My wife is 31 years old and had a miscarriage at 28 weeks in December 2012. My question is how much time should we wait before we try again?
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A miscarriage can represent a devastating loss — you should give your mind and body time to heal before attempting to get pregnant again. You can expect to continue to have some bleeding for two to three weeks after a miscarriage occurs and most doctors recommend waiting at least three months before conceiving after a miscarriage. Of course, the body may be ready physically but the mind may not be, or alternately some women want to try pregnancy right away again but should wait until they have the all clear from their doctors.
If you’ve lost a pregnancy, you definitely should have a full gynecological exam prior to conceiving after a miscarriage. If you did not have an exam before getting pregnant, you doctor may want to do some tests to identify cause of the miscarriage. At minimum, many doctors recommend an exam to check for cervical and uterine health about three to four weeks after pregnancy loss.
A lot of doctors don’t do extensive testing after a first miscarriage. Miscarriages are common and unless they occur in the later part of pregnancy (up to the 20th week), the loss is usually considered a normal risk. If the loss occurred towards the 20th week or afterwards and indicates genetic problems or congenital malformations, the doctor may advise you to get further testing or genetic counseling before trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
When the miscarriage occurs very early in pregnancy, and especially if it’s a first pregnancy, it’s usually not fully investigated. You should know that it is likely that this doesn’t place your new baby at any potential risk. If you do plan to try conceiving after a miscarriage, you should remain on prenatal vitamins and make sure that you are taking care of yourself. You also shouldn’t try getting pregnant until at least six weeks after the miscarriage.
Having lost a child may add additional stress to your next pregnancy. Some women shrug this off and others find they are much more worried about losing another pregnancy. If you feel that if you are not emotionally ready to try again, don’t feel pressured to try. It is fine to take time to heal from that first loss, and some women experience a significant degree of postpartum depression after pregnancy loss. Take time and evaluate your feelings before starting again.
Another common feeling, especially if you do get pregnant right away, is guilt over anticipating your new baby. While you may mourn the loss of your previous pregnancy, you may feel it’s unfair or disloyal to be happy about another pregnancy. A good counselor can help you sort out your feelings regarding this. High stress is not good for a pregnant woman and needs to be avoided when possible.
The basic things to remember when conceiving after a miscarriage are to look to both your physical and emotional health. Follow your doctor’s advice even if it means waiting a bit more time than you would like. Make sure you are in good health and on prenatal vitamins at least a month before trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Also, examine your own feelings and decide when it is right for you to try again.
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