Healing After a Pregnancy or Infant Loss
Serenity Holistic Health provides supportive treatment for infertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a global day of awareness.
1 in 4 individuals will lose a baby during pregnancy, birth, or infancy to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and newborn death. A staggering statistic. Struggling to conceive is heartbreaking and difficult, but infant loss is in a category all its own. It can result in depression, anxiety, PTSD, lowered self-esteem, and feelings of shame and guilt.
With acupuncture, our team attempts to positively impact the pregnancies where it is not inevitable that they will result in miscarriage. While we cannot change the outcome for a genetically defective embryo, we can improve factors which will “make or break” the ones that do have a fighting chance. In practical terms this might mean working towards an optimally nourished uterine lining so a healthy embryo has a fertile garden in which to grow. That is just one example.
We know that acupuncture decreases miscarriage in both natural and IVF settings for the embryos that are viable. How does it do this? Here are some areas that have been confirmed via Western Medicine:
-Acupuncture decreases stress which raises progesterone levels
-Modulates stress hormones and mediates the release of neurotransmitters which stimulate the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormones
-Positively affects cellular growth and cell-to-cell communication
Modulates the immune system
-Increases blood flow in the uterine arteries and increases endometrial receptivity.
While you might hear your Acupuncturist use flowery terms such as “Supplementing your Kidney Qi,” “Tonifying your Heart Qi,” or “Clearing your Blood Stasis,” the above bullet points are precisely the same aim of the artful practice of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncturists seek to achieve these goals with needles, herbs, and food as medicine as--among other things. We can work in a complementary manner to Western Medicine, which might use pharmaceuticals or surgery.
Another example is the point Spleen 6, or “Three Leg Yin.” This point is paramount when treating menstruation, conception, and pregnancy. It just so happens that it also positively affects afferent nerve innervation of the uterus (in layman’s terms it conveys impulses to the uterus). In the modern era we are able to “prove” things the ancients intuitively knew about the acupuncture points and the meridian system.
When and miscarriage or stillbirth happens, the woman should continue with treatment to get her body back to a state of homeostasis. Acupuncturists can help with the depression, anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, shame, and guilt--or any other emotion she might find herself struggling with. We can help heal her Spirit or “Shen,” as we call it. We can also work with their partners, who often feel helpless when it comes to pregnancy and infant loss .
Dr. Monica Starkman, Associate Professor of Psychiatry Emerita at the University of Michigan recommends the following steps for anyone who wants to help a woman/couple who has suffered loss:
1. Acknowledge the loss
2. Don’t worry about finding the right thing to say--simply be compassionate
3. Let her/him take the lead
4. Don’t try to cheer them up
5. Decrease the social stigma of pregnancy loss by talking about it
Serenity Holistic Health is here for you if you have had a pregnancy or infant loss. Many women and couples suffer for years, some in silence. We are here to tell you it’s not too late to begin the healing process. We offer Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Reiki, Massage Therapy, Mayan Abdominal Massage, and Grief Coaching--all of which can be remarkably helpful in the journey back to one’s “new normal.” Please reach out and let us do this hard work with you. We would be honored.
Maureen McLaughlin, LAc