Pregnancy after miscarriage

If you’re expecting again after a miscarriage, you’re probably feeling a whirl of emotions. Read our guide to help support you through the next few months

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  • Happy one minute, pure dread the next – it’s completely normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions because you’re expecting again, and worrying for fear of history repeating itself. You’re not alone. “However you’re feeling, it’s important to cope with your emotions in a way that feels right for you,” says Barbara Hepworth-Jones, from The Miscarriage Association.

    “While one woman might want to talk openly about her feelings during her pregnancy, another may want to put the miscarriage behind her,” she says. Whatever stage you’re at, here’s some advice that will help.

  • Deal with the past

    Although it may be hard, try and treat this pregnancy as a new experience. “It’s natural to reflect on the past so thinking about the baby that could have been is inevitable,” says Barbara. You’ll probably (and understandably) feel anxious through most of your pregnancy but as you reach each milestone, like hearing the baby’s heartbeat or feeling him move, you’ll hopefully become a bit more reassured.

    Lots of women’s miscarriages aren’t explained but if you’ve been given a reason, which has been resolved, try and focus on this to help you come to terms with the fact it’s very unlikely to happen again. “Some women find reading up on why they miscarried, or on miscarriage in general if they don’t know why, really helpful,” says Barbara.

    “You might also find it easier to heal if you acknowledge the stage at which you lost your last baby, as well as his future anniversaries, as opposed to pushing it to the back of your mind,” adds our midwife Anne Richley.

  • Share your news

    Traditionally, most women wait until they’re 12 weeks pregnant to make an announcement, but consider whether you want to stick to this. “It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation,” says Anne. “Waiting until 12 weeks means that the risk of a miscarriage is greatly reduced, but the flip side is if you share your news earlier you can get support early on if you need it.” Some women will want to wait until after the date they miscarried before telling others, but ultimately it’s up to you. Only share your news when you feel ready to.

  • Get support

    You can arrange to see your midwife in between your normal appointments, but you have to decide whether extra scans are beneficial. “Too many can make you more anxious, as a scan can only give you a snapshot of your baby on that day but it can’t tell you how he’ll be tomorrow or next week so you may end up wanting more and more,” says Anne. That said, some of you might find the odd extra scan helps to reassure, so have a think about what will put you most at ease.

    Talking to others who’ve been through a similar situation may help too. Online forums (such as ours) are a good way to meet others who understand what you’re going through and The Miscarriage Association has a selection of downloadable leaflets packed with useful advice.

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  • Involve your partner

    “It’s easy to forget how your partner is feeling, but remember he suffered a loss too, so try and support each other,” says Barbara Hepworth-Jones. But bear in mind it could be hard for him to open up. “Some men worry that sharing their feelings with a pregnant partner could cause her even more distress,” she says. It could even be that he’s happier talking about it with someone else.

    “If you’re finding that one of you really wants to talk about the pregnancy, whereas the other just wants to get through it, acknowledge your differences before it turns into a bigger problem,” advises Barbara.

    “Ask your partner to come along to all your appointments and scans too,” adds Anne. “Especially if you’re finding it hard to revisit places that you associate with the previous miscarriage.”

  • Take it one day at a time

    Although it’s easier said than done, mastering this will make things easier for you. “Try and focus on getting through the day without thinking too much about the long term until you’re ready,” says Barbara.

    It’s best to start with individual days before looking ahead in weeks and months, and eventually the birth of your baby and beyond.

    “Be kind to yourself and accept that it’s fine not to feel happy all the time,” says Barbara. Some women will find that a good cry now and then relieves a lot of tension.

    Relaxation can help you get through on a day-by-day basis too. “For some women this could be talking to their unborn baby, for others it might be taking their mind off it with a nice bubble bath or a trip out somewhere,” adds Barbara.

  • Don’t fear the worst

    If you do experience some bleeding or pain, try not to automatically panic. Get checked out to be on the safe side.

    “Your GP may refer you to an early pregnancy assessment unit,” says Barbara. “This is equipped to deal with early pregnancy problems quickly and efficiently, so rest assured that help is at hand if you need it.”

    Miscarriage: the facts

    • Don’t feel alone – around 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
    • Most miscarriages happen because of a genetic mistake – the foetus isn’t capable of developing, so your body lets nature take its course by ending the pregnancy.
    • Guidelines suggest waiting six months after a miscarriage before trying again, but a recent study has revealed it might not be necessary to wait this long. Make an appointment to see your GP for advice.
    • Some miscarriages can happen without any symptoms of bleeding or pain and are first picked up at a scan.
    • Most women aren’t offered an investigation into why they’ve miscarried until after they’ve experienced three.
  • One mum’s story…

    “I miscarried twins within a week of each other when I was eight weeks pregnant and it was devastating. When I conceived again I was thrilled, but I was terrified that history would repeat itself so every little ache, pain and twinge sent me into a wild panic.

    I was constantly going to see my GP and kept checking things on my phone to try and put my mind at ease. But looking online was making me worse and after going into complete meltdown when I thought I’d harmed the baby because I’d stroked our cat, who’d just had a chemical treatment for fleas, my husband took my phone away.

    I was reluctant to buy anything for the baby and when we were given a pram when I was 20 weeks I couldn’t bear to have it in the house. Everyone kept telling me that I wouldn’t miscarry again, but I just kept thinking, ‘How can they be sure?’

    When Stanley finally arrived, the relief was overwhelming and I couldn’t believe I’d made it through the nine months. It’s easy to see in hindsight that I should have relaxed more but at the time it was impossible. It’s definitely brought me and my husband Ed closer together and we’ll never forget the twins we lost and have planted two trees in their memory. But Stanley’s living proof that despite everything you can go on to have a healthy baby after a miscarriage.”

    Abby Pennick, 31, from York, mum to Stanley, 6 months