Miscarriage is a common problem presented in the clinic and is just one of a large range of women’s problems associated with pregnancy. Miscarriages can occur from early into the pregnancy up until a several months, but the most dangerous months of miscarriage are the first three months. For some cases, after the first miscarriage the woman’s body has not become balanced there is a chance of a second miscarriage. Finding the causes of a miscarriage and being able to save the baby is very important. It is also good for the health of the woman’s body in the future. Each year we help many women with miscarriages and through our advice and treatment, assist them in maintaining a successful pregnancy to full term.
I remember about 17 years ago a woman who was 3 months pregnant presented with sudden bleeding. The woman had been bleeding for 2 days already and it was quite heavy. I gave her a check up and found that her energy was very low and her pulse and tongue all indicated Qi and Blood deficiency, so I prescribed the appropriate Chinese Medicine and encouraged her to rest. Soon after, her bleeding stopped, the pregnancy continued and everything was well. A few months afterwards she had a very healthy baby boy! Now the boy is preparing for his TEE and says he wants to learn medicine.
Chinese Medicine considers that in most cases both threatened miscarriages and women with a history of miscarriage can be cured.
1. Causes & Symptoms of Miscarriage
Chinese Medicine considers that most miscarriages can be prevented. Through my many years experience of treatment I have realised that there are many causes of miscarriage. I have also found that the most common cause is deficiency of the Spleen and Kidney leading to a Qi and blood deficiency. These deficiencies result in the Uterus not getting enough blood supply to support reproductive growth. The lack of vital Qi (original energy) can result in miscarriage. In some cases, this type of deficiency is evident when the baby grows very slowly and then dies in the uterus later in the pregnancy.
To prevent miscarriage, women should ensure that their body is balanced before even planning a pregnancy. Job, family and exercise should be re-arranged where necessary to avoid overdoing it and depleting the energy.
The Spleen and Kidneys (Spleen Qi, blood and Kidney energy) need to be functioning sufficiently to keep the pregnancy going. If Spleen and Kidney energy is lowered, women will have such symptoms as lethargy, shortness of breath, palpitations, pale, low back ache, poor appetite, sluggish bowel movement, insomnia, light menstrual flow or shortened menstrual flow. If these symptoms are not treated prior to pregnancy, the mother can develop mild bleeding which will get heavier and finally cause a miscarriage.
In case you are experiencing these symptoms before or during your pregnancy and also have a history of previous miscarriage, you should balance your body before you start the next pregnancy. In the case that you are pregnant already and are experiencing these symptoms you should consult your doctor as soon as possible – slow down, relax and make sure your energy is good. In the case where you are experiencing bleeding early in your pregnancy and your doctor cannot identify the cause, I suggest consulting a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner to check if there is any imbalance in your body.
Also, I suggest during your treatment before or in the earlier stage of pregnancy you should eat nutritional food to support your Qi and blood supply – Lotus Seed is one which will help.
2. Health Effects of Lotus Seed
i) Maintaining Healthy Pregnancy
One of the Chinese Medicine books, Ben Cao Jin Ji Zhu, and also modern TCM food diet therapy text books all mention that Lotus Seed can tonify the Spleen and Kidney to build up the body’s energy, Qi and Blood and help to stop bleeding associated with miscarriage.
Women who have a history of miscarriage with the symptoms mentioned above can eat some Lotus Seeds while undergoing their treatment. I suggest dishes like Lotus Sticky Rice Porridge and Lotus Red Dates Porridge. (Please check recipe below)
ii) Tonify the body & increase energy
Lotus Seed can increase the body’s energy through tonifying the Spleen and Kidney. Chinese medicine considers the Kidneys to contain the bodies original essence (obtained from parents during pregnancy) from before birth. The Spleen continues to make the body’s essence from digestion. Both essences are very important for body energy, so if these two organs are weaker it will effect the body’s energy, Qi and blood. This may cause the following symptoms: sluggish bowel movements, or even has a bowel movement very early in the morning (5am), sometimes has undigested food in the stool, a lack of energy, shortness of breath, palpatations especially during or after doing things, looks pale, dizziness from changing posture, abdominal bloating which is worse after eating, low back ache or pain, puffiness or a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, lower libido. If you are pregnant these symptoms may lead to a miscarriage and developmental problems for the foetus.
I always explain to my patients that when you feel tired, your organs feel tired too. During pregnancy if the uterus is unable to get enough Qi and blood supply it may lead to a miscarriage. This is a common cause of miscarriage and underdeveloped foetus. I suggest that if you are planning on getting pregnant or are pregnant already and have the above symptoms, eating the lotus seeds may help to maintain the functioning of the Spleen and Kidneys to raise your body’s energy.
i) Lotus Seed Sticky Rice Porridge
1 Handful of white rice
15 Lotus seeds
500ml-800ml (approx. 2-3 cups) of water
Soak Lotus Seeds for 2-3 hours before cooking
Cook rice and lotus seeds in 500ml-800ml water on simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice softens.
Effects of the dish: This dish has long been very popular as a healthy porridge dish in China since ancient times and is useful in tonifying the Spleen and Kidneys, raising the energy and help to stop bleeding from miscarriage.
ii) Lotus & Red Dates Porridge
Easy to cook – very similar to the Lotus Seed Sticky Rice Porridge. Just add 10 dried Chinese Red Dates into the cooking.
Effects of this porridge: Strengthening the Qi and the Blood and tonifying the body. It is also very good for iron deficiency.
Both of these porridge dishes can be eaten three times a week, to aid relief of your symptoms.
If preferred, you can replace the rice with oats in these recipes.
Dried Lotus Seeds and Red Dates can be bought from the Chinese market in China Town.
i) Do not eat Lotus Seed if you are experiencing the following symptoms: cold or flu, fever, constipation.
ii) If you are not sure weather Lotus Seeds are appropriate for you, please ask your experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.
5. How to Prevent Miscarriage
From my clinical experience, many miscarriages can be avoided especially those associated with lowered Spleen and Kidney energy and Qi & Blood deficiency, like the symptoms mentioned above.
i) Before planning a pregnancy, check your body to ensure you feel healthy and have enough energy and arrange your family or work commitments to allow you to maintain optimal health and energy.
ii) During the pregnancy, especially the first three months, avoid a heavy or stressful workload, avoid strong, fast or heavy exercise and avoid overdoing it. In the first three months walking is suitable for most women as far as exercise goes.
iii) In case you have a small amount of bleeding, consult your GP or specialist for a check-up (they may recommend an ultra sound). Also, you can consult your experienced TCM practitioner to find out the cause of the bleeding and a suitable treatment. Slow down and rest is the first thing to do and is very important.
iv) For women with a history of miscarriage, it is best to re-balance the body before falling pregnant again in order to avoid further miscarriage.
Finally, pregnancy and creating a new life is not easy and is a very complex and complicated process. If there is an early miscarriage, please don’t give up. It is best to see your doctor for a general check-up as soon as possible. If you are unable to find any physical problems you can also get suggestions from your experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. These TCM practitioners will use traditional diagnosis (such as pulse and tongue diagnosis etc.) to find the causes of the miscarriage and will give you TCM treatment.
In my many years of experience in this type of treatment in my clinic, I realise that most miscarriages can be saved and prevented. It is especially important to balance the body before pregnancy.
I hope this article gives you some advice and help.