Is Pregnancy Right After Miscarriage too Risky?

Woman Checking Pregnancy Test Kit
moodboard/Getty Images

Doctors often advise women to wait a few months before getting pregnant again after a miscarriage, but will getting pregnant sooner increase the risk of a repeat miscarriage?

There isn't any reliable evidence showing an increased risk of miscarriage when getting pregnant again immediately after a miscarriage, though physicians commonly recommend waiting one to three months before trying again for a new pregnancy. Below, check out some recent study results on the topic.

Why You Might Not Want to Wait

One small June 2002 study in the U.S. looked at 64 pregnancies that took place after miscarriage and found no evidence of pregnancy complications in those who conceived immediately vs. those who waited two cycles. In addition, a March 2003 study found evidence that women might have increased fertility in the cycle immediately after a miscarriage.

Why You Might Want to Wait

On the other hand, a 2005 Israeli study found that women who had miscarried faced a high risk of having a subsequent pregnancy affected by neural tube defects or congenital heart defects. The study authors recommended delaying conception after miscarriage and treating with folic acid during the wait. However, it's possible that the findings may not apply to women whose diets already included adequate folic acid (usually supplied via a daily prenatal vitamin) prior to the miscarriage.

If a woman miscarries due to a medical condition (such as polycystic ovary syndrome, a thyroid problem, uncontrolled diabetes, an immunologic disorder, a uterine abnormality, or an incompetent cervix) or in the presence of a modifiable risk factor (such as smoking cigarettes, using drugs, drinking alcohol, or consuming large amounts of caffeine), then getting pregnant immediately without addressing that underlying condition or addiction might increase the risk of another miscarriage.

There are a few other factors to consider. First off, you'll want to wait for your menstrual cycle to normalize and become complete again, which can sometimes take a month or two. You'll also want to let your uterine lining heal properly so it's ready to receive another fertilized embryo.

It's also a good idea to let your level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) drop to zero or at least to an undetectable level before you start trying again. This is a hormone that is produced by your body during pregnancy and it can be measured through a urine or blood test. If you don't let it drop, a pregnancy test might give you what's known as a "false positive" reading and reveal that you're pregnant when, in reality, you're not. Also: If your hCG level from the original pregnancy is still detectable and dropping, a doctor might interpret those numbers as a second miscarriage, when it's actually not.

It's common to feel rattled and heartbroken after experiencing something as devastating as a miscarriage. So you're not stressed during a second pregnancy, you may want to allow yourself some time to mentally process what has happened. (Then again, many women find the process of coping with miscarriage to be more difficult when they have to wait before trying to get pregnant again.)

How Should You Proceed?

Ask your doctor what's best, because every woman and every pregnancy is different. If you're comfortable waiting one to three months, that's generally recommended. If you're in a hurry to get pregnant before then, talk to your doctor about your particular situation so you can come up with the safest timeframe.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

  • Carmi, R., J. Gohar, I. Meizner, and M. Katz, "Spontaneous abortion-high risk factor for neural tube defects in subsequent pregnancy." American Journal of Medical Genetics Jun 2005.

  • Goldstein, Rachel R. Pruyn, Mary S. Croughan, and Patricia S. Robertson, "Neonatal outcomes in immediate versus delayed conceptions after spontaneous abortion: A retrospective case series." American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2002.

  • Wang, Xiaobin, Changzhong Chen, Lihua Wang, Dafang Chen, Wenwei Guang, and Jonathan French, "Conception, early pregnancy loss, and time to clinical pregnancy: a population-based prospective study." Fertility and Sterility 2003.