A recent study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who attempt to get pregnant within three months of suffering a miscarriage might have a greater chance for pregnancy and a successful delivery than those who wait longer.
In fact, researchers discovered that more than 70 percent of the women in the study who tried to conceive within three months of a miscarriage got pregnant and 53 percent of them had a successful delivery.
These findings contradict former recommendations that a woman wait three months or more before trying to conceive again after a miscarriage.
"Frankly, the study shows what we have believed for a long time," says Dr. Colleen McNally, an OBGYN affiliated with Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. "I was always mystified by this idea that a woman should wait to try to conceive after a miscarriage because there was never any data to back it up."
According to Dr. McNally, a woman's risk for another miscarriage does not increase if she conceives soon after a miscarriage. Calling the body a "wonderful mechanism," she says that hormones rapidly return to normal levels after a miscarriage, enabling the body to get back in sync to support a pregnancy.
"We simply advise our patients who have miscarried to wait one menstrual cycle before attempting to conceive so that we can date a potential pregnancy," Dr. McNally says. "You should also start taking prenatal vitamins, stop smoking and drinking alcohol, and ensure that all medications you are taking are safe during pregnancy."
Dr. McNally says that there have always been misconceptions about miscarriages. For example, she notes that people don't realize how common miscarriages are. In fact, miscarriages happen in roughly 15 percent of pregnancies among women ages 20 to 30. Among women 35 and over, the rate jumps to 40 percent and those ages 45 and older are more than 80 percent likely to have a miscarriage. Up to 60 percent of all pregnancy losses are due to chromosomal abnormalities.
"Patients often feel guilty after a miscarriage and ask what they could have done to prevent it," says Dr. McNally. "However, there is really nothing you can do to prevent or accidentally cause a miscarriage, and it's not uncommon to have two or three miscarriages in a row."
What Dr. McNally wants women to understand is that more than 60 percent will conceive and have a successful delivery after suffering even two or three miscarriages. She urges women not to lose hope, and to speak with their doctor if they have concerns or questions about trying to get pregnant after experiencing a miscarriage.
Find more news and tips about pregnancy on Sharp Health News.