Lost Our Baby at 20 Weeks

by Stephanie
(Chicago, IL)

Hello Amelia,
We lost our baby at 20 weeks last Friday. I met with a master herbalist at today and started weekly acupuncture. He gave me 6 different bottles of herbs plus liver and blood detox teas. I will find out tomorrow at my OB appointment if the cause of the miscarriage was placental abruption. I am hypothyroid, so I have read this could be a cause.

My cycles range from 34-38 days on average. I ovulate on days 16-18. I spot for 4-5 days, bleed for 4 days and spot again for 4-5 days. I am 38 years old and had 1 healthy pregnancy 4 years ago.

I am trying to set up an appointment with a fertility doctor (to see if I have PCOS), gastroenterologist (to find out if I am Celiac) and an endocrinologist (to review my labs to see if my thyroid or hormones were a cause). I am trying to figure out what went wrong with the pregnancy so it doesn't happen again.

The Chinese Medicine doctor I saw knows his stuff but does not do the best job communicating - could be the language barrier. I feel like I left today with so many questions. He told me that I should go off my medication and stop all my supplements (I take a lot). But what if the fertility doctor wants to put me on a medication, is it best to trust Chinese medicine first and ONLY that? Or is TCM a good compliment to Western medicine? I am afraid the Medical Doctors are going to tell me to stop the herbs.

Thank you,

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Loss of Your Baby
by: Amelia Hirota

Hello Stephanie,
I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your baby. Please accept my condolences. You're amazingly strong to have the fortitude to search for answers right now. I hope that you'll find my answers helpful in your quest for answers.

From your description of your cycle, I think PCOS because your cycles are 34-38 days and I suspect estrogen dominance because of the spotting prior to your period. Spotting is also common with hypothyroidism, as well, especially the early cycle spotting. Hypothyroidism is also linked with estrogen dominance, so we're possibly looking at related problems.

It sounds like you're covering your bases with the specialists that you're seeing. You're very wise to want to rule out PCOS, Celiac and endocrine contributing factors. I think you're especially wise for wanting to find some answers before getting pregnant again. Multiple miscarriages reduce the chances of carrying a pregnancy to term in the future, so figuring why you lost your baby at 20 weeks is a prudent thing to do. I hope you find your answers.

I would encourage you to listen to your Chinese Medicine doctor regarding stopping the supplements. As far as herbs and supplements go, it's better to follow a well thought out strategy than mixing and matching supplements that are reputed to help fertility.

What should you do if your RE and your TCM doctor don't agree? I kind of think that you won't have to make this decision right away, but if it comes down to deciding between the two, you'll have to tune in to your instinct and decide which path you want to pursue at the moment. Sometimes your TCM doctor and your RE are not going to agree and you're going to have to decide what is right for yourself. It really depends on the particular circumstances at the time.

With my patients, I make a case for my recommended protocol and assume that their doctor is doing the same. Then, I trust that my patient is making the best decision for herself. I do not always think that it's best to trust only your acupuncturist. Nor, do I think that the reproductive endocrinologists are always right. Finding health professionals that you trust and you feel understand you well is a challenge. Not being able to communicate with your TCM doctor makes things difficult, as you have to have a certain level of blind trust. However, you can observe the changes that take place in your body to evaluate if you think your treatments are helping.

I would assume that your RE is only going to put you on meds if you're going to pursue fertility treatments. Therefore, I think that you'll be in the clear to continue with your Chinese herbs. I would encourage you to pay close attention to your BBT charts, your periods, your cycles and your mood and see if you notice any difference on the herbs.

I hope that you find your answers and some good health professionals to put on your team. Best of luck to you.

Take care,
Amelia Hirota, D.Ac.

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