Are You More Fertile After a Miscarriage? What to Expect
On average, around 12-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. And even though pregnancy loss can be devastating, The American Pregnancy Association shines some light on the fact that following a miscarriage, an estimated 85% of women will eventually have a successful pregnancy. Not only that, but following two or more miscarriages, an estimated 75% of women will also go on to have a successful pregnancy. But what does miscarriage really mean for your fertility and pregnancy journey?
To help you navigate this sensitive topic, here is everything you need to know about miscarriage, how it can affect your fertility in the short and long term, and how long you should wait before trying to conceive (TTC) with your partner again. We’ll also follow this up with some of your most frequently asked questions about miscarriage and getting pregnant.
Are you more fertile after a miscarriage?
In the long-term, no. There is no evidence that suggests that you are more fertile after one or more miscarriages.
However, some studies do suggest that in the short-term, couples may be more likely to conceive after miscarriage if they conceive within 3 months, compared to those who wait longer than three months.
TTC after a miscarriage
When should you try to conceive after a miscarriage?
The general consensus for how long you should wait after a miscarriage before trying again is typically between three to six months. However, this timing can vary among couples, with some feeling ready to try again before three months, while others may want to wait longer than six months.
If you have recently experienced a miscarriage and want to try again, the important thing to remember is to wait until you feel emotionally and physically ready – even if that is sooner or later than others. By giving yourself plenty of time to recover and grieve, you will be in a much more stable and healthy position to try again with your partner in the future.
Reasons to wait
Even though you may feel emotionally “ready” to try again after a miscarriage, it’s important to note that it takes time for your physical body and hormones to recover. Here are a few specific examples of why you should consider waiting at least a few months before TTC after miscarriage.
A molar pregnancy is a type of pregnancy complication where a sperm does not fertilize the egg correctly, resulting in a noncancerous tumor forming in the uterus instead of a placenta. This tumor or “mole” is unable to support the early pregnancy and a miscarriage occurs.
In rare cases, molar pregnancies can result in the development of gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN), which is a type of cancer.
If you have had a molar pregnancy, know that it is still possible to get pregnant again. However, it is important to wait until your entire treatment is complete before TTC. This can take up to six months in standard cases and up to 12 months in cases with GTN.
Dilation and curettage procedure complications
Some miscarriages may require a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure to remove tissue from the uterus. Although rare, it is possible to experience complications as a result of this procedure, such as the development of scar tissue or adhesions inside the uterus.
Depending on the severity of any complications following a D&C, your doctor may recommend waiting up to six months before trying to conceive again after this procedure. This gives the uterus time to heal, rebuild, and prepare itself to be able to support another pregnancy.
High hCG levels (would result in a false positive pregnancy test)
During pregnancy, the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) rises rapidly in order to support a developing fetus. When a pregnancy ends, the body no longer produces hCG. However, it does not go back to its pre-pregnancy level overnight. Instead, it can take some time (up to six weeks) to return back to its baseline level.
Because hCG is the hormone that is detected in standard pregnancy tests to confirm pregnancy, you may want to wait some time before trying to conceive again. This is because your hCG levels may still be elevated from your previous pregnancy and not a new pregnancy, resulting in a false positive result.
For more information on hCG, miscarriage, and when to test, check out our articles hCG Levels and Miscarriage: What Low Levels Can Mean and Pregnancy Tests After Miscarriage – How Long Until It’s Negative?.
Does miscarriage affect fertility long-term?
There is no evidence to suggest that having a miscarriage will affect your fertility in the long term. In fact, one study found that of 261 women who had experienced a miscarriage, 97.7% of them eventually conceived naturally within six years.
However, it’s important to note that when it comes to the impact of miscarriage on fertility, there is a difference between a single miscarriage (also known as a non-recurrent miscarriage) and multiple miscarriages (also known as recurrent miscarriages). Here is a brief look at each and how it may impact your long-term fertility.
A non-recurrent miscarriage is a miscarriage that only occurs once. This type of miscarriage is fairly common, and it does not typically have any negative effect on future reproductive outcomes – especially if you are under the age of 35.
However, despite non-recurrent miscarriages being relatively “common”, they can still take a physical and emotional toll on your body. If you have recently experienced a miscarriage, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to heal before trying again.
If you have experienced two or more miscarriages after 10 weeks of pregnancy, this type of consistent pregnancy loss is considered “recurrent”. In these cases, there may be an underlying physical cause that could be impacting your fertility and ability to maintain a pregnancy.
According to UCLA Health, some of the most common physical causes that may cause recurrent miscarriages include abnormalities in the uterus, inflammation, poor blood supply, and hormonal abnormalities. Age also plays a role in miscarriage, with women over the age of 35 being at a much higher risk of experiencing recurrent miscarriages compared to those under 35.
The good news though is that it may still be possible to have a successful pregnancy in cases where any underlying cause(s) are treated. That’s why it is important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible following a second miscarriage, so that they can provide you with the most effective treatment plan for your situation.
What are the chances of another miscarriage?
According to research published in the journal, Women’s Health, your chances of experiencing another miscarriage increase with each consecutive miscarriage. For example, after an initial miscarriage, the risk of a subsequent miscarriage is 20%. Beyond that, the risk increases to 28% and 43% after two and three consecutive miscarriages, respectively.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that even though your chances of experiencing another miscarriage increase, an estimated 75% of women still go on to have successful pregnancies following two or more miscarriages.
FAQs about getting pregnant after a miscarriage
When’s the best time for pregnancy after miscarriage?
The best time to plan for a pregnancy after a miscarriage is when you are physically and emotionally ready to try again. This means that for some couples it may take less than three months, and for other couples it may take six months to a year.
If you are not quite sure when it’s “safe” to try again after a miscarriage, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about it. They will know more about your medical history and can offer the best advice for your individual situation.
Are there any special tests before trying for another baby?
Yes. Your doctor may want to conduct a few tests after miscarriage to determine if any underlying causes are preventing your body from carrying a pregnancy to full term. This is especially true if you have experienced multiple miscarriages.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as possible tests that your doctor may recommend:
*Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
How soon after a miscarriage can you get pregnant?
Technically, it is possible to get pregnant after a miscarriage as soon as you begin ovulating again. For some women, this can take a few weeks and for others, it may take a few months. However, given the emotional and physical challenges that come with miscarriage, it’s important to wait until you feel ready to try again.
For more information on how to track and monitor ovulation after a miscarriage, check out our article Ovulation After Miscarriage: Signs of a Return to Normal.
How long after a miscarriage do you get your period?
Depending on how far along you were in your pregnancy, you may get your period as soon as a few weeks to a few months after miscarriage. However, everyone’s body is different and it may take some longer to recover than others.