Wednesday, 11 August 2010

No Need to Delay Getting Pregnant Soon After Miscarriage, Study Says

Having a miscarriage can be emotionally devastating -- perhaps even more so for women who don't already have children -- and many doctors recommend taking a break before trying to conceive again.

However, a new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests getting pregnant again quickly -- within six months of an initial miscarriage -- may improve a woman's odds of having a healthy pregnancy.

About 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage before 24 weeks, and women who have one miscarriage are at an increased risk not only of miscarrying again, but also of having complications in a subsequent pregnancy.

But doctors and medical organizations differ on how long a woman should wait before conceiving again. The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least six months, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists simply recommends allowing enough time for physical and emotional healing.

Delaying conception can be problematic: Women who suffer miscarriages tend to be older and therefore already may have a more difficult time conceiving. After the age of 40, women have a 30 percent chance of miscarrying; the risk rises to 50 percent after the age of 45.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen reviewed data from more than 30,000 women who visited hospitals in Scotland between 1981 and 2000. They looked specifically at women who had suffered miscarriages in their first pregnancies, then got pregnant again.

They found that women who had become pregnant within six months of losing their first pregnancies were less likely to suffer a second miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy than women who became pregnant six to 12 months after the miscarriage. The women who got pregnant more quickly also were less likely to need to deliver by Cesarean section, deliver prematurely or have low birth weight babies.

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