Pregnancy

Getting pregnant after miscarriage

Some couples try almost immediately to get pregnant after miscarriage. Others feel that this is way too soon and they need more time to recover their emotional and sexual mojo. Needing lots of recovery time is especially true if you miscarried in the second trimester.

Deciding when to start is entirely up to you and your partner and what feels best. There is no right or wrong way to go. Don’t let others pressure you into trying to have a baby after miscarriage if you aren’t ready. Everyone from your doctor to your mother-in-law will have an opinion, but the only opinion that counts is yours. And that can change from yearning to start right away to never wanting to get pregnant ever again, all within the space of a few minutes!

You may also get people telling you that quickly getting pregnant after miscarriage will relieve your grief – this is not necessarily the case so trust your instincts on this one.

Besides needing time to get over the loss and recover from topsy turvy hormones, it could be a good idea to wait for your period to come back. This is because if you don’t, you may experience one of two scenarios, both of which could cause unnecessary pain and anxiety:

  1. If you quickly get pregnant following miscarriage without having had a period, you won’t have a reliable Last Menstrual Period Date. This makes it harder to establish how far along you are, which could lead to confusion and worry over the foetus’s development
  2. If you have retained tissue from the miscarriage, you may get a positive pregnancy test but you are not expecting. The positive result comes from hormones still in your system from your previous pregnancy. You may begin bleeding and cramping and think you are having another miscarriage but really you are still going through the first one. If you don’t wait the four or more weeks for your period to return, you won’t know if a positive pregnancy test means you really are with child again.

There is school of thought that some women are especially fertile in the 2 – 3 months immediately following the loss of a fetus, however, there is no scientific proof to back this up.

If there were medical complications with the pregnancy then you should consult your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant following a miscarriage, as you or possibly your partner may need some kind of treatment.

How you might feel when pregnant again

Having a miscarriage doesn’t mean you’re now at greater risk of having another miscarriage. But of course it’s only natural that you will be worried it will happen again.

Fortunately, the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of you getting a healthy baby next time round.

  • Around 85% of women who’ve had one miscarriage will go on to have a successful pregnancy next time
  • Around 75% of women who’ve had two or three miscarriages will go on to have a successful pregnancy next time

Understandably, you might not be as happy and excited with your next pregnancy as you may still be feeling broken-hearted about the miscarriage or concerned about losing this one too. There are several things you can do to make things easier:

  • Ask that your pregnancy be closely monitored by your midwife, nurse or doctor
  • Ask that the baby shower and other preparations be done after baby’s safe arrival
  • Try not to get upset or annoyed if people are in your ear with advice and suggestions for the new pregnancy. You could politely explain that you are following the advice of your doctor or obstetrician. Or you could quote the miscarriage statistics and facts you’ll find on this website – such as the fact that the vast majority of miscarriages are not caused by something the mother did or didn’t do, and can’t be prevented
  • Remind yourself that a positive pregnancy test means you can be positive about having a baby
  • Remember this experience is different because every pregnancy is different and no two babies are the same
  • Once the heartbeat shows on ultrasound, the chance of miscarriage is believed to just 10%. Once your doctor can hear the heartbeat with a Doppler, usually at around 11 – 12 weeks, the chances of miscarriage reduce to around 5%

When to see a specialist before trying to get pregnant after miscarriage

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist if you:

  • Have had two or more miscarriages
  • Are over age 35
  • Have an illness such as diabetes that may affect your pregnancy
  • Have or had fertility problems

Trying to conceive again after a miscarriage can be a very emotional experience. You may feel hopeful and optimistic one minute, and anxious, afraid and stressed the next. Talk with your partner about your emotions and seek counselling if necessary. You should also try to establish a network of loved ones to provide you with the support you need and talk to other women who have experienced miscarriage to help you cope.