1. Pregnancy
  2. Pregnancy health
  3. Miscarriage

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Pregnancy After Miscarriage: All Your Questions Answered

Around 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriages can be emotionally and physically painful, but it’s also normal to wonder when you can start trying to get pregnant again. Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy after miscarriage.

What to expect after miscarriage 

The effects of a miscarriage depend a lot on how far along you were at the time of the loss. Technically, the term “miscarriage” only applies to the loss of a pregnancy before the 20-week mark. Pregnancy losses after this date are considered “stillbirths.” Experts believe that around half of all miscarriages are due to chromosomal defects in the baby that result in an unviable pregnancy. 

Many women who experience a miscarriage may not have even realized they were pregnant. Pregnancy tests may not show a positive result until several weeks into the pregnancy. For women who haven’t confirmed that they’re pregnant, a miscarriage may seem like a late and slightly heavier-than-normal period.

An early miscarriage (before 12 weeks) may feel very much like a regular period, with possibly heavier bleeding and a few clots. The bleeding could last up to a week, and it can take anywhere from four to six weeks for your regular menstrual cycle to resume.

Most women will experience cramps for a few days during and after the miscarriage. Some women may have tender breasts that may feel swollen or even leak after the loss, but this is most common in later miscarriages.

An early miscarriage (before 12 weeks) may feel very much like a regular period, with possibly heavier bleeding and a few clots.

It’s important for all of the tissue to be expelled after a miscarriage to avoid the risk of infection. You can minimize this risk by using pads instead of tampons and avoiding baths, hot tubs, or sexual intercourse until the bleeding has stopped and you have been examined by a doctor. Some women may need a dilation and curettage, commonly known as a “D&C” procedure, to ensure all the tissue is removed. 

Emotionally, you may find yourself experiencing a variety of feelings including grief, disappointment, disbelief, anger, and anxiety about getting pregnant again or experiencing another loss. It’s important to understand that the loss of a pregnancy may also be the loss of a lot of excitement, plans, preparations, and expectations. It’s a very real loss and should be treated as such. Talking with a counselor or therapist who specializes in grief counseling may help you recover your mental and emotional health more quickly.

How soon can you get pregnant after a miscarriage?

When it comes to getting pregnant after a miscarriage, there is no set waiting period. Technically, you can get pregnant as soon as your next ovulatory cycle begins. Most doctors recommend abstaining from sex for at least two weeks after the loss to reduce the risk of infection. Assuming you are physically and emotionally recovered from the miscarriage, there’s no medical reason why you would need to wait. In fact, one study found that women who conceive within six months of a miscarriage have a lower chance of complications or another miscarriage than women who wait longer.

When it comes to getting pregnant after a miscarriage, there is no set waiting period. Technically, you can get pregnant as soon as your next ovulatory cycle begins.

However, many healthcare providers recommend women to wait a few months so that their bodies are ready to support a new pregnancy. Otherwise, they may be at risk of having another miscarriage. 

Since many practitioners have different views on how long you should wait before trying for another pregnancy, it’s best to talk with your doctor to discuss your specific situation. 

When is the best time to get pregnant after a miscarriage?

The best time to get pregnant after a miscarriage is as soon as you and your partner feel physically and emotionally ready. If you have had more than one miscarriage, your doctor may recommend waiting until testing has ruled out a discernible health factor, such as not enough progesterone or an incompetent cervix. 

Keep in mind that a woman’s fertile window is actually relatively short, lasting just a few days. To increase your chances, you may want to track your body temperature and/or use ovulation test kits to time sex for when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

How to get pregnant quickly after a miscarriage

For your best chance of getting pregnant after a miscarriage, you need to know exactly when you’re ovulating. Physical signs such as an increase or change in the consistency of cervical fluid and ovary pain can indicate that ovulation is about to happen or is already occurring.

Ovulation test kits are designed to detect the hormones that are important for ovulation. When a spike occurs, that indicates you’re ovulating. If you’re tracking your body temperature, a spike also indicates that ovulation has happened. Your best chances of getting pregnant are a couple of days before ovulation. However, you can get pregnant earlier or later. You can also increase your chances of getting pregnant right after a miscarriage by taking the best care of yourself physically, including eating a balanced diet, taking prenatal vitamins, getting enough exercise, and including self-care in your daily routine to help keep stress and anxiety levels at bay.

What are the chances of losing another pregnancy?

One of the things you may be worrying about after a miscarriage is how likely you are to lose the next pregnancy. While the chance of any pregnancy resulting in a miscarriage is about 15 percent, only 1 percent of women experience repeated miscarriages. However, if you’ve had two consecutive miscarriages, your chance of miscarrying again increases to about 28 percent. This increases further to 43 percent after 3 or more back-to-back miscarriages. While these numbers can seem scary, for most women a miscarriage is a one-time event, and one miscarriage doesn’t increase your chances of having another.

When is the right time to see a doctor?

If you know you had a miscarriage, it’s a good idea to see a doctor no matter how far along you were. The doctor will be able to do an exam to ensure that all the tissue has been expelled and can check for infection. In most cases, your doctor will have you rest and recover at home. If it was a late-stage miscarriage, you may need to be admitted to the hospital.

You may also want to talk to your doctor about emotional support services to help with the recovery process after a miscarriage. Support groups or a counselor or therapist can talk with you about the experience and help you deal with any anxiety or worries you may have about another pregnancy.

If you’ve had more than one miscarriage, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about checking for a physical issue that may be contributing to the miscarriages and if it can be treated. Your regular ob-gyn may refer you to a fertility specialist if they suspect that a hormonal imbalance or other issue is causing the miscarriages.

If you’ve recently had a miscarriage, it may take some time for you to come to terms emotionally with what happened and deal with the loss. While most healthcare providers agree that there’s no reason physically to wait to get pregnant again after a miscarriage, you’ll want to take an honest assessment of your physical and emotional health before trying again.