Tackling the all too common occurrence of pregnancy loss

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The holidays are upon us, and this time of year can be a sensitive season. Celebrations may only serve to emphasize loss you may have suffered this year. Within the festivities, you may be reflecting on and processing grief. You’re not alone—one out of every three pregnancies results in a loss.

The statistics are of course not helpful on the backdrop of wanting to grow your family, and they certainly don’t account for whatever suffering you may have experienced, but they can lend some perspective.

I always tell my patients no matter what a reasonable medical timeline is for trying to get pregnant (which by the way is one year without intervention), once you decide you’re ready, every month is outside of the timeline for your hopes and dreams! But it is important to balance your desires and expectations with a healthy relationship to the big picture.

It doesn’t feel normal to have a miscarriage, and more often than not, it does represent some abnormality taking it’s course, but in the scope of a long-term reproductive picture, it does not exclude the possibility of going on to have a full-term pregnancy. As a matter of fact, it’s not even considered something that requires further diagnosis or treatment until you’ve had three pregnancy losses.

Having said that, I do recommend looking into factors with your physician including genetic testing for each partner (As a woman in the equation, don’t burden yourself with all of the responsibility—sperm have a role in maintaining pregnancy as well!), screening for infectious diseases and autoimmune conditions, getting an ultrasound to rule out anatomical issues in the uterus and even a tissue biopsy from a pregnancy loss to learn more about any obstacles you may be able to address. You may discover something earlier rather than later that may help you move towards a positive outcome.

It’s very possible that if you go through the rigors of thorough testing, nothing will turn up. And although that’s great, it can be incredibly frustrating to not know what’s causing your pregnancy challenges. Drawing on Chinese medicine can be a good tool for looking at your body a little differently than western medicine and approaching your care with some additional strategies.

Acupuncture balances the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, a system that controls fertility hormones (the Chinese medicine interpretation of this system is the mind, the heart and the uterus, which is a nice overlay for how working on emotional regulation can actually impact physical outcomes), gets more blood flow to your endometrial lining (this helps with potential implantation) and reduces negative impacts of stress you may be experiencing. There’s even research suggesting that acupuncture plays a specific role in preventing miscarriages.

Overall appropriate diagnosis and care—alongside persistence and good support to process whatever happens along the way—often results in the baby you’ve been dreaming of.

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