriage has occurred, the use of acupuncture and a short course of Chinese herbs is beneficial to ensure that the uterus is cleaned out to allow for the restoration of the menstrual cycle.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can play a very significant role in the treatment of recurrent miscarriages. Increasing the health of both parents before conception will ensure that the quality of the sperm, the egg and the endometrium are optimized, thereby maximizing the chance of a healthy pregnancy. It is easier to enhance the quality of the sperm, as spermatazoa are constantly reproduced. However, in women, it is still possible to balance the hormones with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, in order to influence the nourishment and development of the female follicle so that a more mature egg is released, and in order to improve the thickness of the endometrium.
There is also evidence that women with high LH in the first half of their cycle have a greater risk of miscarriage, though it is not yet understood why. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective in balancing the hormones, and lowering LH in the follicular phase of the cycle.
The quality and condition of the endometrium can effect the implantation and early growth of the foetus. The tube or uterus may have excess fluid – known as dampness in Chinese medicine – which can impede the movement of the embryo though the tubes and its implantation in the uterus. This can be treated by Chinese medicine. Or the endometrial lining might not provide an even surface in which to implant – a condition often diagnosed as Blood Stagnation in Chinese medicine. This condition is best treated during the period to ensure a thorough discharge of the old endometrium and the smooth growth of fresh endometrial tissue
Studies demonstrate that Chinese medicine can play a significant role in the prevention of recurrent miscarriages. Research from Japan shows that women whose recurrent miscarriages are immune-related benefit from Chinese herbal medicine prior to their next pregnancy. And a study in Shanghai suggests that in women with a history of recurrent miscarriages, who are threatening to miscarry, the pregnancy can be saved with correct and timely treatment.