How common is miscarriage?
There are a lot of misconceptions around miscarriage and, as it is such an emotional subject, it is often not spoken about openly. Firstly, the rate of miscarriage is actually relatively high compared to what many expect. The NHS website says that 1 in 8 pregnancies end up in miscarriage. However, Tommy’s, the leading UK charity who provide research, support and education in baby loss, have published statistics to show 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Whilst the majority of people who suffer one miscarriage will have a successful pregnancy the next time round, experiencing a miscarriage can be extremely difficult and sets off alarm bells for many.
What are the chances of success after having a miscarriage?
If you have suffered an early pregnancy miscarriage (i.e., within the first 12 weeks after conception) then your odds of getting success on your next try are the same as anyone else your age. You should take the same steps as others when trying to conceive and your chances of having a healthy pregnancy are just the same as others who have not had a miscarriage.
Repeat miscarriage or a miscarriage after 12 weeks can be a sign that there is a bigger issue at play and we advise you go and seek medical advice. However, the rate of recurrent miscarriage is extremely low; according to the NHS 1 in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages (3 or more in a row). On top of this, suffering from repeat miscarriages does not mean your chances of having a baby are really low. Many things have to go right to conceive in the first place. First and foremost, the woman needs to ovulate and produce good quality eggs and the man needs to produce good quality sperm. Then the egg and sperm must meet in the woman’s reproductive tract, fertilise, form an embryo and implant in the receptive lining of the uterus. It is not always clear why a miscarriage occurs but the NHS does states that “most women are able to have a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage, even in cases of recurrent miscarriage” and there are many ways to improve your chances.
What are the next steps for trying to conceive after a miscarriage?
Firstly, you should wait until all the symptoms of miscarriage, such as abdominal pain and bleeding, have gone. This will eliminate any chance of infection when trying to conceive. Doctors often advise you to wait for one period before trying again, this is because most women suffer from an irregular menstrual cycle immediately after miscarriage.
Seek medical advice following recurrent miscarriage
If you have suffered from a 3rd miscarriage in a row (this is officially diagnosed as recurrent miscarriage) then it is recommended that you seek medical advice before trying to conceive again. You could be asked to take a number of tests and you might be able to find out what is causing the problem and address it.
Most importantly you must wait until you feel ready mentally – some people are ready to try again straight away whereas others feel they need time. Think about what suits you and go from there. Going through a miscarriage can be traumatic for many people and you should not feel pressure to try again straight away.
You should ask for help if you feel you need it. There are several charities in the UK as well as NHS resources which might be able to help which we have listed at the bottom of this article.
Improving your chances of a successful pregnancy
We have already written a piece on how to improve pregnancy chances after miscarriage which explores a lot of the options available to you to help get your body ready. A really important factor to consider when reading this is that sperm quality can play a big part. A common misconception around miscarriages is that they are solely to do with what is going on inside the woman’s body. The male factor is important and sperm which suffers from high DNA fragmentation will often result in failed pregnancies. It is important that both men and women make the necessary lifestyle changes in order to give you the best chance of success.
Overall, the chances of success are still good after you have had a miscarriage, this has become evident over a number of a studies. While there are no guarantees, it is still ok to feel optimistic about your future chances.