Chinese Medicine has always recognised that it is often the same sorts of imbalances that can cause difficulty in falling pregnant and difficulty in staying pregnant. The types of diagnoses a Chinese medicine practitioner makes in the case of recurrent miscarriages are very similar to those which describe different categories of subfertility.
Traditionally Chinese medicine would diagnose the nature of the recurrent miscarriage according to the constitution of the female partner. Nowadays, in light of new knowledge, the male partner will be assessed too. Ideally, we would treat the woman (and possibly her partner) for 3-6 cycles before she attempted to conceive again, but obviously there is frequently the pressure of time ticking by once the woman is late 30s or into her 40s.
The diagnoses are:
- Kidney Deficiency – this is the most common pathology underlying both subfertility and miscarriage. Acupuncture will be used to supplement and support the Kidney Energy
- Qi Deficiency – If the qi is seriously compromised, there may be a problem with the Uterus dropping and the cervix not staying firmly closed and holding the pregnancy. This tends to show in a later miscarriage after 14/15 weeks. Acupuncture points will be chosen to nourish, regulate and lift the Qi.
- Blood Deficiency – The endometrium may be too thin and not conducive to effective implantation or may not be able to nourish a fetus adequately if implantation is successful. If Qi deficiency accompanies Blood deficiency, the fetus may fail to grow and thrive and will appear small for dates on ultrasound tests. Acupuncture points will be used to nourish the Blood.
- Heat in the Blood – The heat that can cause repeated miscarriage mostly arises from Kidney Yin Deficiency, so this will be treated also. Acupuncture points will be used to cool the blood and nourish any underlying deficiency.
- Blood Stagnation – Women with a history of endometriosis, endometritis, fibroids, cysts and abdominal surgery are likely to have a degree of Blood stagnation. This can impact unfavourably on pregnancy. Pregnancies may be at risk from inadequate corpus luteum function and disordered blood supply of the endometrium. Both these factors can impede successful implantation and development of the placenta and therefore increase the risk of miscarriage. The acupuncture points are applied just before and during the period or when there is pain. This can facilitate the moving of Qi and Blood stagnation.
Lyttleton, J (2004) Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine Churchill Livingstone