Many couples suffer the loss of miscarriage but go on to have wonderful families. But how soon can you try again after you have miscarried? And what other things should you consider?
Trying again after miscarriage can be daunting
No one can tell you exactly how you should feel when you have miscarried. Coping with miscarriage is a huge and personal process, and hopefully one that you can at least share with your partner.
Miscarriage is not something which neccessarily means you are incapable of having children, and it is more common than you probably think it is and many couples go one to have babies after a miscarriage.
Are you ready to try again?
Many couples find that starting to try again for another child is the most positive way to come out of suffering a miscarriage but a new pregnancy isn't a "quick fix" and it may take you longer to heal.
Talk it through and make sure you are both ready for this step, as a previous loss can understandably make one or both of you feel the pressure is on to conceive again. Also, it will affect your confidence during another pregnancy, and it's important that you both feel you can express your fears about the health of a new foetus and then of the baby when it arrives.
It is not at all unusual to have these fears (or even dreams), but being able to voice them to each other will make your experience a much happier future pregnancy.
Recovering from a miscarriage first
Before you can think about trying again, you need to allow your body to recover. Bleeding usually stops within a week (if it does not, you should go back to your doctor or surgery) but you may also feel exhausted for a few days.
Depending on whether you had a spontaneous miscarriage or had to have treatment (a Dilation and Curettage, for example) to complete the process at hospital, your body's natural hormone levels may take about a month to six weeks to return to normal.
Your periods may return as soon as 28 days after your miscarriage, as ovulation can occur after two weeks. However, this again will vary (it might return more quickly when you have had a D&C). Your cycle usually returns within a month to six weeks, but might take a couple of cycles to settle back to your regular routine.
There have been recent studies that suggest, if you feel ready, there are benefits to trying for a baby again within six months of miscarrying.
Having sex again
It is important not to have sex too soon. That is, not until the bleeding has stopped, as you are still recovering and intercourse could cause an infection.
Even before you see your next period, you should use contraception. There is no delayed time when your body 'thinks' it is still pregnant; you are now fertile again.
How long should you wait before trying to get pregnant again?
Many miscarriages occur randomly, but do talk to your GP or the consultant who treated you, about any possible concerns regarding your ongoing risk of having another miscarriage. (Any possible causes which can be ruled out or addressed, for example.)
It is possible to get pregnant straight away, though you will probably be far from mentally or physically ready for this.
Waiting until your first period has come and gone (a month to six weeks) will help your GP arrive at a more accurate due date should you conceive again straight away.
Many health experts working in this field suggest waiting three to six months to enable your body and you (both) to prepare for the most positive experience next time round.
Use those months to build yourself back up, continuing with folic acid supplements and eating well.
Even if you got pregnant 'by accident' or very quickly last time, do not worry if you do not get pregnant straight away when you start trying again. In any given month, a couple with no potential fertility problems and who are having regular sex, only have a 30 per cent chance of getting pregnant. Your miscarriage will not have affected how long it takes for you to conceive, unless there is some other medical reason.
Fear that you will miscarry again
Couples who have no history of miscarriage or who's last child was live born, have an 80 to 85 per cent chance of a successful pregnancy. Those who have suffered one miscarriage also have an 80 per cent chance of a successful pregnancy.
If you have had two miscarriages, there is a slightly greater risk (72 per cent), and if you have had three miscarriages, your chances may be less than 50 per cent.
However, after repeated episodes, your doctor will investigate possible causes and these may well be easily addressed.
It is important to know that many couples who have suffered several losses go on to have healthy children.