Miscarriage – what can Naturopathy offer?
Miscarriage is a devastating blow to any couple trying to have a baby. The emotional toll is high, as those involved struggle through the various stages of grief. Sadly, many couples suffer through multiple miscarriages, leaving them angry, anxious, and fearful with a sense of no control and no answers.
Statistically, 1 in 5 women experience miscarriage, and after 3 miscarriages, the chance of future miscarriage increases to 1 in 4. These statistics worsen as the number of miscarriages rises beyond 3.
Age is also a factor with age-related miscarriage rates as follows:
- 15% probability of miscarriage for women under 25 years old
- 20-35% probability for women between 35-45 years old
- up to 50% probability for women over 45 years old
Miscarriage is a complex issue, and many couples never receive a reason why they miscarried. Naturopathy views pregnancy as not only a hormonal event but also an immunological event. It utilises a range of therapeutic and functional diagnostic tools to thoroughly investigate the reasons why miscarriage could be occurring. Therefore, Naturopathically there can be a number of reasons why miscarriage occurs, and a number of ways to improve pregnancy outcomes (depending on the couple).
The main reasons for miscarriage from a Naturopathic perspective are as follows:
- Chromosomal abnormalities (from one or both parents) account for up to 80% of miscarriages.
- Poor egg quality. This is a predisposing factor and is generally linked to increasing maternal age.
- Damaged DNA fragments in sperm (due to oxidative stress).
- Medical conditions (e.g. poorly managed thyroid conditions, diabetes, blood clotting issues, infection, etc.).
- Emotional stress
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Structural issues that may disrupt the placenta (e.g. adhesions, polyps, and fibroids).
- Hormonal imbalances (e.g. PCOS, hyperprolactinemia, luteal phase defects, etc.).
- Autoimmune conditions (e.g. lupus, anti-phospholipids, or anti-FSH antibodies, anti-sperm antibodies, autoimmune primary ovarian insufficiency, etc.).
- Lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, alcohol, excess caffeine, sauna usage, radiation exposure, etc.).
- Some medications or anaesthetic gases
Should a Naturopath suspect one or more of the above is involved, functional pathology can be used to further investigate beyond the scope of standard medical testing. Such investigations could include:
- Autoimmune investigations (e.g. ANA, ENA, HLA, TPO)
- Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA)
- Specific nutritional status
- Thrombophilia screening
- Hormone cycle tracking
- Testing for infections (e.g. ureaplasma, bacterial vaginosis, CMV, herpes, etc.)
- Genetic testing (carried out via a genetic specialist)
Following investigation and identification of underlying factors, a Naturopath will consider all other potential risks, and take any other factors into consideration (such as gestational age at the time of miscarriage), to understand the whole picture. Only then can a highly individualised treatment plan can be created to bring the body back into a state of balance and optimise pregnancy outcomes. This is achieved via highly specific dietary changes, nutritional and herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes.
Although miscarriage can be an incredibly complex issue, a Naturopath can help you dig deeper to find the answers you need to improve your health, bring your body back into balance, and give you the best possible chance at a successful, full-term pregnancy.