Conceiving after a miscarriage: Expert advice
Losing a baby is something that no couple should have to go through but it doesn't have to stop you from trying again.
Around 1 in 5 pregnant women will have a miscarriage and the vast majority will go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Miscarriage in the first 24 weeks is much more common than people realize, so it is important to remember that you are by no means alone!
For those couples who have decided to try again there are a few things to consider. You need to be in a healthy place physically and mentally before going ahead.
So we talked to fertility specialist, Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD to find out everything that you need to know about conceiving after miscarriage.
How long should you wait?
It is advised by most health specialists that you wait at least until your next period before trying for another baby. After this there is no definitive time period that you should wait, some GPs will say wait for 3 months, some will say up to 6 months.
This doesn't have to be something you should be too rigid about. "You may find that, like many women, your instinct is immediately to rush ahead with another pregnancy in an attempt to numb the pain, but it is vital to give yourself time to mourn," says Marilyn.
"My recommendation would be give yourself longer (ideally to have three menstrual cycles) to feel both physically and emotionally ready."
It is important to check in with your GP too, as apart from the emotional effects of your miscarriage your body may also need time to recover from the stress of losing your baby.
"Studies show that the stress of unresolved grief may affect your fertility or stop you fully experiencing the joy of any future pregnancy," she warns.
It is important that you and your partner are ready for the emotional implications of trying again. After miscarriage you will almost certainly feel a sense of loss and grief, much like any other death. However Marilyn says it is important not to blame yourself.
"Grief can become so all-consuming that it’s easy to forget that you are in this together, and can offer support to each other for the loss of the baby you made together. Just know that it was not your fault." she says.
Although miscarriages can happen for a number of reasons it is important to note that if a miscarriage is going to happen, the majority of the time there is little anyone is able to do to prevent it.
What you can do:
Marilyn says: "Everything that you can do to help boost your chances of conceiving will also help prevent another miscarriage."
So to further your chances of a healthy pregnancy just ensure you do the following:
Marilyn says: "Although it is the woman who miscarries it is important that your partner eats well, stops smoking and also reduces alcohol intake because a miscarriage can also occur if the sperm is not as healthy as it could be."
Apart from the risks to your own body, and the effects on how well you carry the baby, smoking damages the DNA in sperm, which can increase the risk of miscarriage," she explains.
You can also read more about boosting your chances of conceiving here and sex positions for getting pregnant here.
Things to look out for:
Making sure that you catch any signs of things going wrong in your pregnancy could make a real difference.
Marilyn says: "Warning signs that most commonly alert an expectant woman to the fact that something might be wrong are severe abdominal cramping, rather like strong period pain, and/or bleeding from the vagina.
You may experience pain in your lower back, bleeding may contain clots, and vaginal mucus may contain flecks of grey-brown matter. If you are at all concerned at any time during your pregnancy, you must call your doctor."
Be vigilant and unafraid to call your GP if you are at all worried, at the end of the day they are there to help you and your baby.
Article Plan Conceiving after a miscarriage: Expert advice