Seeing those two lines on a pregnancy test can be one of the most joyous moments of any mother’s life. However, that joy can quickly turn to dread if the pregnancy is not viable. As per studies, recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) or miscarriages occur in 1% to 3% of all pregnancies and other studies estimate that 12% occur without the mother noticing till she starts hemorrhaging blood. That’s because one half of all miscarriages are not apparent till it is too late. In some cases, the placenta may still be producing hormones and you may still have morning sickness or breast tenderness.
Whether it is an apparent or silent one, the physical and emotional toll that even a single miscarriage can take on a patient’s wellbeing can be highly distressing. Even if they become pregnant again, the trauma of a prior miscarriage haunts them and increases their chances of getting another one.
Acupuncture Benefits to Prevent Miscarriage
Acupuncture has been known to be quite efficient in treating several causes of miscarriage and the research has been very promising.
Early pregnancies are susceptible to threatened miscarriages which can increase the risk of premature labor or miscarriage. According to this study, women who received acupuncture treatments showed reduced signs of threatened miscarriage.
During the study, 40 women were randomized successfully and those who were treated with acupuncture showed a significant reduction in common miscarriage symptoms. These includes cramping, back pain and bleeding. The study also showed that these women were unsatisfied with the medical advice (such as the ‘wait and see’ approach) and reports they were given prior to the study.
The study had two goals – to evaluate the feasibility of acupuncture and to determine the clinical outcomes with ongoing pregnancies as the main objective. The second objective also took the emotional and physical wellbeing of the pregnant subjects into account. The mixed study includes interviews and randomized controlled trials (for a group made up of women experiencing threatened miscarriage and receiving acupuncture and self-care advice and an active control group receiving medical advice).
The acupuncture treatment included a combination of needles, smokeless moxa sticks (which deliver heat to acupoints) and moxibustion therapy. It also included self-care advice by a licensed and experienced practitioner. Women from both groups received acupuncture treatments and many reported they preferred it over medical interventions such as the ‘wait and see’ approach as it gave them more control over their condition.
On exiting the study, women who received acupuncture indicated they were not as concerned about their primary symptom (such as vaginal bleeding and cramping).
Acupuncture to Prevent Miscarriages
Another study suggests that acupuncture can be used as a potential supportive treatment for recurrent or threat of miscarriage. Women who are at risk of miscarrying are usually advised to receive treatments three months before conception and also during the first trimester of their pregnancy to stabilize it.
As mentioned before, currently, the clinical treatment for women with threatened miscarriage is a ‘wait and see’ approach. In contrast, when supportive treatments were used for women who suffer from recurrent miscarriages, it was discovered that the solution increased the chances of live births compared to women receiving antenatal care.
The treatment is recommended for women undergoing IUI/IVF treatments especially if they are advanced in years and suffer from hormonal issues or autoimmune conditions. Regular sessions help the expecting mother de-stress, thus providing a healthy environment for the fetus to grow.
What is a Miscarriage?
To understand how acupuncture can be efficient in preventing a miscarriage, we need to do a deep dive into the condition first along with causes that increase its chances of occurring.
A miscarriage happens when a fetus or embryo dies before the 20th week of a pregnancy. The condition usually manifests during the first three months.
What Can Cause A Miscarriage?
Miscarriages can be caused by a culmination of several factors, but it is almost never caused by anything the pregnant mother has done. Some of the common reasons for a miscarriage include the following:
- If there are an abnormal number of chromosomes in the fertilized egg. This happens in 50% of cases and include both numerical issues and structural alteration that result in a miscarriage. The condition is not genetic so it can happen to anyone.
- Certain illnesses can cause a miscarriage. For example, if you have severe diabetes, you have higher chances of miscarrying than other mothers.
- Uterus abnormalities.
- If the mother has had two miscarriages in a row.
- Maternal age.
- Serious kidney disease.
- Uncontrolled diabetes.
- Thyroid disease.
- Severe malnutrition.
- Lifestyle factors such as drinking, smoking, or consumption of illegal drugs.
- Hormonal issues.
The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding which can range from a brownish discharge to heavy bleeding that contains red clots. Other symptoms that are associated with the condition include the following:
- Discharge of fluid or tissue from the vagina.
- Pain and cramping in the lower stomach.
- Lack of pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or nausea.
- Severe or worsening back pain.
- Weight loss.
At the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) Main Clinic, we offer several TCM treatments such as acupuncture that can help you through your pregnancy. All of our sessions are supervised and conducted by trained and experienced staff members. Book a consultation today by dialing 713-780-9786. We also offer acupuncture treatments at Houston Methodist Hospital locations. Just dial 713-441-5980 to book sessions there.