A miscarriage is every woman’s nightmare yet they are more common than we think. Worldwide, 15 per cent of known pregnancies in women under 35 result in miscarriages, usually within the first trimester. Women between 35 and 40 years old face a 20 to 35 per cent chance of miscarriage. Beyond that, the risk goes up to 50 per cent. In total, about 10 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end up in miscarriages.
In a First Look Asia interview, Tanja Silvia Moro, fertility coach and counsellor at Fertility Coaching Singapore, cites genetics or congenital abnormalities in the embryo, abnormalities or chronic medical conditions affecting the womb as the most common causes of miscarriages in mothers.
Felicia Tan, 36, is one such mum who tried in vain to conceive for six years before undergoing fertility programmes between July 2011 and May 2012. She conceived twice but miscarried both times. Blood tests showed she was borderline diabetic and bacteria might have irritated the cervix, causing it to prematurely dilate in her second attempt. She says, “I felt very guilty during my second miscarriage because I wondered if the miscarriage could have been prevented if I had chosen to rest for a longer period before my second pregnancy.”
She later wrote two books, Baby with Love and Lost and Found, as a platform to share her experiences with other mothers and to keep the memory of her baby in print. Felicia says, “It helped me to put a close to the chapter.”
While there is nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage, there are steps to take to prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy again. Doctors usually advise mums to let the body rest for three months to a year before trying again for a baby. They prescribe supplements such as folic acid, which helps to build new cells.
Alternatively, couples can try using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments. Joyce Ng, Senior Manager, Business Development at Eu Yan Sang Integrative Health Pte Ltd explains that treatment for miscarriages can be carried out in two “aspects”, one being preventive treatment for pregnant women with miscarriage signs, the other being treatment targeted at women with a history of miscarriages.
She explains, “Miscarriage treatment using Chinese Medicine primarily involves nourishing the kidneys and restoring the levels of blood and ‘qi’. Depending on the month of pregnancy, different Chinese herbs and acupuncture points can be used. There are three methods for preventing miscarriage.
The first method is to nourish the kidneys and foetus, Chinese herbs such as Cuscuta Chinensis, Dipsacus, Eucommia, Loranthaceae can be used. The second method is to nourish blood and foetus; Chinese herbs such as White Peony root, Rehmannia glutinosa, mulberry, Angelica can be used. The third method is to nourish the ‘qi’ and foetus; Chinese herbs such as Codonopsis pilosula, Radix Astragali, Atractylodes rhizome can be used.”
According to TCM beliefs, women should also focus on consuming nutritious food during the recovery period. Ng recommends eating food such as fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, fish, eggs, chicken, milk, seafood and soy-based products after the miscarriage. Zhao Xu Hong, TCM physician, Raffles Chinese Medicine , adds on that, “Women who suffered from miscarriages should keep warm, especially their legs and feet, consume less of raw and cold food, avoid sleeping late and have sufficient rest, minimising stress wherever possible.”
Tanja says “My advice to mums who have gone through miscarriages is to find the right healthcare provider with the right experience, expertise and knowledge to provide you with support as you try to conceive. Couples should also find a support group to equip themselves with the right tools to cope with miscarriages.” In Singapore, couples can turn to the Child Bereavement Support (Singapore) Group for assistance.