I hope you don't mind my cross-posting, I only got two responses in the NICU & Preemie board, and it's been a couple of weeks.
I had idiopathic PTL at 20w4d. I’d been having BH contractions since week 15 without any cervical change, but on the day I went to the hospital they intensified, and I also had some non-distinct, constant uterine pain (not only during contractions) that built up gradually. I am certain that my dr.'s practice did everything they could to help me; they tried Terbutaline, Procardia, progesterone suppositories, and I was on bed rest with IV the whole hospital stay, but the contractions didn't stop.
At my 2nd trimester U/S, everything looked perfect, including my cervix. Blood tests, placenta analysis, emergency amnio and my son's autopsy came back "normal", and ruled out infection. I already saw a MFM dr, who confirmed everything I knew from my OB, but no specific information as to my chances for a longer/ full-term pregnancy.
After contractions began, my cervical length stayed at 2.5 cm for two days, so IC is unlikely; my water broke 10 minutes before my son was born. Most stories and articles I read are about PROM and IC, but I haven't found much information about PTL that started with contractions in the absence of PROM or IC.
So if your patients, or other women you know have had irritable uterus/ contractions PTL, and had longer subsequent pregnancies, please share some stories of hope. I’m especially interested to know:
• Was it a "naturally" (for lack of a better word) longer/ full-term pregnancy, or due to treatment & bed rest?
• Any subsequent full-term twin pregnancies (or at least further along that the previous preemie)?
I've heard and read great things about herbs that could calm an irritable uterus: Black Haw Root Bark, false unicorn root, Cramp Bark, Lobelia. What is your opinion on these?
Thank you very much.
First, let me say that you have been though a very difficult experience, and that there may not be an answer as to "why" this happened. However, that does not mean it will happen again. Often women have a complicated outcome with one pregnancy and then go on to have a healthy normal pregnancy after that. It is very difficult for a doctor to give an estimate as to percentage chance of the same thing happening again when we don't know what happened to cause the outcome last time. That said, there are a few things I would highly recommend for you to consider before another pregnancy:
1. Mayan Abdominal Therapy, a massage technique that I have seen greatly increase positive pregnancy outcomes in many women who have had difficulties prior. I would highly recommend the self-care training if you can find one that is taught in your area, as well as sessions with a trained therapist. The website to find a practitioner and training in your area is: https://arvigotherapy.com/
2. Consult with a midwife who has experience with uterine tonification specific to your concerns. I would look for a naturopathic midwife if there is one in your area. Visit www.natruoapthic.org for a list of naturopathic physicians. Even if you need to travel a bit to get to one, an experienced nautropathic midwife would be an excellent addition to your care team.
While I do not generally see pregnant women in my practice since I am not a midwife, I can tell you that I have seen several women as patients who have lost a baby with their first pregnancy for no apparent reason, and they have gone on to have healthy pregnancies after their loss.
Many blessings on your journey, and please let me know if you have questions about the suggestions above.