What is a Subchorionic Hematoma?
About 1 percent of all pregnancies have a Subchorionic Hematoma or SCH. It is the accumulation of blood within the folds of the chorion (the outer fetal membrane, next to the placenta) or between the uterus and the placenta itself. They are usually detected during a routine ultrasound. There is a chance of light to heavy spotting or none at all. Most SCHs resolve themselves and women have healthy pregnancies.
At the end of January, I had a positive reading on a pregnancy test and was so excited we would be having a second baby. I was about 4 weeks when I started having the usual first trimester nausea, but was also experiencing period like cramping in the following weeks.
At 8 weeks we had our first ultrasound and doctors visit. The midwife came in and said I had a subchorionic hematoma that measured just over 2 cm. I had no idea what that was and was pretty scared and worried about what may happen. I was scheduled to have another ultrasound 4 weeks later to continue monitoring the SCH.
SCH at 8-week visit
Using Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
With my husband being an acupuncturist he has helped other women with SCHs, first trimester bleeding, infertility, and other pregnancy related issues. So I put my trust in him and am taking a Chinese medicine approach to hopefully help resolve the hematoma and ease any discomfort I may be having. He has given me herbs to take daily and is giving me acupuncture treatments.
Chinese medicine can be somewhat difficult to describe so I’m going to do my best to explain it briefly so it hopefully makes sense. Acupuncture is a practice that involves stimulating specific points on the body with a needle to treat pain and various health conditions. There is the belief that disease is caused by a disruption to the flow of qi or energy in the body. The stimulation of the needle is to release the disruption, allowing the qi to flow freely through the channels in the body. Herbal medicine is used in conjunction with acupuncture, when appropriate, to aid the healing process.
At my 12-week ultrasound baby was still growing and moving around like crazy. The good news was the SCH had decreased down to about 1 cm in size, but now I also had Placenta Previa. Placenta Previa is where the placenta lies low and is partially or completely covering the mother’s cervix. In Chinese medicine this is known as “sinking Qi” and refers to the depletion of the Spleen. In particular, it is the Spleen Yang energy that has a warming and lifting quality, so the necessary treatment is to strengthen and lift the Spleen Qi. My husband has also had success lifting the placenta using Chinese medicine. He advised me to continue with my herbs and do moxibustion. Moxibustion is a technique involving burning a particular herb known as Moxa. The herb is prepared into sticks and held alight several inches from a specific acupuncture point.
SCH at 12-week visit
I’m still experiencing cramping at times, and I can tell the herbs do help relieve some of the discomfort. I’m so close to being out of the first trimester and am looking forward to my next appointment in 4 weeks. Hopefully the SCH will either be gone or continue to decrease in size and the Placenta Previa will also be getting better.
I will update this post as I continue to learn more about my SCH and Placenta Previa while using Chinese Medicine.
Update April 18
I’m a little late getting to this update but so far all is well. I’m currently 16 weeks and at my last appointment the SCH and Placenta Previa have all resolved on their own! Every now and then, especially when I overwork myself during the day, I’ll have some discomfort low in my abdomen. I’m still taking Chinese herbs daily and my husband is giving me acupuncture treatments. The treatments really help out with the abdomen discomfort.
Thankfully, not much to report on since everything is going as it should. I’m scheduled to go back at 19 weeks where we will have the anatomy scan and figure out the gender!