If you’re trying for a baby, having a miscarriage can be understandably heartbreaking. However, it can be reassuring to know that most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage. Less than 5% of women will have two consecutive miscarriages, while only 1% will have three or more consecutive miscarriages. But how soon can you start trying again, and what does pregnancy after miscarriage feel like? We put our questions to Dr. Allison Rodgers, obstetrician and gynecologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois, US, and spoke to two women to hear their stories.
Pregnancy after miscarriage: What can you expect?
The thought of getting pregnant right after a miscarriage can be overwhelming, and you should never feel pressured to rush if you’re not feeling ready. If you do decide to try for another baby quite soon after a miscarriage, and you get pregnant, then you may start experiencing pregnancy symptoms — like nausea, fatigue, or tender breasts — while your mind is still adjusting to the loss of the previous pregnancy. “It’s important to realize the emotional toll a miscarriage can have on how you feel in a subsequent pregnancy,” says Dr. Rodgers.
It’s also natural to feel worried about your upcoming baby. Feeling anxious about pregnancy after miscarriage is perfectly understandable. “Many people will not feel a sense of relief until their baby is in their arms,” says Dr. Rodgers. “Remember that once we see a heartbeat [at your first ultrasound scan, between weeks six and 12 of your pregnancy, the chances of miscarriage drop to less than 5%. So each week and milestone that goes by, your chances of another loss drop.”
Unfortunately, miscarriage can be fairly common, so you can take some small comfort in knowing that you are not alone in how you’re feeling. Around one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, while more than 80% of miscarriages will occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, after that, the rate of miscarriage decreases rapidly, so try to put your mind at ease as best you can once you reach the second trimester. The probability of a pregnancy ending in miscarriage is 25% at four weeks, 5% at eight weeks, 1.7% at 12 weeks, and just 0.5% at 16 weeks.
If you’re experiencing anxiety about your pregnancy after miscarriage, this might impact how quickly you decide to tell your friends and family the news. “The timing of when to announce a pregnancy is different for everyone,” says Dr. Rodgers. “After my loss, I waited until after my second trimester had confirmed a healthy baby. You will know when you are comfortable.”
As Dr. Rodgers points out, “There is no right or wrong time.”