Pregnant and Scared. Miscarriage can be a real test of your emotions, patience and strength. When you have had a previous miscarriage, then you’re pregnant again, you may feel scared, or sick with worry. This is completely understandable and I’m seeing a few women in the clinic at the moment in this exact position. Let’s talk about some of the issues that come up.
Whether you conceived easily or you’ve been waiting a while for it to happen, Early Pregnancy can be a joyous time of excitement and holding onto your ‘secret’ for those first 12 weeks.
But what if you had a previous miscarriage and now you’re Pregnant again ?
To be pregnant and scared, to not feel happy is completely normal. I speak to women who tell me once they conceive again, they’re anxious, worried and scared about history repeating itself in another miscarriage. This can make it really tricky because when you pile fear on top of fear, worry on top of worry, it compounds your stress, big time.
Women also comment it can be hard to connect with their current pregnancy, because they pretty much don’t want to ‘count their chickens before they hatch’. I find this can leave women feeling a bit detatched, separated from their pregnancy experience and low in spirits.
How do you navigate through that Pregnancy with the fear and worry sitting there in the background constantly playing on your mind?
I would recommend informing your Doctor right away of any history of miscarriage if they don’t already know. If you have a history of recurrent miscarriage, they may prescribe you Progesterone support to get through those early weeks. Perhaps some suggestions to help you manage stress, grief and loss in the form of counselling, but I find the mental-emotional aspect of Miscarriage is often overlooked and not addressed. Once you’re Pregnant again, they may recommend more frequent visits to monitor things, but not much practical help to get you through each week.
Being Pregnant and scared is a real reaction to your past story. Miscarriage is something that doesn’t always have a cause or explanation. Research suggests Miscarriage can happen in 10-25% of Pregnancies. But I don’t want you to focus on that, instead I recommend client start to focus on themselves and self-care strategies.
I write about the benefits of acupuncture a lot and I truly believe Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture provides some heartfelt support and practical strategies to help you in Early Pregnancy if you’ve had a history of miscarriage. Here’s why TCM is a good support:
- It recognises the Heart energy and can work with it – this is a way we can support emotions and feelings of an individual. Strengthening Heart Qi (resilience), Calming the Heart Qi it if there’s anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares and night terrors. Nourishing the Heart Qi if there’s sleeplessness, vivid dreams, tiredness and lack of Joy.
- It recognises the Heart’s crucial role in Fertility and Pregnancy – We are not just a physical body, we have thoughts and feelings that do impact on our health & wellbeing. In TCM, the Heart has meridian connections to the Uterus. If a woman is less stressed and calmer, they’re generally more fertile and receptive to implantation. Similar to Pregnancy, a calm mother-to-be, means a calm nervous system and less Adrenaline, Cortisol and Fright-or-flight responses, this signals to the body we are safe and secure = Good for Pregnancy.
- It helps moderate stress – Initiates Parasympathetic response. Calms the body, helps slow breath rate, heart rate, improve digestion and sleep.
- It recognises different emotions associated with different organs – for example, using acupuncture, we would use Lung points to release and support a grieving woman, Spleen points to address any worry and Kidney points to support a fearful woman. Grief, Worry, Fear… some of which arise after a miscarriage and women may carry this forward into the next Pregnancy. Like recognising the Heart energy and being able to work with it, TCM can also help support someone experiencing these emotions with acupuncture to release, rebalance and calm.
Here’s some general tips to help you if you’ve experienced a Miscarriage and are Pregnant again:
- First and foremost, let your doctor know that you think you’re Pregnant. Once a positive blood test has been received, fill any Progesterone scripts they give you ASAP.
- Avoid high impact exercise
- Avoid spas and saunas
- Avoid stressful situations if you can.
- To enhance that, moderate your stress with gentle, relaxing activities – Pre-natal Yoga with a qualified specialist in Pregnancy, or swimming, walking, meditation ( I recommend this app for your device)
- Do things that energise you – quality time with good friends, laughter with friends/ family. If it drains you or exhausts you, don’t keep doing it.
- Bone Broth – Take a cup of bone broth each day or eat is as a meal 2x week until Morning Sickness takes over. (I recommend this recipe from The Spring Fertility Website)
- Rest – yes I REALLY mean it!! Get more hours of sleep and do what you can to improve the quality of it. Western society is terrible at resting and it is so underrated. Give yourself permission to rest and do NOTHING even just for 20 minutes!
- Acupuncture – Find a registered Acupuncturist in your area and let them know of your concerns. I have had women miscarry previously and come in weekly for Acupuncture support. I don’t dictate the frequency of treatment but put it back on them and ask: What kind of support do you FEEL you need from me? How did you FEEL after the last session? How often do you FEEL you need the acupuncture support? Women FEEL it’s worth the investment in themselves and are very happy to make their health and the Pregnancy a priority above work, bills, stress and traffic.
- Connect with your Pregnancy/Growing baby – this is so important. I can hear how hard it is for women to do this especially if they’ve experienced loss before. Opening your Heart energy is what we encourage in your Acupuncture treatments and is healthy for you and baby to connect. Acknowledging THIS growing foetus can be as simple as placing hands over your belly and doing some deep breathing. Heart Math has some good research backed techniques to help you here to connect and focus on gratitude in these moments.
- Counselling – If you need to talk to someone about unresolved grief, loss and anxiety, I refer my clients to This Psychologist on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Her business is called Your Pregnancy Matters and she has years of experience in this specialised field in and outside of Maternity wards. Pregnant and scared is something she can help you navigate through. Mindfulness and staying in the moment exercises can help to reinforce my final point…
- Take each day as it comes. Take each test, scan, week as it comes. You can’t change the past, or control the future, way out there, just yet. Your power is in the NOW. Use these tips to manage your emotional state now, practice self-care techniques now, be kind to yourself now and rest during these early days and weeks of Pregnancy. Take each scan as it comes. If you’re worried, ask for more frequent scans from you OB or doctor.
Take care of your Heart energy with some Acupuncture to help you through these early weeks of Pregnancy. If you’re in Sydney, you can make Acupuncture appointments with me via these clinics: Family Wellness Centre and Green Door Health
Master your stress and relaxation with the benefits of Acupuncture, especially if you’re Pregnant and scared. You will be able to smile more as you get closer and closer to your ‘milestone date’ and onwards to a healthy Pregnancy. Working with your Heart energy in Acupuncture is all about getting back in touch with your JOY about this Pregnancy.
Resources for women who are Pregnant and Scared:
Sue Hawkins at Your Pregnancy Matters
Mothersafe.org for any questions about if it’s safe to take certain supplements, food, herbs or medicines during Pregnancy.