ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS AND MISCARRIAGE: Systematic Review of Chinese Medicine for Miscarriage during Early Pregnancy

Acupuncture-Pregnancy-402

Lu Li et al, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 753856
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

 

Chinese data bases were screened for published studies on the effect of chinese herbal medicine on threatened miscarriage. While more than 300,000 papers were found, the trials generally did not meet the clinical research standards that would be required in the west. That said, it is not always easy or ethical to carry out placebo controlled randomised trials with pregnant women who are worried about miscarrying. Meta-analysis of some of the clinical trials indicated that Chinese medicines alone or Chinese medicines combined with Western medicines were more effective than Western medicines alone to treat threatened miscarriage in relieving the clinical signs, including vaginal bleeding, low back pain, and abdominal pains.

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Effects of Acupuncture on LIF and IL-12 in Rats of Implantation Failure

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Gui J et al, Am J Reprod Immunol, 2012; 67: 383–390
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology

 

Five interesting papers looking at the effect of acupuncture on implantation and miscarriage have been published by a group in Wuhan, China. Earlier papers showed that acupuncture improves implantation and pregnancy rates significantly in rats. The latest  trial looks at the mechanism for this improvement. They examined the effect of acupuncture on the immune environment of rat uteri which had been treated with Mifepristone (a progesterone receptor antagonist used to cause abortion, and commonly known as the drug RU486). When these rats were given acupuncture the immune factors important for implantation improved remarkably, to the levels of the control rats that did not have the abortion drug treatment, indicating an important role for acupuncture in supporting the ideal environment for implantation and the development of the placenta.

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Effect of Chinese herbal treatment on Th1- and Th2-type cytokines, progesterone and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin in early pregnant women of threatened abortion

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Liu F, Luo SP, Chin J Integr Med. 2009 Oct;15(5):353-8
Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine  

 

In this study the mechanism of a well known formula for preventing miscarriage was examined. After taking the formula for 4 weeks in early pregnancy, the levels of certain immune factors were shown to be more favourable to a successful pregnancy outcome than they were before taking the herbs.

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Effect of Gutai Decoction on the Abortion Rate of in vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer

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Liu Ying and Wu Jing-zhi Chin J Integr Med 2006, 12(3) : 189-193
Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine 

 

A group of women undergoing IVF were given a well known Chinese herb formula known to help prevent miscarriage and stabilise early pregnancy, from 2 days after their embryo transfer (combined with progesterone) up until 9 weeks of pregnancy if they conceived. The control group used progesterone support only. They found that 13% of the women who conceived while taking the Chinese herb formula miscarried, while 23% of the women in the control group miscarried. There were no adverse effects on liver or kidney function in the treated group, and no birth defects in the treated group (one case of harelip in the untreated group).

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