This article is for general information only; it does not constitute medical advice, nor should it be construed as such.
Early pregnancy loss is often a quietly heartbreaking experience. If you’ve gone through it, at some point you may wonder about your chances of getting pregnant after a miscarriage. You may worry that it’s too soon to try to conceive, that you’re not emotionally ready to try again just yet or that something is wrong with you if you want to wait.
In the end, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to early pregnancy loss, because no one can put a timetable on your grief. You will know when you are ready to try again. When you are, you may have some questions. We’re here to help.
In this article
- Can I get pregnant after I’ve had a miscarriage?
- What if I experience another miscarriage?
- What are the chances of getting pregnant after experiencing multiple miscarriages?
- What can I do to help prevent another miscarriage?
- What factors increase the chance of miscarriage?
- When can I have sex after a miscarriage?
- When do you ovulate after a miscarriage?
- How soon after a miscarriage can you get pregnant?
- When will I be emotionally ready to try again after a miscarriage?
- What else should I consider before trying to conceive again?
Can I get pregnant after I’ve had a miscarriage?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “most women who have an early pregnancy loss go on to have successful pregnancies.”1 About 65% of women who have an early pregnancy loss go on to have successful pregnancies.2
What if I experience another miscarriage?
While the Mayo Clinic notes that miscarriage is “usually a one-time occurrence” and that only about 1% of women will have recurrent miscarriages,3 it’s possible to experience another loss. If you have had multiple miscarriages, talk to your healthcare professional. According to ACOG, they may recommend an exam and testing to help determine the cause, although in more than 50% of cases of multiple miscarriage, no cause can be found.2
What are the chances of getting pregnant after experiencing multiple miscarriages?
Although the risk of miscarriage increases with each consecutive loss,4 according to ACOG, approximately “65 in 100 women with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss have a successful next pregnancy.”2
What can I do to help prevent another miscarriage?
Half of all pregnancy losses occur during the early stages of pregnancy when the baby is just starting to develop. Knowing this may take some weight off your shoulders — almost always, there is nothing you could have done to prevent an early pregnancy loss.
On the other hand, this information may leave you feeling a bit helpless, as though you have few options for preventing a miscarriage in the future. Just remember: Most women who experience early pregnancy loss can get pregnant again successfully.1
While it may not be possible to find the cause, you should discuss recurring miscarriages with your healthcare professional. Together, you can look for clues. During the exam your healthcare professional will likely ask about your past pregnancies and general medical history, and will perform a thorough physical exam and, possibly, a pelvic exam. Imaging tests can help determine if a uterine problem is to blame.2 If necessary, additional testing can be done to look at possible causes that could be related to your immune system or genetics.2
What factors increase the chance of miscarriage?
Your age and certain lifestyle habits may increase the likelihood of early pregnancy loss. But keep in mind, too, that in the majority of instances, “miscarriage is not a woman’s fault,” as ACOG notes.1
The chance of early pregnancy loss increases with age; according to ACOG, “about one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage” for women over age 40.1 If you are of advanced maternal age, talk to your healthcare professional sooner rather than later about trying to conceive again.
Some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, lowering your blood pressure and losing weight, may decrease the risk of miscarriage.4 If you’re trying to conceive, avoid alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine (consume less than 200 mg of caffeine per day).5 Talk to your healthcare professional about changes you can make to help give you the best chance of success.
If you’re trying to conceive, consider taking a prenatal vitamin that includes 400 mcg of folic acid each day.6 While studies are inconclusive about the relationship between prenatal vitamins and pregnancy loss,7,8 it is recommended that you take prenatal vitamins one month prior to being pregnant for many other important reasons, including the prevention of major birth defects.6
When can I have sex after a miscarriage?
Talk to your healthcare professional before having sex after a miscarriage. They will likely see you for a follow-up appointment and can advise you on when it’s OK to have sex again. To help prevent infections, you should not put anything in your vagina for one to two weeks, including tampons.1 As ACOG notes, if you’re experiencing “heavy bleeding (soaking through more than two maxi pads per hour for more than two hours in a row), fever, chills [or] severe pain” following an early pregnancy loss, call your healthcare professional immediately.1
When do you ovulate after a miscarriage?
You can ovulate as soon as two weeks after an early pregnancy loss.1 However, you may have a better sense of timing if you wait for one full menstrual cycle to pass before you try to conceive.1
How soon after a miscarriage can you get pregnant?
It is possible to get pregnant once you start ovulating again, typically two weeks after experiencing a miscarriage.1 In fact, trying to conceive within three months after a miscarriage may be beneficial. In one study, researchers found that more than 76% of participants attempted to conceive within three months after losing a pregnancy. Compared to those who waited longer, this group was more likely to have a pregnancy leading to a live birth (53% vs. 36%). The researchers concluded that there is no physiological evidence that supports waiting to try to conceive after an early pregnancy loss.9
When will I be emotionally ready to try again after a miscarriage?
There is no easy answer to this question. Miscarriage can be hard to handle, and you may need time to grieve. Your sense of loss, pain and sadness aren’t on a set schedule. In short, you’ll feel how you feel for as long as you need to, and that’s OK.
Try not to put pressure on yourself to feel certain emotions, put on a brave face or “get over it” quickly. Depression and anxiety can linger for many months after the loss, for either you or your partner.10 You may shift through an array of emotions, from anger and disappointment about what could have been, to guilt or shame over the loss.10
You’ve probably heard the old adage “Everyone grieves differently.” This will likely be the case for you and your partner, as well as others in your life: your family members, your children, your friends. And there’s no singular way to grieve. Perhaps you feel compelled to talk about the loss with others, as often as you can. You might ask for a compassionate ear or guidance from your circle of friends, your parents or relatives, your healthcare professional, a therapist or grief counselor, a spiritual or religious leader or a pregnancy support group, such as Unspoken Stories from the March of Dimes.11
Or you may feel closed-off, have an instinct to hide away or isolate yourself. You may not want to talk about the miscarriage at all, or feel pressure (from yourself or others) to just get over it. If this feels familiar, you may want to consider looking at the March of Dimes booklet, “From hurt to healing”.
And as many emotions as you may feel — and don’t be surprised if your emotions are up and down as you work through your grief — your partner may also be experiencing them. Hold space for one another. Don’t be afraid to talk and share the burden of your grief. Discuss how you’re feeling, and allow them to do the same. Check in with one another. Lean on each other.
So, when will you be ready to try again? That answer is unique to you and your partner. Just know that whatever your decision, it’s the right one for you.
“The loss of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. You may grieve for your baby for a long time, maybe even your whole life. There’s no right amount of time to grieve. It takes as long as it takes you. Over time, you can find peace and become ready to think about the future.”
—Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, President and CEO, March of Dimes
What else should I consider before trying to conceive again?
You’ve landed in a club you never asked to be in, which may lead, understandably, to anxiety. And the women in this club have heard it all: “When are you going to try again?” “I read that you should wait six months until you try again.” “I bet once you’re pregnant again you’ll forget this ever happened!” “My friend had a miscarriage and then two weeks later she was pregnant — with twins!” “Don’t worry, everything happens for a reason.”
If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: Early pregnancy loss is often a random event, and it is possible to have a successful pregnancy in the future.1 Try to shut out the noise, no matter how well-intentioned. Consider the statistics and talk to your healthcare professional. But mostly, go with your instincts and don’t rush through your grief. The next steps you take may be a little shaky, and the path ahead may not be as clear this time around, but think of all the possibility for love and joy awaiting you. All that comes with your first step — but only when you’re ready.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Early pregnancy loss. Updated January 2022. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/early-pregnancy-loss
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Repeated miscarriages. Updated January 2023. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/repeated-miscarriages
- Mayo Clinic. Pregnancy after miscarriage: what you need to know. Updated October 27, 2021. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/pregnancy-after-miscarriage/
- Dugas C, Slane VH. Miscarriage. StatPearls Publishing: 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532992/
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How much coffee can I drink while I’m pregnant? Updated October 2020. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/ask-acog/how-much-coffee-can-i-drink-while-pregnant
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Folic acid. Updated June 15, 2022. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
- Balogun OO, da Silva Lopes K, Ota E, et al. Vitamin supplementation for preventing miscarriage. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004073.pub4/full
- Louis GMB, Sapra KJ, et al. Lifestyle and pregnancy loss in a contemporary cohort of women recruited before conception: the LIFE study. Fertil Steril. 2016;106(1):180-188. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.03.009. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(16)30042-5/fulltext
- Schliep KC, Mitchell EM, Mumford SL, Radin RG, Zarek SM, Sjaarda L, Schisterman EF. Trying to conceive after an early pregnancy loss: an assessment on how long couples should wait. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;127(2):204-212. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001159. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000001159
- Georgetown University School of Nursing. Emotional healing after a miscarriage: a guide for women, partners, family, and friends. Updated March 5, 2020. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://online.nursing.georgetown.edu/blog/emotional-healing-after-miscarriage-guide-women-partners-family-friends/
- March of Dimes. Dealing with grief after the death of your baby. Updated October 2017. Accessed August 24, 2023. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/miscarriage-loss-grief/dealing-grief-after-death-your-baby