Are You Ready? Trying to Conceive after Stillbirth
While my husband and I were waiting at the hospital for our stillborn daughter, Beatrice, to be born, I turned to my husband. “I want to try again soon,” I sobbed. He nodded through his tears. I was so relieved that he, too, felt that only another baby could fill the emptiness after the death of our daughter. It was never a question of replacing Beatrice—just of fulfilling the dream we had of a little brother or sister for our other child.
Trying to conceive (TTC) after a stillbirth (defined by the medical community as any pregnancy loss between 20 weeks gestation and birth) is intensely personal, and something that each couple must decide on their own. There are many things to consider before setting off down the path toward conception and a subsequent pregnancy. What considerations come into play? This guide outlines the steps of recovery and helps decipher whether trying for another baby is right for you.
Are You Physically Prepared?
Perhaps the most important gauge of the appropriate timeline for TTC is what your doctor or midwife recommends. According to Ann Douglas and Dr. John R. Sussman, MD, authors of Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss, many doctors and midwives recommend “that you wait at least two to three menstrual cycles before you start trying to conceive again if you’ve experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or full-term delivery, and at least six months if you’ve experienced a Cesarean delivery.”
Even if you experienced an uncomplicated pregnancy and a normal delivery, your body needs time to recover from the task of growing and supporting a baby. For example, your vitamin and mineral stores become depleted during pregnancy, and it takes time to replenish them. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins to restore these reserves.
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