Getting pregnant after miscarriage
If you have experienced a miscarriage, you might be wondering when you can start trying again for another baby. Opinions vary widely, with some professionals saying it’s best to wait six months, and others suggesting there’s no reason not to go ahead and start trying immediately.
Either way, what’s most important is how you feel, both physically and emotionally.
Having a miscarriage can be a deeply distressing experience. There’s the emotional pain at having lost the pregnancy, and then there’s the physical distress that some women experience during miscarriage. When couples begin trying for a baby after experiencing a miscarriage, often they’re plagued with worry, but miscarriage is usually a one-time occurrence, with the majority of women going on to have a healthy pregnancy.
Dr Joan Lalor, Associate Professor of Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin, says that while traditionally women were advised to wait three months to allow the body to recover, there is no real medical requirement to do so in the majority of cases. “Unless there were complications, and you’ve had some very specific medical advice, I’d say go with your gut instinct. How the couple feels emotionally is very important. It’s really down to what they want to do,” she says.
Dr Lalor supports the suggestion that it’s very unlikely for a woman to suffer a subsequent miscarriage if she becomes pregnant again, admitting that while there’s a slight increase in risk, it’s so “tiny” it’s hardly worth considering. “I wouldn’t want women thinking they’re in a risky group because they’ve had a miscarriage. The fact is, the likelihood of a successful pregnancy is a lot higher than having another miscarriage. That needs to be emphasised, because it’s a very stressful time for a woman,” she says.
With miscarriage taking such a toll emotionally on a woman, can this then affect how long it will take for her to become pregnant again? “Not usually,” suggests Dr Lalor, “It can often complicate the decision and the timing though. I would say, try to get pregnant when you and your partner feel it’s the right time – don’t go on what other people tell you to do. You need to go with what your heart and head are telling you. Only women will know what feels right for them.”
In addition to feeling emotionally ready to try for another baby, feeling at your best health-wise will increase your chances of a healthy subsequent pregnancy – for you and your baby. So if you haven’t already been taking folic acid, start now. Adding a prenatal supplement to your diet is also a good idea at this stage. Eating well and generally living a healthy lifestyle, with minimal alcohol, caffeine and quitting smoking will get you on the right road to good pregnancy health. Leading a healthy lifestyle will also help to keep your spirits up – a must after the trauma you’ve been through.
Once you do become pregnant again, expect a multitude of emotions for both your partner and yourself. While you might be delighted to be pregnant again, the joy can often be dampened by grief over your loss, worry and anxiety. Be sure to talk about how you feel, be it to your partner, your doctor, or a support group such as The Miscarriage Association of Ireland
. Simply being able to voice your worries will lessen the anxiety and give you the support you need.