Do Women Have Increased Fertility After Miscarriage?

Find Out Whether You're More Likely to Conceive Soon After Miscarrying

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There is a lot of misinformation out there about fertility and miscarriage. For instance, with a quick internet search, you can find a host of conflicting and confusing information about when it's okay to start trying to conceive again after a miscarriage. Some articles will claim that women are more fertile in the month after a miscarriage while simultaneously advising women to wait before trying again.

So which is it?

Are You More Fertile After a Miscarriage?

Some sources will tell you that a woman has higher fertility during the menstrual cycle following a miscarriage, whereas others will write off the notion as a complete myth.

The truth is that there isn't a clear answer. For example, one 2004 study by British researchers found that the "time to pregnancy" was longer after a miscarriage, meaning it took longer for women who had a miscarriage to conceive again. In contrast, a 2003 study found higher odds of conception in the cycle immediately following an early pregnancy loss. Neither study is enough to provide conclusive evidence to state whether there definitely is or isn't higher fertility immediately after a miscarriage.

It's very common for doctors to advise waiting two to three months after a miscarriage before trying again, but the timeframe that your doctor suggests will likely depend on when, exactly, your miscarriage occurred.

For instance, if the miscarriage happened very early on in your pregnancy, then you might not need to wait as long. 

Reasons for Waiting Before Trying to Conceive Again

There are a few different physical and emotional reasons why waiting a little after a miscarriage before trying again may make sense: 

Wait for your menstrual cycle to normalize. It usually takes a month or two to have a complete menstrual cycle again. 

Allow your hCG level to drop. There is a hormone that your body produces when you're pregnant called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The presence of hCG can be detected in a urine or blood test. This hormone tends to double every two to three days in early pregnancy, usually peaking between roughly weeks eight and 10 of gestation. It's important to wait until your hCG level has dropped to zero (or at least an undetectable level) before you try to conceive again.

Let's say that you try to get pregnant right after a miscarriage and an over-the-counter, urine-based pregnancy test tells you that you're pregnant. The test may be giving you what's called a "false positive." In other words, it may be picking up a still-elevated level of hCG from your prior pregnancy and telling you that you're pregnant when you're actually not. Another potential problem: A doctor might notice that your hCG level is dropping and think that you're miscarrying a second pregnancy when you're actually not.

 

Let your uterine lining heal. You want it to heal properly so it's ready to receive another fertilized embryo

Give yourself time to grieve. A miscarriage can be a very difficult and confusing time for a woman. It's normal to feel angry, sad, or frustrated after miscarrying. Make sure that you allow yourself time to mentally absorb what has happened and talk to your doctor about resources, such as support groups, that can help you heal emotionally. 

The Bottom Line

When deciding when to start trying to conceive again after a miscarriage, the best course of action is to talk to your doctor about your particular situation, and then he or she can provide the proper guidance. 

Sources:

Hassan, M.A.M., and S.R. Killick. "Is previous aberrant reproductive outcome predictive of subsequently reduced fecundity?" Human Reproduction 2005 20(3):657-664; doi:10.1093/humrep/deh670.

Patient information: miscarriage. UpToDate. Accessed: Sept. 8, 2009. http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=pregnan/5386#18.

Wang X, Chen C, Wang L, Chen D, Guang W, French J. "Conception, early pregnancy loss, and time to clinical pregnancy: a population-based prospective study." Fertil Steril. 2003 Mar;79(3):577-84.

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