Miscarriage is when pregnancy ends on its own, and is the most common type of pregnancy loss. Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, and some of these will be chemical pregnancies, where a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. Because the underlying cause of most miscarriages is chromosomal abnormalities, the various therapies and techniques typically promoted for prevention are not proven and are unlikely to be useful, if there is a chromosomal issue. If there is a hormonal deficiency or other health issues, pregnancies can be supported with good nutrition, rest, certain medications if warranted and weekly acupuncture treatments.
Occasionally, a patient is diagnosed with a medical condition that may cause or contribute to recurrent miscarriage. Treatment or correction of the underlying disease, deficiency, or abnormality may reduce the chance of future miscarriage for some patients.
Here are a few examples:
Problem: Identifiable genetic abnormalities in one or both parents or advanced maternal age increasing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo.
Western Treatment: During an IVF cycle, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) may be used to identify a chromosomally normal embryo for implantation.
Problem: Uterine problems including polyps, fibroids, or a uterine septum (distortion of the interior of the uterus by abnormal tissue formation).
Western Treatment: Surgery may be suitable for some patients to restore a normal uterine surface to enable implantation and ongoing support of future embryos.
Problem: Diabetes or insulin resistance (such as found in patients with PCOS)
Treatments: Management of blood sugar through lifestyle changes and/or with appropriate medications to consistently maintain blood sugar at normal levels. Acupuncture has also shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and bring the body into homeostasis. Nutritional changes are also key in managing this issue.
Problem: Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome which may cause excessive blood clotting and an antibody reaction to the placenta.
Western Treatment: Blood thinning therapy with aspirin and heparin may help prevent clotting. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, medical treatments such as leukocyte (white blood cell) immunization and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy for preventing miscarriage have no proven benefit at this time.
If your doctor finds other medical conditions such as low levels of progesterone hormone or other hormonal irregularities, these may be treated as well. The efficacy of such treatment for preventing recurring miscarriage is not yet known.