Tips on having a healthy pregnancy after a loss
Miscarriage is an unfortunately common and an emotionally difficult part of the reproductive process. Early pregnancy loss is common, occurring in 10%-15% of all clinically known pregnancies. Up to 1 in 5 pregnancies end in a miscarriage for women 35 or older.
In most cases, these losses are due to genetic abnormalities that prevent a fetus from developing normally – and the mother can do nothing to prevent this. This in no way means a woman is infertile or at an increased risk for future complications.
In fact, most women go on to expect a healthy pregnancy after an early miscarriage. Here’s what everyone should know about conceiving again.
How soon can you get pregnant after a miscarriage?
After miscarriage, it is important to abstain from vaginal intercourse for 1-2 weeks to ensure complete passage of all pregnancy tissue. After this occurs, the body starts the process of getting back into its normal reproductive routine. This means that a woman will ovulate prior to getting another period – in fact, in as little as two weeks after her miscarriage.
In the past, doctors used to recommend waiting several months to try again. This is no longer the recommendation, and recent studies have not shown any reproductive benefit in delaying conception. It is also important to remember there are no effective interventions to prevent early pregnancy loss.
That being said, it is recommended to discuss personal experience with miscarriage with your OB-GYN. She or he may have specific guidelines due to a woman’s health, medical history and age. It’s especially important to talk with an OB-GYN after experiencing two or more consecutive miscarriages. In these instances, the doctor may recommend imaging of reproductive organs, hormone testing, blood and other chromosomal tests to determine any underlying health problems before trying again.
When to seek medical attention
- Continued abnormal bleeding. Miscarriage bleeding can last a couple weeks, but beyond that it could be an issue.
- Not resuming monthly periods within three months.
- Recurrent miscarriage or early pregnancy loss.
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Coping with pregnancy loss
It’s one thing to be physically ready to get pregnant after miscarriage, another to be ready emotionally.
Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that something someone did contributed to having a miscarriage. While unfounded, this sense of guilt combined with any feelings of sadness or loss may take the longest to recover from.
Pregnancy loss can be devastating, but don’t go it alone. It’s crucial to talk to loved ones, a counselor or support groups like the SHARE Program, an organization supporting those touched by the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. For more information, call SHARE at 630-527-3263.
Pregnancy after miscarriage may also not be what you expect. It can bring joy as much as grief or guilt, as the joy of pregnancy can trigger emotions about the previous loss. Conflicting feelings are OK and natural.
Pregnancy itself is an emotional experience, so however you’re feeling, be kind to yourself.
Self-care can also help with managing emotions, and regulating mood and anxiety has the added benefit for a healthy pregnancy.
What are the risks of having recurrent miscarriages?
Most women do go on to have healthy pregnancies after experiencing one miscarriage. Research shows that pregnancies within six months of a miscarriage are less likely to miscarry or experience pregnancy-related complications.
However, about 1% of women do experience recurrent miscarriages (two or more miscarriages back-to-back).
There are several factors – genetics, hormones, certain autoimmune disorders or other medical reasons – for repeated miscarriages. As a result, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does recommend testing after experiencing three or more miscarriages in a row.
Often, nothing can be done to prevent a miscarriage. However, making healthy lifestyle choices is important for mom and baby.
Tips on a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage
When you’re ready to try again, here some steps to support and even boost efforts to achieve a healthy pregnancy:
- Acknowledge the loss.
- Get a complete preconception checkup with your OB-GYN.
- Address any underlying health problems such as high blood pressure or blood sugar.
- Achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage stress.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Do not smoke and avoid second- or third-hand smoke.
- Continue taking prenatal vitamins.
Takeaways on getting pregnant after miscarriage
In conclusion, after a miscarriage, it may take some time before you feel ready to try again. But success is possible.