The exact duration of how long a woman should wait to conceive again after having suffered a miscarriage is highly controversial. Some doctors advice to try again as soon as possible, while others suggest waiting for as long as 18 months. The World Health Organization guidelines recommend a woman to wait for at least 6 months before she can try again.
Many studies* have shown that the chances of a healthy pregnancy are higher in women who tried earlier after their miscarriage. More specifically, a study mentioned that women who conceived within 6 months of their miscarriage had a lesser chance of miscarrying or experience complications as compared to women who waited for longer.
Women who waited over 6 months had a higher risk of a condition called an ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized ovum gets implanted outside the walls of the uterus; usually in the
fallopian tubes), or have had to terminate the pregnancy due to unexpected complications. If their pregnancies have completed full term, these women have had
babies via a C-section or delivered prematurely or with low birth weight.
In general, women need to be assured that their next pregnancy will have a positive impact and she should try again once she feels physically and mentally ready.
There is no perfect time to begin conceiving again. However, many health providers and doctors advise the woman to wait for a few months before she can try again to increase
her chances of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If she is not mentally and physically ready to maintain a pregnancy, she has a higher chance of a repeat miscarriage causes. The uterine lining needs time to fully recover again to support a growing baby.
Medically, it is safe to start trying after 3 regular menstrual periods, if there are no investigations being done for identifying the cause of the miscarriage. Many couples fear that they may have a miscarriage again.
If certain investigations are advised by the doctor especially in a second trimester miscarriage or when there is something suspected then it is advisable to wait for the results to come and have the necessary treatment done before planning the second one.
Some doctors suggest waiting for only one regular cycle especially in an early miscarriage.
Talk to your health provider who can recommend a good specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology or genetics so that you have the best treatment and highest chances of a healthy pregnancy.
You should consider visiting a specialist when:
● There are 2 or more miscarriages
● Age over 35 years
● Suffering from illnesses like diabetes, hypertension that can affect pregnancy
● Have had fertility issues in the past
Deciding when to conceive again is best decided by the couple only. It may not replace the lost pregnancy but can definitely refocus your attention. If there are any other complications regarding miscarriage and concerns, discuss with your doctor first.
Study: Shelley, J. (2010). Miscarriage and time to next pregnancy. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 341.
Also read: Contraception: Know Your Choices
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