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. The process may be painful and uncomfortable and the situation may be similar to childbirth. Just as breathing, staying calm and certain positions during childbirth are going to make the process more comfortable, the same might be necessary during miscarriage.
Pregnancy Loss can be defined in the following stages.
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
The uterus cleans out any leftover matter.
4) MENSTRUAL RETURN
During this phase the menstrual cycle returns and the hormones reset. It takes at least three cycles to make sure that the cycle is healthy and a full recovery has taken place.
Below are some uterine imbalances that impact pregnancy.
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.
Poor fetal growth.
Diabetes, low amniotic fluid
Medical treatments range from no assistance to mifepristone/misoprostol pills, dilation and curettage; or dilation and extraction . Follow up appointments are not standard and they do not ensure that all the pregnancy matter has expelled. There is no support for pregnancy loss recovery or to ensure 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, to replenish blood and fluids, to rest and to ensure a full uterine cleanse.
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. However, there may be times when steaming is contraindicated due to uterine bleeding.
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 may be a sign of an incomplete pregnancy loss recovery. Steam can be useful at this stage to get the uterus to a healthy state which is important 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 conditions as well as know when steaming is contraindicated. During pregnancy loss, 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 who will also have some first aid training and herbal tools.
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.