After a miscarriage, making the decision to try for another pregnancy can be difficult. It is natural to want to become pregnant again right away after going through the heartache of losing a baby. However, you should wait to attempt again until you are physically, as well as emotionally ready.
When can I attempt another pregnancy?
There is no perfect amount of time to wait before trying to conceive again, but many healthcare providers encourage woman to wait at least a few months to strengthen the chance of a healthy pregnancy. If a woman’s body isn’t ready to support a pregnancy by the time that she conceives again, she faces an increased risk of experiencing a repeat miscarriage. It takes time for the uterus to recover and for the endometrial lining to become strong and healthy again.
Medically, it is safe to conceive after two or three normal menstrual periods if tests or treatments for the cause of the miscarriage are not being done. Some physicians routinely recommend that couples wait six months to a year before attempting another pregnancy in order to come to terms with their loss, whereas other physicians feel there is no compelling reason to wait so long.
What are the chances of having another miscarriage?
Many couples who experience a miscarriage worry that it will happen again. Fortunately, at least 85% of women who have had one loss will go on to have a successful pregnancy the next time, as will 75% of those who have experienced two or three losses.
When should a specialist be consulted before attempting to conceive again?
Your health care provider can refer you to the appropriate specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, or reproductive endocrinology who can help you have the best treatment to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy. You may want to consider seeking help if you:
- Have had two or more miscarriages
- Are over age 35
- Have an illness that may affect your pregnancy (such as diabetes)
- Have experienced fertility issues
How do we decide when to try again?
Deciding when to try again is a decision only you as a couple can make. Another pregnancy won’t replace the lost pregnancy but may help you by refocusing your attention. If there were medical complications with your miscarriage, make sure to discuss the plans to try again with your health care provider first.
How might we feel during the next pregnancy?
Your next pregnancy might not be as joyful as you would like because you’ve learned that life doesn’t always go according to your plans. You can’t say it’s your first, but it is also difficult to say you are a parent. The following are recommendations to make this time a little easier:
- Ask that your pregnancy be monitored carefully.
- You may want to avoid early preparation for the baby’s arrival. Some couples find it helpful to request that baby showers be held until after the arrival of the baby.
- Some people will make suggestions about what you should do or not do to make this pregnancy successful because they are also invested emotionally in your pregnancy. The easiest way to handle their suggestions is to listen, and then do whatever you, your partner, and medical team feel is best.
- Your birth experience might be bittersweet because memories may resurface about your loss. You will probably need to do some grieving in addition to celebrating your new baby.
- Your parenting may be influenced by your past loss so moments of panic might occur, especially when the new baby is ill, or too quiet.
- You may feel the need to protect yourself from more sorrow so you might be cautious bonding with your new baby until you’re certain he or she is safe and healthy.
- If you feel you are struggling, speak to your healthcare provider about possible support groups or counselors who could help you through this difficult time.
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Compiled using information from the following sources:
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny, P.T., et al, Ch. 3.
Miscarriage Support Aukland Inc, http://www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz