Miscarriage refers to the loss of an embryo or fetus spontaneously during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is estimated that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Further, a woman who has already suffered a miscarriage is at a slightly elevated risk of having another miscarriage. These numbers point to the fact that miscarriage is unfortunately familiar to many women.
Recurrent miscarriage is defined as the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies. The rate of recurrent miscarriage is low, about 1%, and most losses occur in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Although recurrent miscarriage is uncommon, it is a highly frustrating and emotionally trying experience.
Reasons for Miscarriage
Miscarriages can occur for a variety of reasons or combination of factors which can complicate pregnancy or result in recurrent pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no concrete explanation for the loss, leaving expecting mothers with many unanswered questions.
- Genetic or Immunologic: Various chromosomal abnormalities, Lupus, and antithyroid antibodies are often implicated in recurrent miscarriage. 70% of miscarriages that occur in the first trimester are attributed to chromosomal anomalies.
- Anatomical Abnormalities: Uterine anomalies which impair blood flow or restrict fetal growth can cause miscarriage. Uterine polyps, incompetent cervix, and leiomyomas are among such causes of miscarriage.
- Endocrine Imbalance: Diabetes, thyroid disorders, luteal phase defects, and progesterone insufficiency are some examples of hormonal imbalances which are associated with miscarriage.
- Infection: Infection is considered to be a rare cause of recurrent miscarriage but it is implicated in isolated cases. Listeria, Chlamydia, Herpes, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, Bacteria Vaginosis, Toxoplasmosis are among some infections known to cause miscarriage.
- Hematologic Disorders: Placental defection and microthrombi in placental vasculature is more often indicated in recurrent miscarriage. Certain genetic factors can cause a pregnant woman to be more likely to generate a blood clot resulting in miscarriage.
- Environmental Factors: Exposure to toxins or radiation, maternal malnutrition, and the use of prescription medications, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and drugs are environmental factors commonly associated with miscarriage.
Determining the Cause of Recurrent Miscarriage
Blood tests and scans can help to determine if there is an obvious cause for recurrent miscarriage. If possible appropriate measures can be taken to help secure future pregnancies. A Chinese medicine practitioner would evaluate the patient in a different manner to determine the cause of recurrent miscarriage. A thorough intake including pulse and tongue diagnosis helps determine where the imbalance exists.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that a miscarriage is quite draining to a woman’s energy and restorative therapy is an important factor that must be addressed. Restoring proper balance to the mother is vital in avoiding future incidences of miscarriage. Oftentimes, a woman is advised to wait a period of time while her body recovers before trying to conceive again. Through regular acupuncture treatment, proper dietary and lifestyle recommendations and Chinese herbs the body’s constitution can be conditioned to be better able to carry a baby full term.
Seeking support from others who have been through similar situations can be a comforting and therapeutic means to process recurrent miscarriages. Miscarriage support sites can help with healing from previous loss so you can move forward with hope.
It is important to remember that although repeated miscarriage is a frightening ordeal, each pregnancy is different. It is a different embryo and the body is, in fact, in a different state than any previous pregnancy. There is hope and opportunity to have a new result.