NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Successful pregnancy more likely sooner after miscarriage, say researchers

Midwife and pregnant woman generic picture Image copyright PA

Women are more likely to have a successful pregnancy if they conceive sooner after a miscarriage rather than waiting, researchers have found.

The University of Aberdeen team said conceptions within six months were less likely to result in another miscarriage or preterm birth.

Previous advice had urged women to wait at least six months before trying to conceive following a miscarriage.

However, the team behind the study said the latest results were categorical.

It follows similar results after a study of women from across Scotland in 2010. The fresh review has been published in Human Reproduction Update.

'Physically ready'

Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, a senior lecturer in obstetrics at Aberdeen University, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We found that the best outcomes of pregnancy were actually obtained if women got pregnant within six months of having a miscarriage.

"The advice that comes out through this evidence base is that couples should not delay pregnancy because they think it might improve their chances of having another successful pregnancy, but should actually try and conceive as soon as they feel mentally and physically ready."

She added: "It is not clear why this is the case. One explanation might be that if somebody has had a miscarriage they might take particularly good care of themselves, be more motivated and may even be more fertile - but that is just speculation at this point."

Dr Bhattacharya said there was now enough evidence to change World Health Organisation guidelines that state couples should wait.

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Image caption The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said counselling should be offered

Janine Elson, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: "Unfortunately, miscarriages are very common with one in five women experiencing a miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy.

"A miscarriage affects every woman differently and it can be devastating for her partner as well.

"We welcome this robust review by the University of Aberdeen which confirms previous findings that conceiving less than six months following a miscarriage is not associated with a risk of repeat miscarriage and has no impact on the risk of stillbirth, pre-eclampsia or low birth weight babies.

"This study provides couples with reassurance that trying to conceive soon after a miscarriage is safe, however, it is important that they both feel physically and emotionally ready before trying to conceive again.

"Counselling should be offered to help manage the psychological stress miscarriage can cause. Women must ensure that any pain and bleeding has stopped and they are taking folic acid before resuming sexual activity."

'Encourages couples'

Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association, said: "This review is very important.

"It encourages couples who want to try to conceive soon after miscarriage, and also reassures those who worry that they may have miscarried because they conceived too soon after a previous loss.

"Above all, it confirms that couples can choose to try again whenever they feel ready to do so."

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