DEC 19, 2017 3:18 PM PST

Six-Month Wait After Miscarriage May Not be Necessary


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Women who experience miscarriage may not have to delay trying for another half a year. The results of the study aggregate refutes the current guidelines specified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, a wait of six months after a miscarriage is suggested to be beneficial for the next pregnancy. But, as it turns out, this recommendation appears to be based on one study conducted in Latin America. Upon further analysis, researchers found that this singular study did not differentiate between types of miscarriages, nor did it examine other controls in detail.

To investigate whether the recommendation should be updated, researchers from the University of Aberdeen pooled together data from many studies on this topic. In particular, they collected and analyzed data for those who waited to conceive within 6 months of miscarrying versus those who waited more than 6 months.

With the data aggregate, the researchers found that women who conceived before the 6-month recommended delay did not have an increased risk for complications. Complications were defined as losing the pregnancy, either through a second miscarriage or stillbirth, having a premature birth, low birth weight, or preeclampsia.

"Women who get pregnant after less than six months between the pregnancy and the loss should not be worried about adverse pregnancy outcomes, and if nothing else actually they should be encouraged," said Enrique Schisterman, a senior investigator in epidemiology at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 

In fact, the research showed that the risk of some complications, such as a second miscarriage or preterm birth, may actually be lower when the women conceived within 6 months.

The researcher hypothesize that, unlike conceiving after a full-term pregnancy, a miscarriage does not seem to deplete the woman’s body of folate – an important vitamin for healthy pregnancies. They also suggest weighing the risks of waiting and conceiving at an older age, a well-known risk factor for pregnancy complications.

"There is now ample evidence to suggest that delaying a pregnancy following a miscarriage is not beneficial and unless there are specific reasons for delay couples should be advised to try for another pregnancy as soon as they feel ready," Bhattacharya and her colleagues wrote.

Additional source: Live Science

About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at
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