Miscarriage is a common struggle for expecting parents and can cause great emotional distress and frustration. It happens when a pregnancy spontaneously ends before 20 weeks and affects an estimated 10% to 20% of known pregnancies.
In general, doctors say there are no clinical reasons to wait before you try to get pregnant again. But "most women are advised to try for another pregnancy when they feel physically and mentally ready," says Sohinee Bhattacharya, a senior lecturer in Obstetric Epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen.
Your body after a miscarriage
After a miscarriage, the body reacts just as it would to a normal delivery.
Your reproductive hormones will fluctuate which can cause:
- Nausea for 1 to 2 days
- Cramps for up to 10 days
- Bleeding or spotting for up to 30 days
- Depressed mood for a couple of weeks
- If the pregnancy went beyond 4 months, you may produce breast milk for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks
You can usually get pregnant again within 4 to 6 weeks
The biggest factor that determines when you can get pregnant again is your next ovulation. Your menstrual cycle should go back to normal within 4 to 6 weeks. But it may vary from person to person. It can be helpful to track your ovulation to get a better sense of your own fertility.
In some cases, it's best not to wait too long after a miscarriage before you try again. A 2016 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 53% of couples who tried to get pregnant within 3 months of a miscarriage had a successful pregnancy compared to just 36% of couples who waited longer than 3 months and had a successful pregnancy.
A doctor may advise you to wait in some rare circumstances, such as terminated pregnancies where surgery is needed, like for a molar pregnancy.
How to prep your body for pregnancy post-miscarriage
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy after a miscarriage.
Doctors may recommend taking prenatal vitamins such as folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects. It is also important to make sure you have any other medical issues under control, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Finally, keeping up a generally healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and low stress levels can help get your body ready for pregnancy.
Bhattacharya says that couples who have trouble conceiving may be at greater risk for miscarriage. Most notably, the age of the pregnant person is the most important factor in both fertility and miscarriage, with people over 40 at greater risk. "However, the vast majority of women conceive normally after a single miscarriage.