Can Acupuncture help improve miscarriage rates?

In recent news, many celebrities have come forward to talk about their experiences with miscarriage and the pain that affects them. James Vanderbeek, Hilaria Baldwin, Michele Obama, Halsey, Mariah Carey and many others have opened up about their loss and pain.

Celebrity James Van Der Beek recently opened up about his wife Kimberly, family, and their struggle with pregnancy loss and how it has affected their lives. 

“Miscarriage (a word that needs a replacement – nobody failed to ‘carry’, these things sometimes just happen) is something that people rarely talk about, and offer go through in secret.  But there needs to be zero shame around it, or around giving yourself the time and space to grieve.”

“We decided to put ourselves out there – not knowing what we’d find – in an effort to chip away at any senseless stigma around this experience and to encourage people who might be going through it to open themselves up to love and support from friends and family when they need it most.” 
               — James Van Der Beek

Miscarriage is a very common occurrence with 10-25% of all pregnancies ending in miscarriage.  That’s about 1 in 4 pregnancies!  Miscarriage is most commonly due to genetic abnormalities that may cause the embryo to develop poorly.  Other causes may include:

As a society, we need to open up the conversation and find solutions instead of hiding in shame and fear.

  • Hormonal imbalances and abnormalities:  PCOS, low progesterone, blood sugar imbalance
  • Lifestyle issues: smoking, excessive alcohol, excessive caffeine, drug use, exposure to toxic substances
  • Maternal age: As age increases, the prevalence of genetic abnormalities increases as well.
  • Thin or low endometrial lining
  • Immune system issues
  • Severe trauma
  • Structural abnormalities in the uterus: adhesions, polyps, septum, etc.
  • Blood clotting: anti-phospholipid syndrome

For less than 1% of women, miscarriages may become a recurrent issue.  Recurrent miscarriage is diagnosed after 3 miscarriages.  A thorough check up and blood work is done to try and determine the cause and course of treatments. We can help support and strengthen our bodies to prevent miscarriage.  This work involves managing chronic illness, hormonal imbalances, and modifying complicating lifestyle factors.

Very Important First Steps

  • Quit smoking as soon as your conception journey begins.
  • Limit caffeine, coffee or tea to 1-2 cups daily
  • Maintain a healthy Body Mass Index
  • Seek the help of your physician in managing blood sugar imbalance, PCOS, or other health issues
  • Food is medicine. Eating a healthy whole foods diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, and protein. Be sure to avoid sugar and processed foods.
  • Limit exposure to toxic chemicals and environments.
  • Avoid dangerous situations and activities where severe trauma may occur.

Acupuncture can be a very helpful therapy in preventing miscarriage for many of its causes.  We can help the body in the following ways:

  • Increasing the thickness and quality of the endometrial lining.
  • Helping to regulate the hormones.
  • Helping to treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Reducing uterine contractions in early pregnancy.
  • Improve uterine blood flow, prevention of blood clotting.
  • Regulating the immune system.
  • Stress reduction, emotional support.

Research on Acupuncture for Miscarriage

A recent study on acupuncture along with IVF showed a 50% decrease of miscarriage rate. Another study suggests acupuncture may be a supportive treatment for threatened or recurrent miscarriages due to its beneficial effects on serum cortisol and prolactin levels during IVF.  

Acupuncture’s effects on stress are also mechanism by which miscarriage rates may be reduced. According to the study, stress in very early pregnancy may cause delicate balance of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis to become over active, leading to reduced progesterone levels.

You can begin your acupuncture treatments at anytime along your journey, but here are a few recommendations:

If you are Pregnant:
We recommend acupuncture weekly through the first trimester to support blood flow to the uterus, reduce stress, and support progesterone levels before the placenta is fully developed.

If you are trying to Conceive:
It is recommended to begin acupuncture treatments 3 months before conception for most causes of recurrent miscarriage.  This allows the treatments to affect overall health of the cycle, hormone balance, and egg quality.  It takes 90 days for an egg to prepare for ovulation, but the effects of acupuncture are beneficial at any stage, and will accumulate over time.  We see many women actively trying to conceive naturally, through assisted reproductive techniques or are happily holding a healthy baby.  We have protocols for IVF, IUI, medicated cycles and natural cycles.

Call our office today to schedule a
FREE 15 minute consultation.
We can discuss your specific situation and are happy to answer any questions you may have! 
Let us help balance & support you on your beautiful journey to create a family. (631) 424-8602

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342918/

http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq100.pdf

http://natural-fertility-info.com/increase-egg-health

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/miscarriage/

http://eastwindsacupuncture.com/acupuncture-in-ivf-linked-to-lower-miscarriage-and-ectopic-rates/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jacquelinehurst/acupuncture-to-support-fe_b_5958722.html

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/50-celebrities-who-opened-up-about-their-miscarriages_n_59de72a2e4b0fdad73b1b117