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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Trying to Conceive Soon After a Pregnancy Loss May Increase Chances of Live Birth

Couples who attempt to conceive within 3 months after losing an early pregnancy, defined as less than 20 weeks gestation, have the same chances, if not greater, of achieving a live birth than those who wait for 3 months or more, according to an NIH study.

The finding, published Jan. 11 in Obstetrics & Gynecology, questions traditional advice that couples should wait at least 3 months after a loss before attempting a new pregnancy. The World Health Organization, for example, recommends waiting a minimum of 6 months between a pregnancy loss and a subsequent attempt.

“Couples often seek counseling on how long they should wait until attempting to conceive again,” said Dr. Enrique Schisterman, chief of NICHD’s Epidemiology Branch and senior author of the study. “Our data suggest that women who try for a new pregnancy within 3 months can conceive as quickly, if not quicker, than women who wait for 3 months or more.”

Previous studies of pregnancy spacing have focused on when women should become pregnant after experiencing a loss, but few have addressed the question of when couples should start trying to conceive.

“While we found no physiological reason for delaying attempts at conception following a pregnancy loss, couples may need time to heal emotionally before they try again,” said Dr. Karen Schliep, a postdoctoral fellow in the NICHD Epidemiology Branch at the time of the study and primary author of the study. “For those who are ready, our findings suggest that conventional recommendations for waiting at least 3 months after a loss may be unwarranted.”

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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