Habitual Miscarriage in Chinese Medicine
Habitual miscarriage, also known as hua tai in Chinese medicine, is defined as three or more consecutive miscarriages. In Chinese medicine, the term for miscarriage varies depending on the stage of pregnancy at which it occurs. If it happens within the first month, it is called an chan, which means "hidden labor." Between one and three months, it is called duo tai, which means "falling fetus." After three months, it is called xiao chan or ban chan, which mean "small labor" or "half labor" respectively.
Causes and Pathologies
The most common underlying cause of habitual miscarriage is a deficiency in the kidneys. Other potential contributing factors include a deficiency in the spleen, the Penetrating and Directing Vessels (Chong and Ren Mai) not being firm, and Qi sinking. There are two main types of causes for habitual miscarriage: those related to the fetus and those related to the mother. Causes related to the fetus can include weak Original Qi, which may be the result of the parents being too old or ill at the time of conception. In these cases, the fetus may not develop properly and miscarriage may result. Causes related to the mother can include weak body constitution, weak kidneys, excessive sex, emotional problems, Warm diseases contracted during pregnancy, falls, accidents, emotional shocks, certain medications, and excessive lifting.
The main pathologies associated with habitual miscarriage in the mother are kidney deficiency, blood deficiency, blood heat, and blood stasis. Kidney deficiency can be constitutional or a result of overwork and can lead to the Penetrating and Directing Vessels not nourishing the fetus properly and the Kidney-Qi not holding the fetus. Blood deficiency can result from a poor diet and can cause the fetus to not be properly nourished. Blood heat can be caused by emotional problems or Warm diseases in the mother, and blood stasis can be caused by emotional problems or abdominal surgery.
Symptoms of habitual miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy can include abdominal pain, a sore back, and vaginal bleeding with increasing clots. If miscarriage occurs after three months, there may be heavier vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain.
Treatment of habitual miscarriage should focus on addressing the underlying condition causing the miscarriages. It is recommended that the woman not try to conceive for at least six months, and preferably for a year, to allow time for treatment. Some of the herbal decoctions used in treatment may contain herbs that are contraindicated in pregnancy, so it is important to avoid pregnancy during treatment. The approach to treatment is different from that used in threatened miscarriage, as the focus is on treating the underlying condition rather than "calming the fetus."
In terms of identifying patterns and treatment, it is important to distinguish between Kidney deficiency and Spleen deficiency. Treatment for Kidney deficiency should focus on tonifying the Kidneys and nourishing the Penetrating and Directing Vessels. This can be done with herbs such as Shu Di Huang, Shan Zhu Yu, and Fu Pen Zi. Treatment for Spleen deficiency should focus on tonifying the Spleen and nourishing the Blood. This can be done with herbs such as Bai Zhu, Dang Shen, and Ren Shen. It is also important to address any concurrent Blood stasis or Blood heat.
In conclusion, habitual miscarriage is a common problem that can be effectively treated with Chinese medicine. By addressing the underlying causes and patterns, it is possible to help the woman avoid future miscarriages and have a healthy pregnancy.