It has been demonstrated in a Cochrane systematic review that if supportive care is given to women whom experience recurrent miscarriage, the live birth rate is significantly increased, from 33% in the standard antenatal group compared with 86% in the supportive care group. These studies have been so significant that the Special Interest Group Early Pregnancy (SIGEP) of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) recommends supportive care as the only intervention that doesn’t require further randomized control trials.
Why does supportive care help?
Whilst many miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, the causative factor of many more remain unknown. The exact mechanism behind why supportive care can help reduce the miscarriage rate is not fully understood, though it is believed to have something to do with reducing maternal stress levels.
One theory is that high maternal stress levels may result in decreased progesterone levels – therefore anything which reduces this stress is likely to be beneficial.
Chinese medicine has a long history of treating gynecological conditions, including threatened miscarriage. The aim of treatment, being to encourage the smooth flow of qi (life – force) and blood within the body.
In acupuncture we understand that our emotions have a powerful effect on the flow of our qi and blood. When we are dealing with a large amount of stress and anxiety, we expend a lot of our qi worrying about what may or may not happen, and it is difficult for us to stay in the present moment.
Acupuncture treatments support and encourage us to return to the now, and our immediate experience. This helps us to release unnecessary stress and anxiety. Allowing our qi and blood to flow smoothly again and cultivate the life- force within.
Regardless of outcome, treatments can be a positive experience, they offer an alternative to the usual ‘wait and see’ approach and provide support during what can be an immensely difficult time.
Betts D, Smith C, Hannah D. Acupuncture as a therapeutic option for threatened miscarriage. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2012 doi : 10.1186/1472- 6882-12-20