by Lea Gance, M.S., L.Ac

Finding Support and Healing After Pregnancy Loss

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage, most often occurring before a woman misses a period or even knows she is pregnant. Furthermore, roughly 20% of recognized pregnancies end in a miscarriage. This number is often surprising, as miscarriages or early pregnancy loss are not often spoken about.

Where do you go from here?

If you’ve gone through a pregnancy loss, you may have felt wide range of emotions from grief, emptiness and disappointment to even guilt and shame. These emotions can leave you wondering where to begin on the journey back to being yourself again. What can you do when something so devastating happens?Our first piece of advice would be to take the time that you need to heal. Seek support from friends, family, and loved ones. Support groups can be very helpful; they can provide you with support from people who know what you’re going through, as well as serve as a reminder that you are not alone. Individual talk therapy alongside acupuncture and Chinese medicine can also help and to reduce anxiety. We don’t necessarily advocate treating major depression with Chinese medicine alone, but we have seen the remarkable effect that Chinese medicine can have when used to treat anxiety and depression. A completely holistic system, Chinese medicine is able to address the complex interaction between body chemistry and emotions very effectively.

How can you look after yourself when trying to conceive again?

If you have been through a miscarriage, it does not mean that you may never be able to conceive. In fact, most women who miscarry go on to have a healthy pregnancy later. There are a few preemptive steps you can take that may be helpful when trying to conceive again.*

  1. Double check that your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is in the normal range. Pregnancy puts extra stress on the thyroid so while the normal range for TSH is within the 0.5-5.0 range, if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive ideally that would come down to 0.1-2.5.
  2.  You could ask your doctor to check your progesterone levels during the luteal phase, ideally around cycle day 21 or about a week after ovulation.
  3. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help support the luteal phase which is when implantation would occur. Traditional Chinese medicine is a great tool for getting started again. We can address ovarian health, uterine lining and the hormonal interplay that creates a smooth ovulation and menstruation.

*If you miscarry more than three times, we’d recommend seeking the guidance of a reproductive endocrinologist.

Finally, what can you do if someone you love has gone through a pregnancy loss?

For some people, casually bringing up children might seem completely innocent and well intentioned; however, for someone struggling with fertility issues it can be especially stressful as it brings up feelings of frustration, loss, and anxiety. If a couple who does want children then carries on to discover it might not be as easy as they had hoped, chances are extremely high that they will not want to then share the details of their often lengthy struggle with every person who asks.

Of course nobody intends to cause any distress when asking about baby plans, usually it’s just an inquiry from an excited relative, hoping to share the joy of a child, without realizing that sometimes there is a lot of grief and disappointment before that joy and excitement.

A good alternative? Ask them about the best thing that’s happening right now, so that you can share in that excitement instead.