Pregnancy loss is when a pregnancy ends before the full term and the baby does not survive. During pregnancy loss there is a natural labor that may or may not consist of contractions where the pregnancy (grey tissue) comes out. This is followed by a postpartum uterine cleanse to clear out any retained pregnancy matter and fluids.
Pregnancy Loss consists of three distinct phases.
1) Pre-Pregnancy Loss. Before pregnancy matter (grey tissue) has passed. May consist of contractions or spotting.
2) Active Pregnancy Loss. During this phase the uterine cleanse is under way. There is active bleeding, possibly contractions and passing of pregnancy matter (grey tissue), clots and any leftover pregnancy matter and fluids.
3) Post Pregnancy Loss. During this phase the uterus is recovering. The uterus cleans out any leftover matter, the hormones reset and the menstrual cycle returns.
-Unhealthy uterus (periods) prior to conception
-Lack of support
-Incomplete postpartum care
-Cold foods and drinks
-Lack of follow-through to ensure healthy menstrual return
-Lack of public health awareness to allow time off and help ensure postpartum care
Reflection on Motherhood/Parenthood
Medical treatments range from no assistance to mifepristone/misoprostol pills, dilation and curettage, dilation and extraction . Follow up appointments are not standard and they do not consist of monitoring to ensure full postpartum recovery has taken place or that the menstrual return is healthy.
In Traditional Asian Medicine, the postpartum time (even after pregnancy loss) is seen as a Golden Opportunity – a chance to enhance the health of the person’s entire health. It is a time to care for and nourish the body to the utmost extent possible.
-Unexplained Infertility / Difficulty Conceiving
-Menstrual Cramps / Painful Periods
-Depression / Emotional Overwhelm / Disconnect
Pregnancy Loss Recovery is the return of the body to full pre-pregnancy state and function within the six week period after pregnancy loss extended on until the return of a standard healthy menstrual cycle.
PREGNANCY LOSS RECOVERY CHECKLIST
1. Full uterine cleanse.
2. Blood and fluid loss during labor and delivery must be replenished to allow for the body to recover energy, heal and produce breastmilk.
3. The experience of the loss should be emotionally processed.
4. Menstrual return should consist of 3 consecutive months of standard healthy cycles — 4 days menses, pain free, red color, no side-effects, 28-30 day cycles
For pregnancies that were 5 months or later there may be additional recovery items as well. Please see postpartum recovery checklist.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Pregnancy loss is a uterine cleanse similar to the period and postpartum, however, since it is biologically the early interruption of a longer process, it can be much more complex. Since steaming can be helpful in bringing circulation to the uterus and optimizing uterine function it may be helpful during certain stages of the pregnancy loss process.
Pre-pregnancy loss in the case of missed miscarriage or dry cramping without any active bleeding. Steam can be helpful to get the body ready for naturally releasing the pregnancy matter. The same conditions necessary for labor are necessary here – circulation, lubrication, relaxation . Steaming naturally brings all of these conditions to the body.
Active pregnancy loss bleeding. Steaming is contraindicated.
Post pregnancy loss. Steam should be used here for a full uterine cleanse and reset.
Menstrual return. Menstrual return is a post-pregnancy loss opportunity to see if the uterus has completed the pregnancy loss or if there is retained matter or other imbalances caused by the loss. The period should be evaluated by a Peristeam Hydrotherapist who can do a menstrual cycle analysis to determine whether the cleanse was complete or whether or not further recovery is necessary. If the period does not return within 6 weeks after the last active bleeding this is the sign of an incomplete pregnancy loss recovery. Steam can be useful at this stage to get the uterus to a healthy state which is necessary before attempting another pregnancy.
STEAM THERAPIST RECOMMENDATION
It is necessary to work with a Peristeam Hydrotherapist who is trained in steaming for pregnancy loss and will adjust the steam setup, duration and herbs for the different pregnancy loss phases as well as know when steaming is contraindicated. In postpartum, steaming is based on lochia which can vary from day to day. Some days it’s okay to steam and then the next day might need to pause – steaming causes a lot of lochia to come out (which is necessary for healing) but it takes some responsiveness to it. Some lochia you can steam on, others no. Because pregnancy loss carries with it the risk of heavy bleeding and/or hemorrhaging, this is the most important time to work with a trained practitioner.
Besides the risk, someone steaming for pregnancy loss should have professional support and care. This will probably be one of the most important times in life that extra care should be received.
See Uterine Cleanse
-Take a pause from regular routine
-Pause Conception until Standard Healthy Cycle
-Womb Cleanse Care Guidelines (rest, no plugs, warmth, nourishment, no inversions)
-Hot Shower Squat
-High impact cardio – sprints
-Relaxation – shaking leaf exercise, vibration, nesting, journaling, conversations, therapy
-Herbal Bath with Hemostatic Herbs
-Womb Cleanse Food Therapy (Warm nourishing foods like soups and hot cereals. Eat/snack often. Do not cut calories. Avoid cold foods/beverages.)
-Blood Deficiency Food Therapy Guidelines (Blood tonic herbal formulas, focus on digestion and absorption, protein/iron/B vitamins/vitamin C. Eat last meal by 6pm or earlier allowing digestion a chance to rest at night, which frees up the liver for cleaning and generating blood.)
-Food Therapy for Circulation (spicy food, emmenagogue teas). Helpful circulation foods include Ginger, Cinnamon, Thyme, Cumin, Marjoram, Turmeric, Pepper, Cayenne. Also bitter herbs and foods.
-Midwife, Doula/Support Person/Friend
-Therapist/Healer/Somatic Experiencing Therapist
There are many known and unknown causes for pregnancy loss. Best practice is to have a healthy uterus prior to pregnancy. Conception is not the goal, carrying to full term and delivering a healthy baby is. Below are the complications associated with certain menstrual cycle imbalances:
Pre-term bleeding and pregnancy loss. Early ovulation and difficulty with conception (because the follicle is not mature enough).
Implantation issues. Placenta attachment problems and other irregularities. Unexplained infertility.
Diabetes, low amniotic fluid