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Child Health 411

with Ari Brown, MD

This blog has been retired.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Long to Wait After Miscarriage?

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Having a miscarriage is heartbreaking for many couples, especially those who have had difficulty conceiving. Naturally, the first question that arises is: When is it safe to start trying again?

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends that couples wait at least six months after miscarriage before attempting another pregnancy.

A research study published in the British Medical Journal this week questions the existing recommendation. The study looked at almost 31,000 women who conceived after miscarriage between 1981 and 2000.

The results? Women who conceived within six months of miscarriage were less likely to miscarry again. They were also less likely to have a C-section delivery, a premature delivery or a newborn with a low birthweight. This group of women, however, were more likely to have labor induced. Women who conceived two years or more after a first miscarriage were more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg implants in an abnormal location) or a termination.

Does that give everyone the green light to conceive immediately after a pregnancy loss? No. WHO recommendations aside, most practitioners advise a woman to wait for two or three menstrual cycles before conceiving again. It gives her body time for the lining (endometrium) of the womb (uterus) to rejuvenate and be ready to sustain another pregnancy. It also gives couples a little time to grieve and prepare emotionally for another pregnancy attempt.

So before you get back to babymaking, check with your practitioner. The length of time you wait between pregnancies depends on each couple’s situation. For instance, there is a difference between having a very early pregnancy loss and having one in the second trimester.

Have a story to share about trying to get pregnant following a miscarriage? Talk about your experience with the Trying to Conceive Community.

Posted by: Ari Brown, MD at 10:18 am