Miscarriages are tragic. It is incredibly emotional and trying when you’ve been waiting for your child and after a brief moment of happiness, you experience a loss. But, unfortunately, miscarriages also common. Anywhere between 10% and 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, depending upon which statistic you believe. If you're facing a miscarriage right now, you might be torn between grief and wondering when you can try again. It’s very unlikely that there is any reason why you shouldn’t be able to try again as quickly as possible. After all, you're hoping for a baby.
Here's what you need to know about trying again after a miscarriage.
Will I Have Another Miscarriage?
There's no way to know whether or not you'll have another miscarriage—certainly not without extensive testing—but the answer is probably not. One miscarriage does not increase your chances of a subsequent miscarriage, but knowing why you had the miscarriage can help you assess whether you are at risk for another.
Genetic anomalies in the fetus -- anomalies that will likely not occur again in a subsequent pregnancy -- are the leading cause of miscarriages. But if the miscarriage was due to a structural problem, low progesterone, an infection, or a serious illness, you might be at risk of having another miscarriage. Ask your doctor if your miscarriage should give you pause with future pregnancies.
Is It Safe to Try Again?
A miscarriage is a sudden trauma for your body, but miscarriages usually aren't dangerous. The earlier in the pregnancy you were at the time of the miscarriage, the less likely you are to experience complications. However, you should not have intercourse until you have fully stopped bleeding. Occasionally, fetal tissue can be retained, potentially triggering an infection. Sexual intercourse can slightly increase the risk of infection, so talk to your doctor before giving it another go.
He or she may recommend a procedure to remove any retained fetal tissue, or may advise letting your miscarriage occur naturally. No matter what your doctor advises, be sure to let him or her know if you experience intense pain, blood clots larger than a golf ball, a fever, or an odor emanating from your genitals.
How Long Should I Wait Before Trying Again?
There's no hard and fast rule for waiting to try again. Some doctors will tell you three months. Others will tell you you can start trying as soon as bleeding stops. Unless you develop an infection or have a complication, there's no reason you can't try again immediately. In fact, the primary reason to avoid trying right away is not physical but emotional. And only you can assess your emotional state. If you feel ready to give it a go, then feel free to try, as long as your doctor says there are no health risks.
One word of caution: you can get pregnant again before you get your next period. Some women's bodies need a few cycles to reset, but others being ovulating immediately. If you belong to this latter category and get pregnant immediately after your miscarriage, you might have some difficulty dating the pregnancy—or even knowing that you're pregnant. This is a small hurdle, of course, but it's something to monitor. Consider using an ovulation testing kit, and regularly testing yourself for pregnancy until your period returns.
When Should I Seek Fertility Assistance?
A miscarriage does not necessarily mean you will have fertility difficulties.Indeed, some couples find that they get pregnant immediately after a miscarriage; a popular old wives tale even suggests that a miscarriage increases the odds of a subsequent pregnancy. After all, it is demonstration that you are able to successfully conceive a child.
But there's never harm in seeking help, so if you have a nagging suspicion something might be wrong, talk to your doctor. A reproductive endocrinologist can test you for common fertility problems, offering you treatment that helps you avoid wasting more time and grief. Consider also seeking help if:
- You have suffered two or more second trimester miscarriages.
- You have suffered three or more first trimester miscarriages.
- You have an autoimmune or endocrine system disorder.
- A structural or hormonal problem caused the miscarriage.
- You are under the age of 35, and have tried for more than 12 months to get pregnant.
- You are over the age of 35, and have tried for more than six months to get pregnant.
- You have reason to believe you are not ovulating.
- Your period does not return within 60 days of your miscarriage.
- You experience a hemorrhage or infection after suffering a miscarriage.
- You have a history of cancer or organ transplants.
The More You Know
Humans have been procreating for a long time. And while it may have seemed pretty simple when they explained the whole “sperm meets egg” concept in health class, the truth is fertility is much more complicated than that. If you still have questions about the process or how you can improve your own fertility, give us a call or reach out on chat. We are always happy to walk our patients through any of their questions or concerns.
To learn more about the complexities of infertility, download our free guide, The Simplified Guide to the Complicated World of Infertility by clicking the button below.