Jan 12, 2016 1:00 AM

Author: Libby Mitchell

Handling a pregnancy loss can be difficult for couples wanting to become parents. And the assumption that it is better to wait for a while before attempting to conceive again can make it even harder. But new research now says that common wisdom is incorrect. A piece published in Obstetrics & Gynecology finds couples who attempt to conceive within three months of losing an early pregnancy (at less than 20 weeks gestation) have the same, if not better, chances of having a successful pregnancy.

“Our findings show there is no physiologic basis to delay pregnancy attempts after an early pregnancy loss,” says Karen Schliep, PhD, the primary author of the research and a public health specialist with University of Utah Health Care.

The belief that time should be taken following a pregnancy loss is widely shared and the World Health Organization recommends couples wait at least six months. Schliep says those recommendations resulted from limited access to patients and data. For example, the studies were limited to enrolling women who were already pregnant, so they only answered the question, “When should couples achieve pregnancy after loss?” she says. “Consequently, professional women’s health organizations have been limited in their ability to make recommendations based on credible evidence.”

Of course, there are situations where a successful pregnancy may not occur after a pregnancy loss. “These findings do not take into account ectopic pregnancies, or molar pregnancies,” Schliep adds. “They also do not involve women with known histories of infertility and with one to two prior losses.”

Another consideration not looked at in the study is if the couple is emotionally ready to go forward with another pregnancy. “Whether a couple needs time to heal emotionally following a loss may be dependent on many factors,” says Schliep. “But following conventional recommendations for waiting at least three months shouldn’t be one of them.” 

Libby Mitchell

Libby Mitchell is the Social Media Coordinator for University of Utah Health Care. Follow her on Twitter @LibbyMitchellUT.

pregnancy miscarriage women's health fertility

comments powered by Disqus

Sign Up for Weekly Health Updates

Get weekly emails of the latest news from HealthFeed.

For Patients

Find a doctor or location close to you so you can get the health care you need, when you need it