A miscarriage may be one of the most intensely sad and emotional experiences that you may ever have. Losing a pregnancy can make you worry, wondering if you will ever be able to get pregnant again or have a healthy baby. You may even be asking yourself if you did something wrong or could have prevented this somehow. If you have had a miscarriage, it is natural and very normal to wonder if you will ever be able to get pregnant again. You may feel tremendous grief and wonder if fertility after miscarriage is even possible.
Five Facts About Miscarriage
Thankfully, many women do go on to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries after miscarriage. The following statistics shed some light as to what you may be able to expect regarding your fertility after miscarriage.
- About one in four pregnancies are lost within the first few months. Some experts believe that this number be as high as one in two pregnancies. Many women miscarry before they ever know they are pregnant.
- Very early miscarriages that occur shortly after an embryo implants are called “chemical pregnancies.” If you have a chemical pregnancy, you may not even know that you are pregnant, as the miscarriage will occur right around the time that you would have normally had your period.
- Most miscarriages take place within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Many women keep the news of pregnancy quiet until they are past the 13-week mark. Once they are safely past the end of the first trimester, many women breathe a sigh of relief since the likelihood of miscarriage decreases.
- Miscarriage during the 2nd trimester is very rare and only occurs in an estimated one to five percent of pregnancies. A pregnancy lost after 20 weeks gestation is known as a stillbirth.
- As pregnancy progresses, the risk of miscarriage decreases.
All women are different, and some women may experience problems with fertility after miscarriage while most do not. If you have trouble getting pregnant after miscarriage, a consultation with a fertility specialist may be helpful. If you experience more than one miscarriage in a row, known as recurrent miscarriage, see a doctor promptly.
Causes of Recurrent Miscarriage
If you experience more than one miscarriage, seek help from a fertility specialist immediately. A fertility specialist can diagnose fertility problems that may cause miscarriage, including:
- Advanced maternal age (miscarriage risk increases with age)
- Asherman’s syndrome (uterine adhesions)
- Celiac disease
- Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities
- Hormonal problems
- Medical problems including diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a thyroid condition, or weight problems
- Thrombophilia (blood clots)
- Uterine abnormalities (fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, or uterine septum)
Let your doctor know if you have a family history of genetic disorders, like Turner’s syndrome or Down’s syndrome. And don’t wait to get help. Seek help early to increase your chances of regaining your fertility after miscarriage.
Fertility Tests for Recurrent Miscarriage
To discover more about the reasons for your pregnancy losses, your doctor may recommend one of the following fertility tests for you or your partner:
- Blood tests to check your chromosomes and look for clotting disorders or immunological agents (like the lupus anticoagulant)
- Blood tests to evaluate the health of your glands and hormones
- Blood tests to look for natural killer cells
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check for adhesions, fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, tubal, or uterine abnormalities
- Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) to diagnose genetic issues that could affect the fetus
These tests, and later treatments, can help reduce future miscarriages. For example, PGS may reduce the chances of miscarrying and passing down any chromosomal disorders, like Down’s syndrome, to your infant. Encourage your partner to get tested along with you. Male factor infertility can contribute to some cases of recurrent miscarriage.
Can a Miscarriage Be Prevented?
You can do very little to prevent a miscarriage in the first trimester. If you have known health issues that may lead to miscarriage, make sure your doctor is following your pregnancy closely from the start. Once you are in your second or third trimester, your doctor may be able to help you avoid a possible pregnancy loss.
Healthy lifestyle behaviors may help you prevent the risk of miscarriage. If you are trying to get pregnant, follow your doctor’s advice and take care of your health. Try the following:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs
- Take a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid
- Get to a healthy fertility weight
Can I Get Pregnant After Miscarriage?
Your chances of fertility after miscarriage are typically very good. Generally, the risk of a second pregnancy loss is only slightly higher after a single loss. A recent study has shown that most women that miscarry are able to get pregnant and are able to have a healthy baby.
Keep “doing all the right things” when trying to get pregnant. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise, keep your stress level low, avoid all environmental toxins, and keep the spark alive with your partner. If you need additional support when coping with this process, consider talking to a counselor or therapist. Don’t be ashamed of your grief, let your feelings out and work through them.