Pregnancy after miscarriage
With one in four pregnancies ending in a miscarriage, many New Zealand men and women go through the grief of losing an unborn baby. Some positive news, however, comes from new Scottish research, which reveals there’s no need to wait for six months before trying to conceive after a miscarriage.
Miscarriage affects many of us
There are many reasons for miscarriage , and it’s so common that a quarter of New Zealand pregnancies results in the loss of an unborn child. “One in every four pregnancies ends in a loss, and many of those are in the first trimester,” says Rachel Stanfield-Porter, founder of the Bonnie Babes foundation.
Men and women deal with grief differently
Males and females handle miscarriage differently, with women often needing to find someone to speak with. “Men tend to go into themselves and shut down - they often work longer hours, spend time with mates or in the garage and they don't communicate well with their partner,” says Rachel. “Most women just want to let it out, cry and talk about it. Men and women are different in everyday life and when it comes to grieving the gender differences often become more apparent.”
Friends and family can help
While you and your partner are mourning the loss of your unborn bub, those closest to you can help process your grief. “Friends can help enormously by just acknowledging the baby as you would do for any other member of the family who passes away,” advises Rachel. “Send a card or flowers. Lend an ear and be there to listen. Suggest they plant a tree in the garden to remember their little one. Ask what the baby’s name was and remember the anniversary of the baby.”
Ready to try again
When you’re ready to try to conceive again, positive news comes from Scottish researchers, who found women who have had a miscarriage do not need to wait six months before trying to get pregnant again. A study by the University of Aberdeen of 30 000 women found that conceiving within six months of a miscarriage offered the best chance for a healthy pregnancy, countering current WHO guidelines that women should wait at least six months before trying again.
If you’re 35 and over
Although health experts advise women to wait three months to come to terms with the loss of a baby and for their menstrual cycle to re-establish itself, the study’s author claims delaying more than six months may actually hamper some women’s chances of becoming pregnant. “Women wanting to become pregnant soon after a miscarriage should not be discouraged,” says Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, lecturer in obstetric epidemiology. “If you're already over 35, I would definitely advise to try again within six months, as age is more of a risk than the interval between pregnancies.”
The World Health Organisation recommends that for the health of the mother and the baby, wait at least six months before trying to become pregnant again.
This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best family health resource. Sources include BBC News.