Even as you and your partner cope with the heartache of a miscarriage, it’s natural to think about trying again. You may debate whether to try right away or wait for several months. You may wonder whether there’s an optimal time to conceive after a miscarriage.
Here, we explain how your body recovers from an early pregnancy loss and how soon you can expect to ovulate. We also unpack the latest science on when you should try to conceive to have a better shot at a healthy pregnancy.
How long does a miscarriage take?
The answer depends on how far along you were, and how you and your doctor decided to manage the miscarriage. With a pregnancy loss before 12 weeks gestation, your doctor will likely recommend one of three miscarriage treatments: observation, medical treatment, or surgical treatment (1).
Observation is the norm in many cases, but you may feel better emotionally by putting the miscarriage behind you as soon as possible. Then you might opt for dilation and curettage (D&C), an out-patient surgical procedure to remove the pregnancy (2).
Without medical intervention, expect to bleed for about 2 weeks as the pregnancy passes out of your uterus (1). Sometimes this process may take 3-4 weeks, which may be a lingering reminder of your loss and one reason some women opt for medical management to help their recovery.
When will I ovulate after a miscarriage?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), ovulation can happen as soon as two weeks after an early pregnancy loss (3). But your cycle may take longer to adjust with a later miscarriage; naturally, the exact timing varies from person to person.
Although ACOG notes there’s no “medical reason to wait to begin trying again,” the group says you may want to wait until you’ve had a menstrual period. Knowing the date of your period makes it easier to calculate the due date when you do become pregnant again (3).
How can I tell I’m ovulating again after a miscarriage?
If you’ve been tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) daily, you can look for a slight temperature shift (generally 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit). The rise in temperature is a sign of ovulation. If you’re not tracking your BBT or other fertility cues like cervical mucus, start here to learn about how Fertility Awareness-based Methods can help you detect ovulation.
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Can we start trying right away after a miscarriage?
Generally yes. As long as your doctor has given you the go-ahead, recent research published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology showed trying to conceive soon after an early pregnancy loss was effective for most women (4).
The research team followed 1,083 women, the majority of whom had miscarried once or twice, before 20 weeks with almost no complications (4). They discovered the women who tried to conceive soon after miscarrying (0-3 months) were much more likely to get pregnant and give birth.
Almost 70% of the women who attempted within 3 months of a miscarriage got pregnant, and 53.2% had a live birth (4). Among the women who waited, just over half got pregnant, and 36.1% had a live birth.
Trying to explain why this might be the case, the team noted that an early pregnancy loss might make the uterus more receptive to pregnancy (4).
What about the idea my body is depleted after a miscarriage?
The researchers also pointed out that an early pregnancy loss doesn’t sap your body of folate and vital nutrients the way childbirth can (4). They noted that trying to conceive soon after a miscarriage didn’t mean a riskier subsequent pregnancy among the women they studied. The team found no difference in complications between women who postponed trying compared to those who didn’t.
I had one miscarriage, will I have another?
It’s understandable to worry that one miscarriage will lead to more pregnancy losses. But take heart: at least 85% of women who miscarried once went on to have a successful subsequent pregnancy (5). Even after 2 or 3 losses, 75% of women were able to have a baby (5).
Of course, you’ll want to give yourself time to grieve your loss. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to your feelings, but it may help to know that countless others have been through this too. Read personal stories of miscarriage here for Lorry's story and here for Cait's story.
You may discover your body is ready for another pregnancy — but your emotions need to play catch-up too. Or you might find it healing to try again quickly. One study found that a speedy new pregnancy and a healthy delivery helped to ease some couples' grief following a pregnancy loss (6).