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After a miscarriage, the best time to try again for a baby may be soon

After a miscarriage, the time a woman should wait before trying for another pregnancy is controversial. Some practitioners believe that there should be no wait time; the World Health Organization encourages women to wait at least six months.

A study published online Thursday in the British Medical Journal reports that women who conceive within six months of their miscarriage have the best chance of having a healthy, successful pregnancy.

The study looked at data for more than 30,000 women who attended Scottish hospitals between 1981 and 2000. All of the women had had a miscarriage in their first pregnancy before getting pregnant again. The women were divided into five categories based on the interval between the miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy: less than six months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, and more than 24 months.

The scientists found that women who conceived again within six months were less likely to have a caesarean section, preterm delivery (defined as birth before 36 weeks) or an infant of low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs), compared with women in the other categories.

They were 66% less likely to have a miscarriage than women who waited six to 12 months to conceive, 48% less likely to have an ectopic pregnancy (in which the pregnancy occurs outside of the womb), 43% less likely to terminate their pregnancy and 70% less likely to have a stillbirth.

The longer the interval between miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy, the greater the risks were seen to be.

The authors wrote in their paper that “women who conceive within six months of an initial miscarriage have the best outcomes and lowest complication rates in their subsequent pregnancy.” Perhaps, they suggested, this is because women who become pregnant soon after a miscarriage are more motivated to stick to health-related behavior to ensure the success of their next pregnancy.

-- Jessie Schiewe

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