Making the decision to try to conceive after the tragedy of a miscarriage can be exciting and scary at the same time. The fear of history repeating itself has many couples questioning their ability to cope with the roller coaster of emotions that conceiving after a miscarriage brings with it.
Miscarriages are generally caused by issues with the baby’s chromosomes or genes as the cells begin to divide, rarely a miscarriage is caused by an underlying health issue in the mother, such as thyroid disease or uncontrolled diabetes. The cause of most miscarriages remains a mystery.
The good news for parents who are considering trying to conceive after a miscarriage is that, in most cases, miscarriage is a one time event. Most couples go on to have healthy pregnancies. Only five percent of women will experience two miscarriages, and one percent of all women will experience three or more miscarriages during their reproductive years.
For most couples, the likelihood of conceiving a healthy baby after a miscarriage is extremely high. Before you try to conceive again there are a few things that can help ensure that your next pregnancy has a positive outcome.
6 Take a Prenatal Vitamin
According to The Office of Women's Health, a branch of the Department of Human Services, taking a prenatal vitamin is one of the best ways to help prevent future miscarriages. The agency recommends taking a prenatal vitamin with 400 mg - 800 mg of folic acid for three months prior to conceiving.
Folic acid helps reduce the chances of your baby developing neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, low levels of folic acid have been linked to miscarriage, making preconception and prenatal supplementation with folic acid a vital part of reducing the risk of having repeated miscarriages.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
Increasing your chances of having a healthy baby starts long before conception. In fact, most health care professionals advise that both parents adopt a healthier lifestyle three months prior to trying to conceive, this is especially important if you have had a previous miscarriage.
Eliminating smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use help increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Exposure to these harmful habits is linked to miscarriage. Studies show that exposure to secondhand smoke reduces a woman’s chances of conceiving by twenty percent, and it’s affects on an unborn child are similar to those seen in babies that are born to mothers who smoke.
Adopting healthier eating habits not only increases your chance of conceiving, it reduces the risk of miscarriage. British researcher have discovered that increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruit can reduce your chances of having a miscarriage by fifty percent.
While an exact cause hasn’t been discovered, research shows that caffeine consumption can have an effect on fertility and miscarriage. Women who consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine a day had twice the amount of miscarriages than women who didn’t consume caffeine. Research also shows that women who consume caffeine take longer to become pregnant than those who forego their morning cup of joe.
Exercise is an important part of living a healthier lifestyle, but research shows that overly strenuous exercise increases your risk of miscarriage. Please consult your doctor before beginning any form of exercise preconception or prenatally.
5 When Should You Try to Conceive Again?
There are a lot of factor to take into consideration before you try to conceive again. While there is no known medical reason to wait, most doctors recommend waiting until you have had your first menstrual cycle to allow your body to have time to heal and make determining a future due date easier. Couple who conceive within six months of a previous miscarriage are actually more likely to go on to have a healthy pregnancy.
Physical healing often occurs well before emotional healing is complete. It is important for you and your spouse both to be ready emotionally for a new baby. Allowing yourself to go through the grief process can help lessen any stress you may feel when you become pregnant again and increase your chances for a healthy pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to seek grief counseling from a clergy member or a counselor. There are also support groups online and in your community that can help you walk through your grief journey.
Keep Track of Your Menstrual Cycles
Most healthcare providers advise against trying to conceive until your first menstrual cycle has occurred after a miscarriage. This allows time for your body to heal properly, and allows your healthcare provider to more accurately determine your date of conception. This is especially important in the instance of repeated early miscarriage, so that a diagnosis and treatment can be more accurate and effective.
Normal periods generally resume four to six weeks after a miscarriage. Before your period returns, you may want to chart any signs of fertility that you experience, including basal body temperatures or changes in vaginal secretions. You should also note any spotting as well as the length of your period to help your healthcare provider with any diagnostics, including pregnancy.
4 Find a Quality Health Care Provider
If you don’t already have a healthcare provider that you feel comfortable with, it is important to find one before you try to conceive again. Your healthcare provider should not only be aware of your reproductive history, he or she should offer proactive support in your journey to conceive again.
Because of your reproductive history, you will need to be monitored more closely with any future pregnancies. You will have your progesterone and hcG levels monitored, and receive early ultrasounds to make sure that your pregnancy is progressing as it should.
You will want to make sure that your healthcare provider is someone that you feel comfortable communicating any questions or concerns that may arise during preconception consultations and your pregnancy. As someone who has suffered pregnancy loss, you will have unique concerns and questions, an understanding healthcare provider can help to ease any anxiety you or your spouse may have regarding the conception process and, hopefully, your new pregnancy.
Before you try to conceive again, your healthcare provider should run a panel of blood tests to determine if you have any health issues that may prevent you from carrying a baby to full term.
If you have had two or more miscarriages, your healthcare provider will probably check you for autoimmune disorders, anatomical issues, chromosomal problems, or any other health issues that may be contributing to your miscarriages.
You will want to get any underlying health issues or disorders under control before trying to conceive to help ensure that you have a healthy baby.
The majority of the time, there is no physiological reason for a miscarriage to occur. In fact, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that half of all miscarriages are unable to be explained. Even without treatment, sixty to seventy percent of all couples who experience a miscarriage will be able to have a perfectly healthy baby.
2 Don’t Stress!
Some couples put too much stress on conceiving a new baby and not enough on simply enjoying each other. In addition to the emotional stress of losing a baby, the stress of always trying to have sex at just the right time, and month after month with no sign of a baby can take its toll on your relationship.
The stress of losing a pregnancy, and trying to conceive can cause problems between you and your spouse. Some couples blame each other for the loss of the previous pregnancy, and if this resentment isn’t worked through, it can cause ongoing issues in your relationship. Others blame their spouse when a baby isn’t conceived right away.
Most healthcare providers feel that it is just best to relax and let nature take its course. Odds are, that you will eventually become pregnant, usually within six months to a year after you are physically healed from your miscarriage.
Look for Signs
Be on the lookout for signs that your body may be becoming fertile again. Ovulation pain, an increase in cervical mucus, and breast tenderness can all signal the return of your fertility.
Having sex during the time when there is an increase in your cervical mucous is one of the best ways to conceive. Couples who are intimate during this time report high rates of documented conception.
1 Find Support
Stepping out in faith and trying to conceive after a loss is a very emotional decision. Having a support system in place can help you and your spouse as you work through the conception process.
Talking with other couples, in person or online, can help you work through your loss and help you sort out the many different emotions that come with conceiving after a pregnancy loss.
Turning to your Faith during this time can be extremely comforting. Statistics report that people of Faith report lower stress levels and often see miraculous medical results. Belonging to a community of believers that love and support your efforts is a big encouragement.
One of the most important things to remember is to stay positive. This can seem like an impossible task as the months pass without a positive pregnancy test. Don’t allow the process of trying to conceive to take a toll on your relationship with your spouse. Keep the lines of communication open, and make an effort to encourage each other as much as possible. Remember, each month brings you one month closer to conceiving a precious new life!