When Can I Try to Get Pregnant Again After a Miscarriage?

There's no consensus on how long to wait

Doctor performing ultrasound on pregnant woman
Science Photo Library - IAN HOOTON./Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Many women who've suffered miscarriages want to try to get pregnant again as soon as possible, especially if the pregnancy loss occurred when they were actively trying to conceive. If you ask three different doctors, however, you may get three different answers!

After all, some doctors advise waiting as long as three months, whereas others say trying again immediately is fine.

Wait Three Months

For many years, doctors advised women to wait three months before conceiving again.

The rationale was that this would allow for better dating of the next pregnancy by re-establishing the menstrual cycle, and it would give the couple time to deal with grief and emotions over the pregnancy loss. In addition, some practitioners feel that waiting three months allows the body more time to heal and replenish nutrient stores.

Waiting three months takes a cautious approach to subsequent conception. Waiting longer will definitely not hurt you in any way, and if you miscarry again, you will not be left wondering if waiting would have prevented the next miscarriage. But unless your loss happened late in pregnancy, your body may recover fairly quickly from the loss, and evidence suggests that waiting three months does not decrease the odds of another miscarriage.

Most spontaneous miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo. As a woman ages, she's more likely to miscarry for this very reason.

Waiting three months will make no difference if this was the cause.

Wait Until Your Next Menstrual Period

Some doctors advise waiting for one menstrual period, again for the purposes of dating the next pregnancy if conception happens immediately. Waiting for one cycle also establishes that hCG levels have returned to zero and that the body’s hormone levels have normalized.

Try as Soon as You Feel Ready

Despite the traditional advice to wait for dating purposes, many doctors feel that ultrasound is an accurate enough way to date early pregnancies and they advise women that they can try again as soon as they feel ready. Evidence suggests that waiting to conceive again does not alter the risk of miscarriage, and some women cope with pregnancy loss better by trying again right away.

If you want to try again right away and your doctor advises you to wait, talk to your doctor about the reasoning behind the recommendation and ask whether specific circumstances in your situation may merit a longer wait. If you have lost a baby due to neural tube defects, for example, your doctor may ask you to take high doses of folic acid for a time before trying to conceive again.

If you miscarried after the first trimester, have miscarried previously or suffered any bodily harm during the course of the miscarriage, your doctor might also want you to wait.

In any case, it is best to discuss your concerns with a medical practitioner you trust.

You may not need to wait three months, but there may be a solid reason why your doctor at least wants you to wait until your next cycle to try again.

Sources:

Goldstein, Rachel R. Pruyn, Mary S. Croughan, and Patricia A. Robertson. "Neonatal outcomes in immediate versus delayed conceptions after spontaneous abortion: A retrospective case series." American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology June 2002 1230-1236.

Martin, Eva. "Miscarriage." Health Library. 03 Feb. 2000. University of Illinois Medical Center. 30 Sep 2007.

Mayo Clinic Staff, "Understanding miscarriage." MayoClinic.com. 27 Oct. 2006. Mayo Clinic. [Online]. 30 Sep 2007.

Roberts, Peter H. R.. "Ask an Expert: Trying again after miscarriage." Pregnancy Center. Mar. 2003. Providence Health & Services. [Online]. 30 Sep 2007.

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