Miscarriage is defined as any pregnancy which ends spontaneously, before the fetus can survive. It occurs in 15% to 25% of all pregnancies. This rate can be higher with A.R.T Miscarriage usually occurs before 13 weeks. It can have a devastating effect, on all those concerned. Today there is support for those who have suffered a miscarriage.
Some causes of miscarriage still remain a mystery. Some of the known causes include – genetic abnormalities, immune disorders eg, systemic lupus, hormonal eg, cushings disease, uncontrolled diabetes, assisted conception eg, IVF. Chronic health problems eg, hyper or hypothyroidism. Vitamin or mineral deficiency eg, zinc. Uterine abnormalities eg, fibroids, viral or bacterial infections.
Defective sperm and low sperm count. Research from the department of obstetrics and gynecology in Sweden showed, 4% of abnormal sperm in normal pregnancy, compared to 48% of abnormal sperm in miscarriage. Sperm counts in normal pregnancy were 138.7 million per cubic centimeter, while in the case of miscarriage they were only 110.2 million per cubic centimeter.
The age of both parents can also be a factor. A joint study was carried out from November 2010 to March 2011. The findings showed that there is an eight fold risk of miscarriage if the father is over 40 yrs of age, and women older than 34yrs of age were two fold more likely to miscarry.
Caffeine consumption. Over 88,000 pregnant women were involved in Danish research, on the relationship between coffee and fetal death. One cup per day increased the fetal death rate by 3%. Seven or more cups of coffee per day increased the rate by up to 59%.
Obesity can increase the rate of miscarriage.
Smoking can severely impact on sperm quality and quantity. Smoking in women can also increase the rate of miscarriage.
Alcohol increases chances of miscarriage.
Signs and symptoms.
The most common symptoms are cramping and vaginal bleeding. 90% of all vaginal bleeding in the first 7 to 11 weeks, will result in ongoing pregnancy. All cramping and bleeding should be checked out. The Doctor may order an ultrasound to assess the pregnancy and to rule out ectopic pregnancy. A blood test measuring HCG levels may also be required. A new test called the PVI test can predict the chances of miscarriage, with 77% accuracy.
How Acupuncture and TCM can help
1 Relaxes and reduces stress
2 Improves blood flow to the ovaries and the uterus
3 Regulates the hormones.
4 Improves function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs
5 Improves quality and quantity of sperm
6 Improves thickness of the uterine wall
7 Reduces uterine contraction (miscarriage)
8 Reinforces Qi to hold fetus in place (miscarriage)
9 Improves absorption of nutrients
10 Decreases the chances of miscarriage
On your first visit a detailed assessment is carried out. This includes, Chinese tongue, pulse and facial diagnosis, past and current medical history, nutrition diet and lifestyle assessment.
A personalised diet and lifestyle plan will then be worked out for you.
It is important to get yourself, and your partner as fit and healthy as possible before conception. Regular aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, adequate water intake and proper sleep are essential for health and well being.
Why do foods matter?
To maintain a healthy weight.
Zinc deficiency impacts on healthy sperm production in men. In women it can cause problems with maintaining the pregnancy .
For good progesterone levels Magnesium and Vitamin B6 need to be in good supply in the diet.
Vitamin C – Vital for the absorption of iron, and healthy lining of the uterus.
Oily fish which is rich in omega 3 and 6, vital for the development of the babies eyes and brain.
Iron rich foods eg red meat are important, to help make extra blood needed by you and baby.
There are also foods which should be avoided during pregnancy eg,
Raw or cured meat and fish as they can contain harmful bacteria and viruses.
Some fish eg marlin and swordfish contain high levels of mercury. This can harm the development of the babies nervous system.
Unpasteurised dairy products, such as soft and mould ripened cheeses, like brie and Stilton, can contain the bacteria listeria.
Acupuncture treatments will also be advised. Acupuncture may be advised for both partners prior to conception. In cases of poor sperm quality and quantity ( depending on your diagnosis ) 3 months acupuncture treatment is advised. For women who have suffered miscarriage / are having ART eg IVF, ( depending on your diagnosis ) we reccommend acupuncture treatment for 3 cycles. After conception the emphasis for acupuncture treatments is on miscarriage prevention, and a healthy pregnancy.
Written and researched by Joanne Mc Govern – Dip Ac., Lic Ac., Dip. Chinese Herbs, Dip. Nutritional Advisor, Dip Stress Management Consultant.