Even though miscarriage is still considered a taboo topic, the reality is that it happens frequently and sometimes for completely unknown reasons. Each couple that goes through a pregnancy loss has a different experience, and may or may not know why the miscarriage occurred. Sometimes a loss is completely unexplainable, and sometimes a loss is a sign of underlying medical issues and complications. But if you've suffered a miscarriage and want to keep trying, then there are important things to know about trying to conceive after miscarriage that couples should consider and discuss.
According to the Mayo Clinic pregnancy loss occurs in approximately 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies. The website noted that the number is probably higher because many women miscarry before they even know they're pregnant. An article in Parents explained that many couples still believe old wives' tales about pregnancy loss such as you have to wait a certain amount of menstrual cycles before trying again. But that's generally not true. As long as the miscarriage is complete it's safe for couples to start trying again. The caveat here is if you've had repeated miscarriages.
Either way, whether you've had one loss or several there are things to know about trying to conceive after miscarriage.
1. You Might Not Be Emotionally Ready For Awhile
Pregnancy loss can be a very tragic and devastating loss for women and couples. Many women grieve the loss of their unborn child for days, weeks, months and years following the loss. The American Pregnancy Association noted that women may feel a whole range of emotions after their pregnancy loss: anger, sadness, depression, guilt, etc. It's important to keep in mind that grief can look different for everyone. It has no defined timeline. If you're not ready to start trying to conceive, it's totally normal. You can decide when to try again, if at all, on your own emotional terms.
2. Medical Tests Might Be Necessary Before Trying
In some cases the cause of the miscarriage can be determined by a medical professional. According to the Mayo Clinic further testing might be needed if you've had two or more consecutive miscarriages. The types of tests you might need include blood tests to check for hormone or immune system issues, chromosomal tests to look for any possible genetic issues with you or your partner, and an ultrasound to check for uterine abnormalities.
3. If There No Complications During Miscarriage You Can Try Right Away
If you feel emotionally up to it and there are no medical issues you can jump in the sack right away. The Mayo Clinic pointed out that sex is usually not recommended for two weeks after a miscarriage to stave off infection. Your period will probably come back within six weeks, but the site noted you can still get pregnant before your period returns. If your doctor gives the green light, and you feel ready, give it a go.
4. If You're Older, You Might Not Want To Delay
It's no secret that fertility declines in women and men the older they get. Sorry to remind of the ever ticking biological clock, but it's essential to the conversation of conceiving. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine fertility declines in a woman's 30s, and drops more after 35. Each month a healthy, fertile 30-year old woman tried to get pregnant, she has a 20 percent chance. A 40- year old has less than a five percent chance. If you are emotionally and medically ready to try to conceive after a pregnancy loss, and in the older age bracket, it's recommended that you get going as quickly as possible.
5. Sexual Intimacy Might Be Hard After The Loss
Sex might not be the same after a loss. A woman might be physically healing after the loss, depending on how far along she was and any medical complications from the loss. The Baby Center explained that a woman who's just experienced a loss might need to take a break from sex, and that her partner shouldn't take it personally. The site also noted that sex might conjure up very emotional feelings for the woman, and sometimes the first steps will be simply hugging, cuddling, and hand holding without the expectations of it leading to sex.
6. You Might Need More Support From Friends And Family
It is possible that a woman trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage is scared out of her mind. She might be terrified and need more support when trying to conceive, than she's ever needed before. Dr. Jessica Zucker, a psychologist who specializes in pregnancy loss and started the campaign #ihadamiscarriage after her own loss, told Romper in a past article, "tt would’ve been really healing and helpful if people would’ve reached out three months later or six months later," Zucker says. "Or have the courage to ask how I was doing after my daughter, my next child was born." It's OK to need to lean on friends and family when trying to conceive after miscarriage. If you express your feelings or reach out for help, chances are you'll get it.
7. Mixed Emotions Are Totally Normal
You might be all over the board with emotions after a loss. You may be grieving and at the same time want to start trying to have another baby right away. Maybe some days you want to try again, and other days you don't. You might be crying a lot, withdrawing, or distracting yourself. You might not feel grief at all. What To Expect say all of these emotions are natural and healthy responses to a pregnancy loss. It's important to honor how you're feeling and be open with your partner.
8. Make Sure You And Your Partner Are Ready
Pregnancy loss effects people differently. Before you go for round two make sure you're both ready to deal with the possibility of getting pregnant or not getting pregnant. If you need guidance getting on the same page the website Pregnancy: By Parents For Parents, suggested that couples go to counseling and seek help from someone that can help them decide if now is the time to start trying to conceive again.
9. It's OK To Take A Break
The business of trying to conceive can become really overwhelming. Focusing on fertility, and possible infertility, can take a toll on a couple's relationship and take over your whole life. If every conversation you have is about having a baby, it might be time for a time out. If you're having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage and it's wearing on you, it is OK to take a break. The National Infertility Association noted that it's also OK to embrace and accept other options for building a family like adoption and surrogacy if the stress of trying to conceive biologically is too much.
There's also the chance that conceiving after miscarriage might not be any different than it was the first time around either medically or emotionally or both. But it's worth exploring the possible risks, impact on the relationship, and ultimate emotional effects before diving straight into conception territory again.