Simple Truths About Conceiving After Miscarriage

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After losing a pregnancy, many women worry about conceiving after miscarriage. Will you be able to conceive? Will this pregnancy succeed?

Why Miscarriages Happen

Miscarriage can be devastating when it happens to you, but it's not uncommon. About fifteen percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Doctors think that the actual percentage of miscarriages is even higher but since they happen so early, the women never realized they were pregnant.

Genetic Errors

The most common reason for a miscarriage is that something was wrong with the baby. Each time a sperm and egg come together to conceive a baby, a very complicated genetic process must happen. It's easy for errors to occur in the genetic code within the sperm, within the egg, or at the moment the two come together. These errors, which can happen at random, make it impossible for the baby to grow and develop normally. One way to think about a miscarriage is that in this situation, nature ended the pregnancy so that you could try again.

Less often, there's a problem with either the mother or the father's genes. Your doctor can help you figure out if this is a concern for you. If there is a problem, and it's something serious, you may want to reconsider conceiving after miscarriage.

Medical Issues

Sometimes, miscarriage results from an illness or other medical condition in the mother. Poorly controlled diabetes, lupus, and other chronic illnesses increase the risk of miscarriage. So do smoking, drinking alcohol, and illegal drug use. Second-trimester miscarriages may happen because of a problem with the way a woman's uterus is shaped, or because the muscles of the uterus don't work properly.

Odds of Conceiving After Miscarriage

For most women, a miscarriage is a one-time event. For these women, conceiving after miscarriage is no more difficult than it was the first time. There's nothing special you have to do. In fact, 87 percent of women who have a miscarriage go on to have a normal pregnancy.

If your miscarriage was due to a medical condition, your odds of conceiving again may be different. You'll need to talk with your doctor about your specific case. In general, though, if you have a chronic disease like diabetes, getting it under control increases your chances of having a successful pregnancy. Quitting smoking and cutting out alcohol can also improve your odds. So can eating right and maintaining a healthy weight.

Multiple Miscarriages

Having multiple miscarriages does not necessarily affect your ability to conceive, but it does increase the chance of losing another pregnancy. The good news is that for the average woman, your chances of having a successful pregnancy are still about 60 to 70 percent even after multiple miscarriages.

When to Try Again

Any time you have a miscarriage, you should talk with your doctor about what happened. Your doctor can help you identify any medical or genetic problems that are likely to lead to another miscarriage, or to trouble conceiving after miscarriage. If there are no special concerns, when to try again becomes your own personal decision.

You should wait until any bleeding related to the miscarriage has stopped, and until your doctor feels confident that all of the pregnancy tissue is gone from your uterus. Your doctor may recommend waiting until you've had at least one normal menstrual cycle or until some other specific time.

After that, you can begin trying to conceive as soon as you feel ready. You may need some time to work through sadness about your lost pregnancy or you may want to get pregnant again right away. Talk it over with your partner and do what feels right to you.

For More Information

To learn more about the causes of miscarriage, check out the LoveToKnow articles on Miscarriage and Spontaneous Abortion. You'll also find lots of helpful facts at the March of Dimes web site.

Simple Truths About Conceiving After Miscarriage