If you and your partner have experienced a miscarriage, your heartbreak is very real. But don’t lose hope. It’s important to know that most women who lose a pregnancy go on to successfully give birth.
“For some reason, people shy away from talking about miscarriage. This is a stigma we need to break,” explains Emily L. Sabato, DO, an OB/GYN at Main Line Health. “Miscarriage is extremely common. In fact, up to 15 percent of all pregnancies end in a first-trimester miscarriage. Most likely, you know someone who has experienced this loss.”
Here are three common concerns about pregnancy after miscarriage and what women need to know as they move forward.
Am I at risk for another miscarriage?
Every pregnancy carries some risk of miscarriage, which most often occurs because of genetic abnormalities. And this risk increases with the mother’s age. But having one miscarriage is not considered a risk factor for another. “If you’ve lost a pregnancy, there is no reason to believe this will be your experience again,” says Dr. Sabato.
A small percentage of women have recurrent miscarriages, meaning two or more. If this occurs, your doctor will conduct in-depth testing to determine an underlying cause.
What steps can I take for a healthy pregnancy?
There are no specific steps a woman can take to prevent miscarriage. Remember, the vast majority are out of your control. But it is wise to focus on your overall health before pregnancy. Ways to plan for a healthy pregnancy include the following:
- Taking prenatal vitamins, ideally a few months before getting pregnant
- Seeing your doctor before trying to conceive to ensure any health issues, such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes or high blood pressure, are under control
- Exercising regularly both before and during pregnancy
- Adopting healthy habits, such as staying away from alcohol and tobacco
- Finding an OB/GYN you can talk with openly about your concerns
When is it safe to start trying for pregnancy after a miscarriage?
Many women are afraid that if they start trying for pregnancy too soon after a miscarriage, it will increase their risk for another. Dr. Sabato assures patients that this isn’t true. “Women should wait until they are emotionally ready to be pregnant again. Joining a support group or talking about their miscarriage with others can help,” she says. “But there is no physical reason why a woman can’t try again as soon as she is ready.”
The Women’s Emotional Wellness Center in King of Prussia and Newtown Square helps women cope with feelings of grief and loss, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder following a miscarriage. Learn more about services offered, or join our Facebook group for daily messages of support and to stay up to date on events, support groups and more. Additionally, our perinatal bereavement staff can provide you with options, resources, support and anticipatory guidance to help you make important decisions during this difficult time.