Acupuncture should be continued after embryo transfer and confirmed pregnancy at the frequency of two times weekly for 13 weeks to help reduce the chances of 1st trimester miscarriage.
There are many causes of miscarriage. The most frequent cause is poor egg and/or sperm quality creating a chromosomally abnormal embryo. By order of natural selection and survival of the fittest, pregnancies that occur with these embryos frequently abort.
Another common cause of miscarriage is poor hemodynamics or blood flow. Strong blood flow is important throughout the entire pregnancy but poor blood flow at the beginning of a pregnancy often results in miscarriage as a result of initial lack of nutrient delivery to the implanted blastocyst and then, later on, lack of nutrient delivery to the placenta. Placentation typically occurs between weeks 5 and 9 during an on-going pregnancy.
The job of the placenta is two-fold: 1) to transport nourishment to the developing fetus; 2) to excrete waste matter from the developing fetus. If the placenta fails to maintain its functional integrity, a miscarriage will ensue. One of the reasons that placental demise occurs is because of poor blood-flow or inferior hemodynamics. Acupuncture improves blood-flow.
We know acupuncture improves blood-flow because when women have transvaginal ultrasound examinations with a color doppler before and after acupuncture treatment, there is frequently more blood available and visible at the level of the uterus after acupuncture intervention. A color doppler is a medical device which measures and visualizes blood flow.
The result of poor blood-flow to the placenta is intra-uterine-fetal-demise; the fetus stops developing and miscarriage manifests.
As 90 percent of miscarriages occur within the first trimester, I treat for 13 weeks or, one week past the first trimester to help ensure an on-going pregnancy. Of course there are 2nd and 3rd trimester miscarriages, but most miscarriages are first trimester events.
Based on the above, it is, in my clinical estimation, important to continue to receive acupuncture after an embryo transfer and when pregnancy is confirmed to help reduce first trimester miscarriages.
Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM