Making the Decision
Some couples want to try as soon as possible to get pregnant again after a pregnancy loss. Others are unsure whether they ever want to try again. And most go back and forth between the two. This difficult and personal decision can only be made by you and your partner.
You have just been through a very painful experience. Allow yourself some time to make the decision that's right for you. Keep in mind:
- All pregnancies are different.
- You might have to deal with the recurrence of a genetic defect. Get as much information as possible from a medical professional before making your decision.
- There are advantages both to waiting and to getting pregnant soon after your loss. Waiting will allow you more time to heal physically and emotionally and may help you feel less anxious during the pregnancy. Getting pregnant soon after the loss may make you feel that you're moving toward more hopeful times and help you overcome feelings of "failure."
- If you've battled infertility or gone through a number of losses, you need to honestly answer this question: "Can I do this one more time?"
Should You Wait?
It may be a good idea to wait a few months to allow yourself time to heal emotionally and physically. But how long to wait differs with the individual. Even doctors can't agree because there are many factors -- both physical and emotional -- involved in deciding how long to wait. Other considerations include your age and whether you, as a couple, are experiencing other big changes in your lives. Get information from your health-care provider, books, and other sources. Then decide for yourself. It's normal to find that, while you may feel ready to try again, your partner may not. Or the other way around.
Recognize that you may be balancing many feelings: anxiety, anger, obsession, ambivalence about a subsequent pregnancy, hopeful feelings about the future, and grief and guilt about your loss. Even if you desperately want to try again, most parents find that their grief intensifies in the months following, and that another pregnancy feels too risky to even consider at this time.
Is Your Body Ready?
Your physical readiness to try again depends on the type of loss you had and the nature of the delivery.
- Did the miscarriage expel itself or did you have a D&C?
- Did you go through labor and delivery?
- Was emergency surgery necessary?
Your doctor will help you determine when it's physically safe to try again.
Once You've Decided
Once you and your partner have agreed to try to get pregnant again, be sure to:
- Find a supportive doctor or midwife who is willing to give you the kind of care you want. You may need to see a fertility or maternal-fetal specialist.
- Talk to your health-care provider about your timing and the physical issues that affect when you can try to get pregnant again. For example, your milk may have come in, and it may take a while for you to stop bleeding. Your provider may suggest waiting a certain number of menstrual cycles, as well.
- Go for genetic counseling, if it's appropriate.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle by avoiding alcohol, smoking, and illegal drugs; take a multivitamin containing folic acid every day; eat a healthy diet, including foods rich in folic acid like fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, dried beans, and orange juice.
When You Become Pregnant
Most women become pregnant within the year following the loss of their baby. Remember, it's okay for you to grieve for the baby you lost even during a subsequent pregnancy. When you do become pregnant:
- Be positive and remind yourself that every pregnancy is different and that every baby is unique and special.
- Get prenatal care as soon as you know you are pregnant.
- Take healthy steps. Continue going for prenatal care and taking folic acid. Eat healthy food, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest. Decrease stress and avoid smoking, illegal drugs, and alcohol.
- Take charge of your medical care. Get information about pregnancy, prenatal care, and other topics that will help reduce your anxiety.
- Consider your feelings about whether you want prenatal diagnostic testing. A test is useful when it identifies situations that can be monitored to prevent problems.
- Recognize that this pregnancy may be difficult mentally and emotionally, as well as physically taxing, and that the hardest point to get past will be the point of your previous loss.
- Get the reassurance you need from your health-care providers and be open about your concerns and fears.
Visit The March of Dimes site for more information and a free bereavement kit.
Source: March of Dimes
Copyright © 2002 Meredith Corporation.
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.