Written by Dana Drake
Getting Pregnant After A Miscarriage
“When can we tell people?” My husband hesitantly asked me one night. I was 3 months pregnant at the time. For most couples, this would have been an easy, and exciting decision to make. Not for us. Because we had been through this, many times before, when it did not end well.
After multiple miscarriages, I unfortunately knew that once you tell people, you might have to “un-tell” them. So, you’re not only dealing with your own intense feelings following pregnancy loss, you are also having to tell friends, family, and social media – that your pregnancy failed. And that is exactly what you feel like – a failure. The life inside you failed to thrive. You failed to carry that precious life to term. Your body failed to do what it was designed to do. Those are the thoughts that were loudly swirling around in my brain - and I know that I am not alone.
As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. We don’t know the exact number because a miscarriage can happen before you even realize you’re pregnant. But the good news is - most people who miscarry do go on to have a healthy pregnancy.
But for many, pregnancy after miscarriage is a mixture of powerful emotions that includes not only gratitude and joy - but also fear and anxiety. You want to protect yourself if something goes wrong … again.
These feelings are completely normal. And while I do regret not allowing myself to fully enjoy a pregnancy that did end well. It is what I needed to do and feel at the time. The best part of all is that I did finally have a “rainbow” baby - he was our little miracle. And I don’t let a second go by without being incredibly grateful and enjoying every moment I have with my boys.
How long should I wait before trying again?
A miscarriage can be a devastating experience. The farther along in your pregnancy, the harder and longer it may take for you to be ready to try again. After the loss, some people need to take a physical and emotional break. While others might find it comforting to know that each cycle offers another opportunity to keep trying.
So, how long should you wait? Some doctors recommend waiting one menstrual cycle before trying again. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends waiting for six months. However, this is medically unnecessary. One study (found here), which analyzed pregnancy outcomes of 9,214 people after miscarriage, concluded that there’s no reason to wait at all - stating that the sooner you get pregnant after a miscarriage, the better your chances of success. Some medical reasons to delay pregnancy after a miscarriage are underlying health issues, an ectopic or molar pregnancy, or a late term loss.
Even if your physical health allows you to immediately try again– your mental health may need more time to recover. You should talk it over with your doctor, and perhaps a therapist, so you can make a decision that the most appropriate for you.
hCG Levels & Positive Pregnancy Tests After Miscarriage
At home pregnancy tests are able to detect very low levels of the “pregnancy hormone” ( hCG ). After a pregnancy loss, the hormone levels will continue to decline, so , if you take a pregnancy test after a miscarriage, you may still see a positive result days, or even weeks later. This is a normal physiologic process.
The amount of hCG you will still have in your system, and how long you might see a positive pregnancy test result depends on how far along you were at the time of the loss.
A 2013 medical study found that there is a 35 to 50 percent reduction in hCG levels two days after a miscarriage, and a 66 to 87 percent decrease 7 days after. While this is a considerable drop, you could still see a positive home pregnancy test result a week, or even several weeks after a miscarriage.
If you have any concerns, like continued heavy blood loss, fevers, continuing abdominal pain, or if you’re seeing and feeling pregnancy symptoms for more than month after a miscarriage - you should contact your doctor.
Common causes of pregnancy loss
- Abnormal chromosomes: Most miscarriages happen when the fetus is not developing normally. In fact, about half of miscarriages occur when there is either extra, or missing chromosomes.
- Health conditions: In some cases, maternal health issues can lead to miscarriage. For example, if you have uncontrolled diabetes, or issues with your uterus or cervix such as uterine fibroids inside your uterine cavity
- Weight: Being extremely overweight or underweight, could be a contributing factor.
- Age: If you’re over the age of 40, your pregnancy may be considered high risk.
- Drug and Alcohol use: Heavy alcohol and recreational drug use while pregnant can also lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, or birth defects.
Pregnancy success stories after a miscarriage
The bottom line is that there is hope for many who suffer pregnancy loss. A National Institute of Health study found that 70% of people with ovaries conceived within three months of a miscarriage.
If we can help support you in any way, please reach out to us. We are sending you big hugs and keeping our fingers crossed for you.