Trying Again After Pregnancy Loss
A recent study has confirmed that there is no necessity for couples to delay trying to get pregnant after suffering early pregnancy loss. Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy up to 24 weeks and they are very common. More than 1 in 10 of pregnancies that we know about end in miscarriage. However, many miscarriages occur before people are even aware that they are pregnant. It is thought that, in fact, up to 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most occur because there was an abnormality with the developing embryo and are nothing to do with anything that either partner did or didn’t do.
Advice on when is best to try again after pregnancy loss has been conflicting. In the UK it is usually suggested that people wait until their first period before trying to get pregnant again. The World Health Organisation, however, recommends waiting for at least 6 months. This conflicting advice can cause confusion at what is an already very stressful time for couples.
The research on this, published this week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology suggests that the current approach in the UK is correct. The researchers used data from a trial between 2007 and 2011 to investigate the “Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction Trial.” This trial, known by the acronym EAGaR, was set up to investigate the effect of low dose aspirin on pregnancy. It involved 1,228 women aged between 18 and 40 years. Researchers focused on 1083 of these women and followed them through 6 menstrual cycles. If a pregnancy occurred the researchers followed up each woman to find out the outcome of the pregnancy.
The study found that when compared to couples who waited longer, couples who tried to conceive within three months of a miscarriage were more likely to become pregnant and (most importantly) more likely to have a healthy birth.
Losing a pregnancy can be really tough to deal with. It is common for people to have feelings of grief, anxiety and depression. These symptoms are usually worst in the first 6 weeks after a pregnancy loss and will tend to ease in time.
It is advisable to wait until after any symptoms of the miscarriage have completely settled and also until after the first period following a pregnancy loss. This is because the first period after a miscarriage may be different to a usual menstrual period, it can make working out the due date a little bit more difficult. So women who want to try and get pregnant again can start trying as soon as they feel physically and mentally ready and there is no need to wait.
Dr Hugh Coyne,
Private GP, Parsons Green