Quick Study: Short interval between miscarriage and new pregnancy may have merit
Timing pregnancy after a miscarriage
THE QUESTION Does the chance of having a successful pregnancy after a miscarriage depend on when you try again?
THIS STUDY analyzed data on 30,937 women, most in their mid-20s, who became pregnant after miscarrying during their first pregnancy. About 41 percent were pregnant again within six months of the miscarriage, 25 percent six to 12 months later, 10 percent after 12 to 18 months, 6 percent 18 to 24 months later and 18 percent after 24 months. Women who conceived again within six months had the best outcomes and fewest complications. They were 34 percent less likely to have another miscarriage, 52 percent less likely to have an ectopic pregnancy and slightly less likely to have a baby born prematurely, weighing less than normal or delivered by Caesarean section than were women who conceived again six to 12 months after a miscarriage. They were more apt, though, to have induced labor. Women who did not conceive again for more than two years had the highest risks, including nearly double the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Women who have a miscarriage, which is usually defined in the United States as the loss of a pregnancy from a natural cause before the 20th week. Often the cause is unknown and not preventable. In many cases, a miscarriage happens before a woman realizes she is pregnant.
CAVEATS The study, conducted in Scotland, included women who had miscarried before the 24th week of pregnancy, rather than the 20th. It did not include women who were carrying more than one baby. Women who took longer to become pregnant again may have had fertility problems that affected their pregnancy outcome. Only minimal data, if any, were available on other factors that might have affected the women's pregnancies, such as smoking and weight.
FIND THIS STUDY Aug. 5 online issue of BMJ.
-- Linda Searing
The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. Nonetheless, conclusive evidence about a treatment's effectiveness is rarely found in a single study. Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.