Amidst all the joyous news of the arrival of new babies comes the sadness that many couples face after a miscarriage and the uncertainty about when to try again. But a study has found that couples who attempt to conceive within three months of losing an early pregnancy have the same, if not greater, chances of having a baby than those who wait.
The findings have put into question traditional advice that couples should wait at least three months after a loss before attempting to get pregnant again. The World Health Organization recommends waiting a minimum of six months between a pregnancy loss and a new attempt.
Primary author Dr Karen Schliep, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US, says the study found there is no physiological reason for delaying attempts at conception after miscarriage, although “couples may need time to heal emotionally before they try again”.
“For those who are ready, our findings suggest that conventional recommendations for waiting at least three months after a loss may be unwarranted,” she says.
The National Institutes of Health study, published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, followed 1083 women who had miscarried before 20 weeks gestation.
The researchers found that more than 76 per cent of the women attempted to conceive within three months after losing a pregnancy. Compared to those who waited longer, this group was more likely to become pregnant (69 per cent compared to 51 per cent) and to have a pregnancy leading to a live birth (53 per cent compared to 36 per cent).
The investigators did not observe any increase in the risk of pregnancy complications in this group.
Dr Enrique Schisterman, chief of the epidemiology branch at the NICHD and senior author of the study, says the data suggests that women who try for a new pregnancy within three months can conceive as quickly, if not quicker, than women who wait for three months or more.
Sands Australia says most women who have had a miscarriage will go on to have a successful pregnancy.
If you have had one miscarriage, the chance of you miscarrying again stays at one in five pregnancies. If you have had recurrent miscarriages (three or more in a row), your doctor may suggest testing to try and find a specific cause.
Take a look at our post of the beautiful rainbow baby photoshoot that has inspired love after devastating loss.