I had somebody write in a little while back and ask if I could share a little about recurrent miscarriage. Tricky part is, from a Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective there may be a swag full of reasons why this happens outside of known causes (ie genetic defects or structural irregularities). TCM views people according to their constitution, including their signs and symptoms. It doesn't put you into the box of 'recurrent miscarriage' so it makes sense that we need to look for clues as to what individual cases are presenting, to go on and create a successful treatment plan. If we look at this from a western perspective, it may be from hormone insufficiency, hormone imbalance or excess hormones, a thin uterine lining, cysts, fibroids… it goes on. But most specifically for me, looking at gut function is also key since the gut is the pivot of our health – if the gut isn't adequately assimilating food and drawing nutrients from our food, there is just no way our bodies can be nourished well – our hormones are affected (insert Fertilise Yourself). That fertility switch once again get's the flick.
To add another level, environment, diet, lifestyle, medications (ie long term use of the pill) age and most of all semen quality can be added to the mix when it comes to miscarriage. An embryo is made up of material from both the female and the male so it makes sense that if what is coming from the male isn't adequate, the embryo won't be either. This must be considered when looking at miscarriage – in fact, this is the first thing I will look at in most instances.
Age is also factor here – although not in the sense that you may think. Some 30 year olds look like they're pushing 50 just as some 50 year olds look young enough to be my baby sister. So when we look at age, we really need to use logic – if you look and feel old, chances are your insides reflect this too. We have long been of the belief that we women are born with all our 'eggs'. We are now seeing research suggests otherwise. I've long thought this idea was near impossible based on a few observations. The main clue for me is around the AMH (Anti-Mullerian hormone) test which essentially measures the ovarian reserve. I've discovered in my clinic that after just 3 months of treatment, this ovarian reserve figure increases – every time. And yes, I've questioned fertility specialists about this and the common, very loose replies have indicated that the test must have been wrong in the first place. I've had this happen to hundreds of women over the past 10 years. What does this mean? It means we can't be born with all eggs. But back to age – age is only a factor if you do nothing. If you consider environmental and lifestyle factors, you are already ahead of the game there my fellow ovarian owning friend.
Stress is also a huge contributor – and yes I do talk about stress a whole lot because it's well worth a mention mostly because it affects the body on so many levels and we don't seem to be getting the message here. Stress isn't necessarily you up to your eyeballs in work meetings and deadlines. It's low grade, happening in the background, possibly unconscious stress. It may be baby making or financial or just life. You might like to read about how it leads to hormone imbalance here.
The pill & IUD's (you might like more information here and here) are also big contributors – women who have been on the pill for over 8 years are said to be more susceptible to miscarriage. This is mostly because the pill steals essential vitamins and minerals and stops the body from absorbing them. When there isn't enough nourishment for your growing peanut, it simply can't survive. As for IUD's – they thin the endometrial lining and over time, the body gets all kinds of punch drunk – not to mention the IUD lives imbedded into your endometrial lining. Again – long term, the body simply gets confused and stops sending the right signals.
There are so many bits and pieces that will contribute and even though the causative factors may differ when it comes to miscarriage, the tips and tricks to avoid it will be quite similar for most people. Here are my top 3.
1. Acupuncture. My hands down favorite treatment to prevent miscarriage. It helps the body cope with stress, it facilitates blood flow to the uterus and addresses any other irregularities that may present that are standing in the way. Plus it's 30-45 minutes of relaxation – let's face it – there's no way you're going anywhere with 10 -20 acupuncture needles in your body! My clinic specialises in such treatments.
2. Sex! Similar to acupuncture, sex increases uterine blood flow and helps to nourish the lining of the womb. This is key. Your embryo relies on great nourishment in the implantation phase. Sex also assists the uterus in contracting which helps with imbedding the embryo too. What's more, it helps release specific hormones, given it is exercise which assists with moving cortisol out of your body and is all round fun and games when it is the baby making kind. Plus – it's part of a healthy relationship.
3. Herbal supplements – there are some specific supplements that will assist in preventing miscarriage too. Speak to your herbal practitioner as they can guide you best.
In most cases – miscarriage can be explained. It's finding somebody to look hard enough and having the tools to move toward a solution that is key.