Making a decision about getting pregnant after miscarriage can be difficult for couples. You may have a lot of fears and questions that you want answers to before you are ready to try again. You might avoid another pregnancy because of the grief and sorrow caused by the previous miscarriage. Or perhaps you have a strong desire to get pregnant again right away. It’s perfectly normal to feel all these emotions. Take as much time as you need to heal and recover from your loss; eventually, you’ll know what step to take next.
If you do decide to give pregnancy another chance, there is hope on the road ahead of you. Did you know that most women who experience a miscarriage have healthy, trouble-free pregnancies afterwards? Even women who have three or more miscarriages in a row have a 75% chance of giving birth to a live, healthy baby. Of course, your chances of carrying a pregnancy to term will increase if you take a couple of preventive measures. Although there is no treatment to prevent miscarriages per se, taking good care of yourself and your body will go a long way to help you conceive again and carry a healthy baby to full term.
Learn about the possible causes
Generally speaking, miscarriages happen more frequently to women older than 35. The following are the most common causes behind a miscarriage.
Problems with the embryo’s chromosomes are responsible for as many as 60% of miscarriages that occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Usually, this sort of spontaneous abortion occurs even before the woman is aware that she is pregnant. Women aged 35 and older are more likely to experience a miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities because eggs start to age rapidly at this point. In rare cases, genetic problems in the parent cause the defective chromosomes. Think of it as nature’s way of ending a pregnancy where a serious genetic defect in the egg or sperm will make life impossible for the baby.
Testing the tissue from the miscarriage will help you find out if a chromosome problem was behind the miscarriage. The tissue sample has to be obtained immediately; otherwise, the cells will not grow and the test will be of no use. But if this is your first miscarriage, there’s no need to do a test; doctors usually assume a chromosomal cause for first miscarriages.
A deficiency in the sex hormone progesterone is among the most common causes of a miscarriage. Progesterone is responsible for preparing the uterine lining to receive and nourish a fertilized egg. However, a dip in progesterone levels is a signal for the body to shed the uterine lining, and with it the embryo. This problem can be detected through a hormone blood test and a biopsy where a tissue sample from the uterus is obtained. If an imbalance in progesterone levels is found, you can take progesterone supplements to restore the balance in hormones.
Physical defects in the cervix or uterus
A weakened cervix or a uterus with an abnormal shape can induce early labor during the first 12-24 weeks of pregnancy. This is the stage where the embryo develops into a fetus and grows rapidly in shape. An abnormally-shaped uterus may be unable to expand and accommodate the fetus, whereas a weak cervix cannot hold the fetus in. Fortunately, these conditions can be treated by a corrective procedure to the cervix or surgery on the uterus. If left untreated, a miscarriage is likely to happen again.
There are a number of reproductive specialists who study the relationship between auto-immune problems and pregnancies. It’s possible for the immune system to produce antibodies that terminate a fetus’s life.
1) Antiphospholipid antibodies form blood clots in the placenta, blocking the baby’s blood supply and causing it to abort. This can occur anytime during the pregnancy, but it is far more common in the first trimester. An inexpensive blood test called anticardiolipins can detect the presence of these antibodies. Treatment involves taking a blood thinner.
2) Antinuclear antibodies are the result of Lupus or similar conditions where the body forms antibodies against itself. This can be treated with a medicine called Prednisone, but it has significant side effects including bruise marks. This drug is never given unless absolutely necessary.
3) Fetal blocking antibodies form when the mother’s immune system attacks the father’s genetic material. Ideally, the fetal-blocking antibodies are supposed to block the baby from the father’s genetic material. However, a miscarriage occurs during the first 12 weeks if the father’s genetic material resembles the mother’s too similarly. There are only very few clinics that test for fetal-blocking antibodies.
Other health problems
It’s possible for health problems and infections to cause miscarriage, but only serious ones like malaria, syphilis, German measles, and AIDS. Infections that affect the uterus itself can increase the risk of a miscarriage, but a yeast infection, which is common in pregnancy, is harmless. Generally speaking, common illnesses are nothing to worry about in pregnancy. However, an infection that induces a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit should be treated immediately. Ask your doctor about the best way to lower the fever.
Although chronic health problems like thyroid disorders and cardiovascular problems may create complications, having these does not mean you cannot carry a pregnancy to term. You simply need to take better care of yourself, eat well, and make sure that the treatments you take for these conditions are safe during pregnancy.
Although there is no injection or pill that can prevent you from experiencing another miscarriage, there are a lot of simple things that you can do to ensure a successful pregnancy. Nourish your body with a well-balanced diet, healthy organic food, and pre-natal vitamins. Keep the environment around you clean so that your body has every advantage of staying healthy. Avoid secondhand cigarette smoke, sources of pollution, and toxic chemicals. Exercise regularly, but make sure you do not over-exert yourself – 30 minutes of moderate walking should do the trick. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, make sure it is under control before you start trying to conceive.
As to how long you need to wait after the miscarriage before trying to get pregnant again, this decision is entirely up to you. Doctors recommend waiting until you experience at least one normal menstrual cycle; this is a good sign that your reproductive system is back to normal. However, it’s just as important for your emotional and spiritual state to heal. Seek support from trusted friends, or a counselor. It might also help to join a support group; many people find it comforting to talk to others who have experienced a similar loss. Above all, take time to nurture yourself and your partner with love and compassion after the painful event you have been through. You are doing everything you can, and the steps you take towards caring for yourself will give you an excellent chance of conceiving again and giving birth to a healthy baby.