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Pregnancy after miscarriage: Tips for conception

Dr. Jan Rydfors Board Certified OB/GYN and Co-Creator Pregnancy Companion MD

Having a miscarriage is an inevitably difficult experience. After yearning to get pregnant and successfully conceiving, going through such loss is emotional and challenging. Sometimes the thought of trying to get pregnant again is overwhelming, but conception after a miscarriage is possible.

Unfortunately, miscarriages are common, most often occurring within the first trimester. With that being said, they can occur up to 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Miscarriages happen in about one in five pregnancies and are more common among older women.


Do

Do speak with your physician

Many women who have had a miscarriage are eager to know how they can prevent another from occurring. However, most of the time miscarriages are not preventable due to a chromosomal issue in the egg. Some miscarriages are, however, due to high prolactin levels, or having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In these cases, you can sometimes do something about it. If you have had a miscarriage, talk to your medical provider about ways you might improve your chances of getting pregnant again.

If you have recently had a miscarriage, you don’t necessarily need to wait three menstrual cycles to try and conceive again, as doctors once suggested. Today, many medical providers have their patients wait just one cycle, while others tell their patients to try right away.

Do take a prenatal vitamin

Before you attempt getting pregnant again, it’s suggested you take prenatal multivitamins, ensuring you have an adequate amount of folic acid. This helps to decrease the risk of certain malformations in your baby and may even reduce the risk of a miscarriage. Ask your doctor about a good prenatal vitamin that you can take.

Do maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also essential pre-conception. In general, being underweight or overweight might make it more difficult to get pregnant and might increase your risk of having a miscarriage. If your BMI is under 18.5 you are underweight, and if you are above 30, you are overweight.

Do try alternative methods

There are certain alternative methods that can also help women successfully conceive. Many medical providers say daily praying or meditating helps to increase the blood flow to the uterus, and thus can help you to get pregnant. Meditation can also reduce anxiety, which is very common among women who have experienced a miscarriage.

Do ensure you have enough iron

Another tip for getting pregnant is consuming a sufficient amount of iron. If you recently had a miscarriage or usually have heavy periods, you might be anemic. If this is the case, consider taking an iron supplement while trying to conceive. You can also consume iron-enriched food such as red meat.


Don't

Do not forget about vaginal progesterone

If you have had a miscarriage, you might want to ask your medical provider about vaginal progesterone. Vaginal progesterone allegedly makes it easier for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus at the beginning of pregnancy. While there are not many studies supporting it, some doctors feel it is a safe option that could contribute to conception. There are possible side effects to taking progesterone, so be sure that you speak with your doctor before using it.

Do not have high lead levels

Women should also monitor their lead levels, as a high level can be dangerous to your baby. Lead is mostly absorbed into your body through your lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and it can stay in your body for many years. Early in a pregnancy, high lead levels can cause miscarriages.

Do not ignore your history

Your doctor might determine that you have an incompetent cervix, which is a common cause of second trimester miscarriages. The cause is usually unknown, but can be due to a history of cervical surgery, often associated with an abnormal Pap smear. If your medical provider diagnoses a weakened cervix early, a cerclage will often be recommended. This is often conducted at the end of your first trimester.

Do not forget to watch for bleeding

Women trying to conceive should watch for bleeding. First trimester bleeding occurs in about one in three to one in four women. Often times, such spotting does not result in a miscarriage, rather, it’s due to a small blood clot coming from the implantation of the embryo or early placenta. However, if the bleeding is more than just light spotting paired with cramping, it is essential to contact your gynecologist immediately.

Do not ingest or use harmful substances

In addition, there are a number of things pregnant hopefuls should limit or avoid, one of which is caffeine. Large amounts of caffeine may cause miscarriages or early labor. Small amounts of caffeine, however, are considered safe. Studies show that it is likely fine to consume up to 200 mg per day.

Most skin products are considered safe to use while pregnant, however, some should be avoided. Pregnant women should not use products that contain: Salicylic acid, beta hydroxyl acid (BHA), Tazarotene (Tazorac®), or Adapalene (Differin). A rule of thumb: avoid any component that starts with “Retin-,” which is commonly used for severe acne. This ingredient is known to be associated with miscarriage and birth defects.

Finally, undercooked meats and unpasteurized foods should not be consumed while pregnant. These foods can result in listeria, a dangerous bacteria that can result in miscarriage and stillbirth. As a precaution, always cook meat thoroughly, generously wash raw fruits and vegetables, and avoid unpasteurized products (like soft cheese).


Summary
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Getting pregnant after a miscarriage is possible. After experiencing such loss, make sure to seek emotional and medical support to aid in recovery and attempting to conceive again.


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Dr. Jan RydforsBoard Certified OB/GYN and Co-Creator

Dr. Jan Rydfors is a Board Certified OB/GYN specializing in fertility and high-risk pregnancy and Co-Creator of the popular app, Pregnancy Companion: The Obstetrician's Mobile Guide to Pregnancy (www.pregnancycompanionapp.com). The only app crea...

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