Conventional wisdom and guidelines from the World Health Organization agree that after a miscarriage, the best thing to do is wait. Give your body and heart a rest for six months before you try to conceive again, they suggest.
That advice might well be wrong. A massive study from Scotland looked at over 31,000 women who experienced miscarriage with their first pregnancy. The study tracked these women’s later fertility outcomes and got some surprising results.
Perhaps most important: women who became pregnant again as soon as possible had the highest chance of having a healthy baby.
Women who got pregnant again within 6 months had an 85 percent chance of having a healthy baby. Women who waited more than two years, on the other hand, had only a 73 percent success rate with their attempts.
The guidelines recommending that women wait six months before trying to conceive after a miscarriage are based on Latin American studies, and the Scottish research team says they don’t take into account how different women’s reproductive lives are in developed countries.
They’re advocating that the guideline be changed. There’s no medical reason for the waiting period, they say, and it can hurt older women who are racing their own biological clocks. A woman over 40, for example, has a 30 percent chance of miscarriage. That’s 10 pecent more than the overall average rate.
For some women, of course, the loss of a pregnancy is a traumatic event. They don’t feel ready to try again immediately. They need time to grieve the loss, and recover both physically and emotionally.
If you are otherwise healthy though, this data seems to suggest that there’s no reason not to start trying as soon as you want to. You might help your chances, and you almost certainly won’t hurt them.
Photo: Erin Nicole King