Conception After Loss: Can a Miscarriage Affect Future Pregnancies?

June 29th, 2019
Conception after loss

A positive pregnancy often comes with a bubbling sense of excitement.

Whether you’ve been trying to get pregnant for years or the baby is a happy accident, it’s a life-changing moment with infinite possibilities. From the moment a woman learns she’s expecting, her life refocuses on the little one who’s about to join the family.

However, when pregnancy ends in miscarriage, it can leave both men and women with sorrow and endless questions about their future fertility.

The why’s, how’s, and when’s of life after a pregnancy loss can be overwhelming. Many women find themselves wondering if future children are possible. Can they get pregnant again? If they do, is another miscarriage inevitable?

Thankfully, miscarrying a child doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery in the future. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to try and understand why you’ve experienced the loss in the first place. Your miscarriage may have been a random occurrence, but if you have reproductive challenges you shouldn’t despair. There are treatments available that may serve as your solution. 

What is a Miscarriage?

The technical term used by doctors to describe a miscarriage is ‘spontaneous abortion.’ This phrase is employed to describe embryo or fetal death which occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most often, a miscarriage will happen during the first few gestational months. In fact, 8 out of 10 miscarriages will occur sometime during the first trimester.

Studies show 10-15% of ‘known’ pregnancies will end in miscarriage. However, March of Dimes has stated this percentage is actually much higher. Approximately 50% of pregnancies will fail before the woman even experiences a missed period.

Despite the high rate of its occurrence, pregnancy loss is still relatively misunderstood and undiscussed amongst men and women. 

Why Did I Miscarry?

When a woman suffers a pregnancy loss, one of the most common questions doctors hear is: “Why?”

Frustratingly, sometimes there’s no explanation. Other times, there are specific medical issues. Five of the most common causes of miscarriage are:

  •       Genetic abnormalities
  •       Irregular hormone levels
  •       Anatomical problems
  •       Cervical issues
  •       Immunologic causes

When a miscarriage occurs, it generally falls into one of two categories:

Non-Recurrent Miscarriages

The majority of miscarriages occur when an embryo has an abnormal number of genetic chromosomes. These types of miscarriages are unlikely to repeat in future pregnancies.

Recurrent Miscarriages

After a woman has experienced two early onset miscarriages, her gynecologist may suggest a variety of fertility testing.

Often, these tests can provide your doctor with crucial information about your reproductive health. However, sometimes the data collected may not show any specific explanation for your miscarriage or miscarriages.

Receiving proper testing is a vital part of a pregnancy journey. While no woman wants to receive bad news about her reproductive health, a proper diagnosis allows your doctor to try different treatment plans.

Occasionally, these treatment options require the use of assistive reproductive technologies (ART) like IUI or IVF to ensure optimal pregnancy health.

Can I Get Pregnant After a Miscarriage?

Patients often ask their doctors whether they’ll be able to get pregnant again after a miscarriage.

When you experience a loss as immense as a miscarriage, the emotional effects can be heart-wrenching. This is especially true for those who have tried endlessly to get pregnant in the first place.

Thankfully, this isn’t usually a matter of concern.

Generally, miscarriages will only happen once. Only about 1% of women will go on to experience recurrent miscarriages.

While some women who miscarry will require a procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D & C) to remove tissue from the uterus, most have no persistent problems from the process.

When Can I Try to Get Pregnant After a Miscarriage?

Unfortunately, there’s no black and white answer to this question.

While doctors recommend waiting at least two weeks after your miscarriage to have sex, you could technically get pregnant right after this waiting period.

But should you get pregnant so soon?

With the loss of a baby, the experience takes heavy emotional tolls. Many men and women find themselves navigating the various stages of grief:

  •       Denial
  •       Anger
  •       Bargaining
  •       Depression
  •       Acceptance

It can be difficult finding your way to the final step – acceptance. There’s no right or wrong amount of time to grieve the loss of a pregnancy. Ultimately, it’s imperative a woman waits until she feels ready before trying to get pregnant again.

Jumping into another pregnancy might feel like the right thing to do, but if one isn’t ready, the experience can be stressful.

Can You Prevent a Miscarriage?

In most cases, there’s nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage from taking place. Women will often mistakenly carry guilt over their loss. They feel as though something they did or didn’t do is the cause.

While this usually isn’t true, there are still steps a woman can take to protect her growing baby, such as:

  •       Taking prenatal vitamins
  •       Limiting  caffeine intake
  •       Avoiding alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes

While gentle exercise is beneficial during pregnancy, women should resist grueling workouts, especially if their bodies aren't used to much physical activity.

Pregnancy After Miscarriage: There’s Still Hope for Your Future

It’s easy to imagine the thrill of becoming pregnant. You’ll envision a growing belly, sweet kicks, baby showers, and decorating nurseries.

On the other hand, miscarriage isn’t something quickly comprehended. When a woman miscarries and loses her child, it’s indescribable. However, despite being one of the most trying experiences one can go through, there’s still the possibility of life after loss.

Taking the chance to grieve the child you’ve lost - and the life you could have lived together - is essential. Once you’ve successfully done this, know you can still have other children. Whether you get pregnant naturally, through ART therapies, or using our frozen donor eggs, there are still options to build the family you’ve been dreaming of.

After you’ve miscarried, you should take a moment to understand what has happened with your body. From there, put your energy into moving forward without fear of future pregnancy loss. If you have had a loss, know that we are here and ready to help you take the next step. 

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