How long should women wait after a miscarriage before trying again to become pregnant? Not as long as most may think, according to a new study from Scotland's University of Aberdeen. Published August 5, 2010, in an online edition of the British Medical Journal, the study reviewed the data of over 30,000 women who attended Scottish hospitals between 1981 and 2000. Participants all had experienced a miscarriage in their first pregnancy, but had also gone on to have another pregnancy.
Researchers found that women who conceived within six months of a miscarriage were less likely to miscarry again and were less likely to experience ectopic pregnancy compared to women who got pregnant between six and 12 months after their initial miscarriage. Women who conceived within six months were also less likely to deliver prematurely or have low birth weight babies, and were less likely to deliver by Cesarean section.
Researchers aren't sure why a shorter wait time appears to beneficial, but says this association could not explained by social and personal factors or by other problems in pregnancy including smoking.
With these findings, the study's authors say that current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommending that women who experience a miscarriage should wait at least six months before getting pregnant again may need to be reviewed.
But they also add that in individual women, delaying another try at pregnancy may still be appropriate. According to researchers, women who experience infection after a miscarriage, especially, should seek medical advice about how best to protect their health—and how to prepare for future pregnancies.