A miscarriage refers to a pregnancy that ends before the 28th week. A threatened miscarriage is when bleeding, and occasionally abdominal pain occurs but the pregnancy continues.
Vaginal bleeding is relatively common during pregnancy among women who go on to have healthy births. However, bleeding from the vagina at any time in pregnancy can be a sign of problems. The bleeding associated with threatened miscarriage is usually mild, and usually painless.
TCM and Miscarriage
The concept of age affecting fertility is well discussed in Chinese medicine. Aging leads to a decline of reproductive function, meaning that the building blocks that will later constitutes a fetus (sperm and egg cells) decline in their quality and are thus less likely to mature into a healthy embryo. Thus the rate of infertility and miscarriage increases.
Increasing the health of both parents before conception will ensure that the sperm, egg and the foetus’ environment is optimised so that the best possible conditions are created for a healthy pregnancy. Thus preventative treatment for the gametes (sperm and egg) is important to lower the chances of abnormalities. This is easier to achieve in males, as sperms are constantly reproduced and thus can be influenced. However, the nourishment and development of the female follicle can be influenced by Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, so that a more mature egg is released.
TCM treatment for recurrent miscarriage
Chinese medicine can have a very useful role in the treatment of recurrent miscarriages as it detects any possible weaknesses in either one or both partners, and, by correcting them, can ensure that conditions for a future pregnancy are optimized. This is particularly the case if underlying menstrual conditions are present that need to be regulated, such as the existence of polycystic ovaries or endometriosis, where a weak hormonal output from the ovaries during pregnancy might endanger the development of a fetus.
In pregnancies at risk (history of infertility or previous miscarriages), women may be asked to continue taking their basal body temperature (BBT) readings for the first few weeks into the pregnancy: valuable information regarding the hormone regulation is thus obtained, and the vigour of what we call Kidney Yang (stable maintenance of a raised temperature), an important indicator of the stability of the pregnancy, is thus monitored. If there is a drop in temperature, herbs need to be administered to support ovarian functions.