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Two miscarriages in a row and advanced age, very discouraged


#1

Hi, I’ve just suffered a second miscarriage this year. The first was at 6.5 weeks (looked like baby never grew or implanted right). But this time my numbers (HCG and progesterone) looked great and we had seen the baby’s heartbeat at 6 weeks and everything looked fine… but just before 9 weeks I started bleeding and went in and the baby had no heartbeat and looked like it had stopped growing at some point. On this pregnancy the doctor had even put me on progesterone and baby aspirin as a precaution, yet this still happened.

I’m 41, almost 42 years old. My fiance is 36. I have been seeing an acupuncturist for fertility for about two months. She continued weekly acupuncture but stopped the herbs/tea after I found out I was pregnant. She said I had a kidney and spleen weakness. My cycles are typically 26 days, luteal phase slightly short (12 days), periods average to light and sometimes painful with small clots and I get night sweats before it starts. Otherwise in apparent great health and my doctor has found nothing obvious wrong. I’ve gotten pregnant both times within 2-3 months trying naturally.

I’m trying to look for answers and what to expect because I feel I’m running out of time at my age. Was this all just bad luck and I should keep trying as is to get a healthy baby? At what point, if any, should I resort to western medicine to help?


#2

I’m sorry to hear of your experiences. The best person to ask these questions to is your current acupuncturist who is most familiar with your case overall. But I will give some general opinions which may be helpful.

If it is encouraging at all, I do a fair amount of fertility cases and I’ve successfully treated many women with “recurrent” miscarriages. One woman had 6 miscarriages (in a row) and everything worked out well after a few months of treatment.

For most fertility patients getting pregnant is half the battle - at least you know it is possible which can be a better position than many are in (regardless of age). And you seem to get pregnant fairly quickly which is also a good sign.

Recurrent miscarriage is a fairly well explored phenomena in Chinese Medicine and there are herbal and acupuncture treatments that can be used if it looks like someone is going to miscarry. These treatments can be tough, however, as many times there are no or minimal signs and even if they are there your acupuncturist has to be able to get you in very quickly as there is a very small window for those types of treatments to be effective. But there are treatments, besides the fostering and ultimately preventative work that your practitioner is already doing.

When you say “resort to western medicine” - I’m not entirely sure what you mean. For the most part western medicine has options for increasing the odds of pregnancy but not very much that can avoid miscarriages. Certainly genetic testing of fetal tissue is possible to rule out any genetic issues that may be contributing. Most physicians, however, will not run those tests until you have had 3 or more miscarriages (technically “recurrent” at that point). Other western bloodwork may be helpful (hormone panels, etc.) for you to have in case you do other options in the future, but very likely useful as well for your acupuncturist to possibly better direct the treatments.

Miscarriage is somewhat common, rates vary depending on time frames but around 20% is applicable here. Two in a row is somewhat less common, but there are a host of factors (besides age) that can be contributing. Your first early miscarriage counts, of course, but things can happen early that just make the fetus not viable - and many of these have nothing to do with anything except nature so to speak. It is still a miscarriage technically, but a bit different in clinical meaning than your second. My only point here, is that this doesn’t yet exactly show a trend, even though it would be easy to see that as the person experiencing it.

I would recommend you get some relevant bloodwork from your western doctor and keep seeing your acupuncturist (assuming they have a good amount of experience with fertility) and just see how things turn out. It can very frustrating, but in my clinical experience with proper treatment there is a 90% or higher chance that things will work out well.


#3

Thank you very much for the informative reply. It is very helpful. For now I will continue with my acupuncturist and see how things look in a few months. I will also ask my doctor if she suggests bloodwork.

To explain, by western medicine I meant fertility treatments. For my previous children with ex-husband over a decade ago, I had to use clomid, but my cycles were also completely different back then (wasn’t always ovulating and had very long cycles since stopping birth control). However, it did achieve pregnancy with resulting healthy children, so I was considering asking for it again if it would help.


#4

That history is useful (why your practitioner is really the person to ask). Having had healthy children previously pretty much rules out many of the genetic factors. Knowing the clomid was helpful for you previously is also useful information. Do you by chance know what formulas your current practitioner has you on? If not, that is fine. Also, how long did you try previously before using clomid? Regardless, my guess from your history and how quickly you are getting pregnant now, is that in a few months or less all should be fine.


#5

Yes, I have children from a previous marriage over a decade ago, so I was younger then. My cycles were long and unpredictable back then so after 6 months of trying after a very early miscarriage (5 weeks) I was put on clomid which worked both times.
Now my cycles are shorter and more predictable.
The formulas my acupuncturist had me on were powders that I made to a tea. The first I believe said Fu Ling on the bottle, and the second said Bai Shao (I was only on the herbs two weeks before realizing I was pregnant and she discontinued them while keeping weekly acupuncture treatments). I wonder would staying on herbs during early pregnancy help in my case? I can ask her about it. Thank you!


#9

The herbs (fu ling and bai shao) she had you on were a simple two herb combination which some practitioners do - others use more complicated herbal formulas. There is no right or wrong there, only what is appropriate for the person.

As for formulas to avoid impending miscarriage, there are some of course and they can be quite helpful under the right circumstances with the right timing. Your practitioner knowing more about your history at this point and being more cautious the next time you are pregnant may likely choose to keep you on something during those first 6 weeks or so.


#10

Thank you – the bottles had just those labels so I asked her and she said it was a formula she prepared of more than one herb, though I’m unsure what formula(s) it was. It’s granuals I make to a tea three times a day.

At weekly acupuncture she asks questions and checks pulse and tongue. Here’s a tongue pic if that helps. Do you have any additional advice that would be helpful? I’d converse with her more but her English isn’t the best.


#11

I also just found out from bloodwork done early in the pregnancy that my TSH was 2.52, which according to the lab is normal but some research I see online says is a bit high.


#12

If you mean that the quality of the man’s reproductive cells might be an issue here, then I would imagine that this is a direction to look in.


#13

There are a variety of genetic tests that can be done on fetal tissue as well as for the male and female parts of the equation. This along with other significant tests (blood clotting disorders, autoimmune disorders, as examples) are at times useful and some answers would lead to useful treatments.

These would not be limited to the man, nor was that what I was implying or recommending.


#14

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