When I miscarried my son in early pregnancy last year, I had no idea how much it would affect my future pregnancies. After I miscarried for the first time (and even the second time), I knew that I would be pregnant again. I knew that this wasn't the end of our journey to grow our family. I had every intention to have a successful pregnancy after miscarriage. What I didn't know – what too expect with my pregnancy after miscarriage.
I had no idea how pregnancy after miscarriage would be different from the others.
There was no way to understand how deeply I was affected by my loss until I got pregnant again.
The good news is that pregnancy after miscarriage is SO possible. Not only is it possible to have a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage but it's possible to have a happy pregnancy after miscarriage.
The less-good news is that it's so much harder than I though it would be.
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Pregnancy After Miscarriage: The Facts
Sometimes your mind might take off with thoughts that you never imagined you would have. These thoughts don't stem from knowledge or fact. Instead, they grow out of fear and doubt. Let's break down the facts. Let's talk about reality. I want you to know the truth.
Let's start with some common questions:
Is it safe to get pregnant immediately after miscarriage?
Everyone is going to tell you when you should get pregnant after miscarriage. Everyone.
Some people will tell you “not to rush” and “let yourself heal”. Ok, well, that's bull. Heal? Ok, so when should I expect that to happen? Am I going to heal completely from this? Should I wait around for that to happen? I think not. If you feel ready to try again, then you're ready.
You can ovulate as early as two weeks after you miscarry. Your doctor might recommend to wait one, two, or even three months after miscarriage before you should start trying again.
My recommendation to you is to ask your doctor why you should wait. When you understand the reasons why your doctor is recommending a certain time frame between pregnancies, you might be able to make a decision as to when you and your partner might start trying again.
My personal experience? I miscarried at 13 weeks and waited two cycles before trying again. I got pregnant right away and miscarried for a second time. After my second miscarriage I decided that I did not want to wait at all this time. I ended up getting pregnant two weeks after that miscarriage and am currently 24 weeks into that pregnancy as I write this post.
Does that help? I thought it might.
Why did this happen? What's wrong with me?
Before the 20th week, pregnancy loss happens in 1 in four pregnancies. Many miscarriages happen because the fetus isn't developing normally and your body recognizes that.
About 50% of miscarriages are not due to anything that you've done or anything that is “wrong with you” but instead are simply due to problems with this baby's chromosomes.
Other reasons you may have miscarried can be due to your chronic illness such as poorly controlled diabetes or thyroid disease.
All of the other reasons for babies lost? We'll never know. Likely, the baby wasn't growing as it should in early pregnancy, the placenta wasn't doing a sufficient job after 12 weeks, or it was a freak accident in later pregnancy.
If you believed that you were doing everything that you could do in order to have a healthy pregnancy, the truth is that there is probably nothing that you could have done differently to save your baby's life. It. Is. Not. Your. Fault.
Am I going to miscarry again?
Listen, I understand the fear that this is going to be a recurrent problem. I miscarried two pregnancies in a row and thought the sky was falling.
The reality, though, is that most women who miscarry will go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy afterwards. Only one percent of women have recurrent miscarriages.
Try your best to believe that this pregnancy is different and that it will result in a sweet baby to hold and love in the end.
What can I do to prevent recurrent miscarriage?
All you can ever do to improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy is to make healthy choices for your body and your baby.
- Take a prenatal vitamin
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs
- Continue to engage in mild exercise
- Stay out of hot baths or Jacuzzis
- Drink lots of water
Just remember, miscarriage is not your fault. Even if you do everything right, sometimes your baby just wasn't growing as it should have despite your effort in being the best mother you could be.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage: What To Expect
The emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy after miscarriage is a beast. Having a miscarriage in your history can make you feel isolated, misunderstood, and even judged. Being pregnant after miscarriage can make you feel an even more intense river of emotions. You may feel a blend of anticipation and heartbreak, excitement and fear, hope and disbelief.
Here are the things that are totally expected during pregnancy after miscarriage:
Trying To Conceive Was Emotionally Taxing
Getting pregnant prior to ever having a miscarriage is mostly full of hope and excitement. Getting pregnant after miscarriage is difficult for a multitude of reasons.
You might have wondered if you were physically or emotionally ready for another pregnancy. It might have been difficult because “trying to get pregnant” sometimes felt like “trying to replace the baby you lost”.
These feelings are normal. You're not a bad mother for feeling them. You are feeling exactly what you are supposed to be feeling in these moments and it is O.K.
The Excitement Of A Positive Pregnancy Test Might Be Tainted
When I found out that I was pregnant after miscarriage, I was ecstatic. I was overwhelmed with joy, excitement and optimism. I put together a sweet little boxed gift to give to my husband to announce our pregnancy. I was smiling, I was happy, and I couldn't wait to tell him that we are going to have a baby!
When my husband opened the box, we got excited together until something came out of my mouth that I never expected. Within the conversation that we had, I found myself saying things along the lines of “if this one lasts” and “but it's still early, so we will see”.
Sad, but true.
I never had to say things like that with pregnancies prior to miscarriage.
It's O.K. and it's normal to feel this way.
The Trauma of Your Miscarriage Will Rear It's Head Every Time You Pee
As I write this post I am now 24 weeks pregnant and I can tell you as a matter of fact that since my miscarriage last year, I have not gone to the bathroom once without checking the toilet paper for blood and glancing in the toilet for red drops in the water.
Going to the bathroom in the dark in the middle of the night and sleepily keeping my eyes closed throughout the process is not a reality anymore. Having a miscarriage is traumatizing and this is the result.
No matter how far into my pregnancy I get, I will not be able to use the bathroom without the flashback of what I found on the toilet paper at 13 weeks with my last pregnancy.
I'd be willing to bet that you feel the same way if you are pregnant again after miscarriage. I won't tell you that it gets easier and I can't tell you when this feeling will go away. All I can tell you is that you're not alone.
You'll Google Too Much
Even if you've had prior pregnancies with good outcomes, you will feel as if you suddenly know nothing about pregnancy and what is normal. You'll google search normal early pregnancy symptoms, what to avoid in early pregnancy, is spotting in the first trimester of pregnancy normal, and about a million other phrases that you never seemed to consider before your pregnancy loss.
Although I know that I will never successfully convince you to stop googling (because I'm just like you, believe me), I do hope to encourage you to take what you read with a grain of salt. The people on the internet are not you. Their pregnancies are not yours. Your situation is different and their “normal” is not your “normal”.
Take your pregnancy one day at a time and try to educate yourself with information from good sources and from people that you trust. Panicking after reading a terrifying prognosis on the internet is never a good idea.
You'll Worry About Pregnancy Symptoms
There are many normal symptoms in pregnancy that may also be associated with early miscarriage.
Every tiny spot of blood, every mild “menstrual-like ” cramp, and every possible symptom that you might be feeling will trigger something in you that says “is this a sign of miscarriage?”.
Your miscarriage was a shock. It came out of nowhere. So this time you feel like you want to catch it somehow or expect it before it comes. You're trying to protect yourself by preparing for the worst.
I know what you're feeling, and I know how easy it can be to go down the rabbit hole with every ache and pain but try your best to rest your mind. There's no way to know that it's going to happen before it does. Worrying won't get you anywhere.
You'll Worry About Lack of Pregnancy Symptoms
While some women may be full of symptoms in early pregnancy, you may be feeling nothing at all. This, of course, is perfectly normal! Everyone experiences pregnancy in their own way. Some women can tell that they are pregnant right away and others feel totally normal for weeks or even months into their pregnancies.
Suddenly, though, now that you have experienced loss, you hope and pray for pregnancy symptoms so that you can have some reassurance that things are changing the way that they are supposed to.
Even if you start to feel all of the normal pregnancy symptoms that you expected to feel, the second they start to subside, you'll fear that the loss of symptoms is an indication of a loss of pregnancy.
Understandable, yes, but unnecessary. You do not have to fear lack of symptoms. Please, give yourself a break and allow your body to do what it's job without constantly analyzing.
You'll Start To Obsess Over Your Baby's Progress
Remember when I talked about googling everything? Don't be surprised when you find yourself googling “how soon can you feel your baby move in pregnancy?” and then expecting to feel your baby's movements at the earliest possible moment. And if you don't? You'll obsess over why you're not feeling them yet and when they might start showing up.
The same goes for every bit of progress that you expect your baby to be making. Movements, growth, and everything in between, you're going to constantly wonder if you and your baby are on track.
Because of this obsession, the first trimester will be particularly difficult for you. You're going to feel desperate for the comforts of the second trimester and then the reassurance from feeling your baby move. Until these milestones, you're not going to be comfortable in your pregnancy. This is expected. Hang tight. It will get easier.
You Won't Stop Worrying When You Expect To
All the milestones that you meet, you'd think that the worrying would subside. Unfortunately, even though you thought that you'd be fine once this-or-that happens, you might not be. You might have fear of loss far longer than you ever expected to.
I thought that as soon as I passed the gestation which I lost my previous pregnancy, I would feel better that it wouldn't happen again. The same thing happened with every milestone that was supposed to make me feel more confident. Second trimester, feeling the baby move, reaching 20 weeks, even reaching viability. These things felt amazing, yes, but it didn't diminish the fear like I thought it might.
You'll Question Everything You Do or Did During Your Last Pregnancy
Most likely, you never got answers as to why you lost your baby. Most miscarriages have no rhyme or reason to them no matter how far we dig for answers.
Because of this, being pregnant after a loss creates more questions than you ever thought you had. What did I do wrong? What can I do differently?
Being pregnant this time around, I have been painfully conscious of everything I eat, the position I sit/lie in, everything that I eat and even everything else that I put into or onto my body during my pregnancy.
What did I do last time? Could that have caused my baby to die? What can I do this time to ensure that this baby has the best chance?
I asked these questions hundreds of times even before I heard my baby's first heartbeat. Trying to do things differently this time began immediately after I got my first positive pregnancy test.
Does it make sense? Maybe not. Will it help save this baby from the same fate? I'll never know.
But I think that this reaction is normal. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that every woman whose lost a baby in utero goes through the same thing after getting pregnant again after miscarriage.
Being Monitored Causes Anxiety
Mo matter how reassured you've been by the progress of your pregnancy, by the kicks you've been feeling, or the movements you've been tracking, you might get anxious any time your nurse or provider attempts to find your baby's heartbeat.
Whether it's your doctor at a clinic appointment or a labor and delivery nurse in the hospital, those few seconds that it takes for them to track your baby's rhythmic heart cause your own heart to race a little bit every time.
Although in my heart, I know that everything is fine, my mind starts to run away with terrible thoughts as soon as the ultrasound gel hits my skin – even if I just felt the baby move five minutes ago.
You Might Still Experience Jealousy
You're not alone. Not even close. But when you see a pregnant woman cradling her 8-month-pregnant belly, you may still feel like you're the only the one in the world that has experienced the loss that you've endured. You'll see these pregnant women as somehow better than you, somehow happier, or more at peace.
It's hard to admit, but even being pregnant, seeing other pregnant women who have never experienced loss can sometimes trigger envy in me. Envy for their innocence, for their ignorance. I wish I had that blissful ignorance again, not knowing what it's like to lose a child.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage: Overcoming Fear
Talking about your experience with loss is not an easy feat. There is not much more difficult to get comfortable talking about than a mother's devastation. It's uncomfortable, it's painful, and it's unfairly embarrassing.
Regardless of those truths, another truth is that the more you talk about it, the less scary it will be. Sharing your story and your feelings with people that may have similar stories to you or similar experiences can be healing and give you strength.
The path to overcoming fear includes talking about your fear and not bottling it up. Here's how:
Join a Support Group
I don't even mean officially. You don't have to go around searching for an organized group of people to connect with in order to be in a “support group”. After miscarrying, I could not believe how many people opened up to me about their own experiences with miscarriage. I was blown away with how many people came forward with advice and empathy.
No matter how you go about finding your “group”, support is your goal. Finding people that have been through what you're going through is comforting, especially if they have had healthy pregnancies post miscarriage.
Talk To Your Doctor
Believe it or not, your doctor has seen this time and time again. Your doctor has experienced loss with their patients, has seen them through their grief and then walked them through successful pregnancies after miscarriages.
Take advantage of their experience and their knowledge by asking them questions. Take your time with them. Tell them what you're worried about and express your feelings to them to help them understand what they can do to help you.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage: You Can Be Happy
The truth is, the grief of losing a baby doesn't just go away. When you get pregnant after miscarriage, you will still feel the heartbreak that you've been feeling every time you think about who that child might have been.
The good news is that you can still find happiness through the grief in this pregnancy.
This pregnancy can be full of joy and excitement just like you prayed for!
Ever how hard it is to believe, the love and joy that you can experience in your pregnancy after loss can be full and abundant just like you've always wanted.
These are some ways that you can choose happiness in your pregnancy after miscarriage:
Bond With This Baby
This is not the time for keeping your guard up. I know it's hard. I know that you want to protect yourself from the hurt that you remember so clearly. Break through this fear and allow yourself to connect with this baby and not hold a grudge against this life for the loss of another.
No matter how many losses you've had in the past, it doesn't make the life within you any less alive. It doesn't make this baby any less real. Your baby's needs are the same as any other's. They need your love and care in every difficult movement.
Take your time when you find out that you're pregnant to have all of the emotions. Experience your fear, your hesitance, and any other pressing feelings that you might have but give yourself a time limit. Don't allow yourself to dwell on the negative emotions associated with pregnancy after miscarriage.
Once you've given yourself the time that you need to mourn the difficult parts of pregnancy after miscarriage, give yourself a special day. Write a letter to yourself. Write a letter to the baby you lost. And write a letter to your new baby. Say a prayer for this pregnancy and start anew on this special day by dedicating yourself to this new pregnancy.
Journal Everything During Your Pregnancy After Loss
I know what you might be thinking. “I don't want to waste my time starting a journal that will end in tragedy again”. Don't let this thought take over your happiness! When I was pregnant with the child that I lost, I had started a journal. How was I supposed to know that the pregnancy would end so soon? Having the journal was hard at first. Looking back on the hopeful pages only to see an abrupt end in entries was heart-wrenching.
What would be more heart-wrenching? Not having the memories written down to look back on. To have an empty keep-sake box. To have nothing left of this baby that I already miss so deeply. All of this matters.
But what matters even more?
That this pregnancy is different. This baby is real. There is a new life within your womb and you deserve to enjoy every moment. You deserve to revel in every excited thought and every happy day dream. Write it all down and don't let grief get in the way of your hope for the future.
Start A Pregnancy Keep-Sake Box
I mentioned a keep-sake box a moment ago. I have a keep sake box for each of my pregnancies.
I keep my positive pregnancies tests, my journals, footprints, first onesies, and all other sentimental items within these boxes to look back on and remember the feelings and the strong emotions associated with each item.
Celebrate Every Little Pregnancy Milestone
Celebrate all of the moments in your pregnancy that you feel like “we made it”. You don't have to wait until the birth of your baby to celebrate the life inside of you. Celebrate by checking the pregnancy app on your phone and keeping track of your baby's big steps towards life outside the womb.
Don't Be Afraid To Pray For This Baby Too
You prayed for the baby you lost. You asked for a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy. For reasons you may never fully understand, your prayers were not answered the way that you hoped that they would be.
Don't let that stop you from praying whole-heartedly for this baby to be healthy and for this pregnancy to be full term.
The loss of one child should not allow you to lose hope for another. The fate of the baby you lost has nothing to do with the plan that God has for this baby. There is no need to feel guilty asking with every ounce of strength that you have for God to bless this pregnancy.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Mama, you have suffered enough. Don't less this pregnancy be harder than it needs to be. Allow yourself to experience the joy you deserve.
Although your heart aches, your body is doing something incredible. It is carrying new life. Your body is growing a body, a heart, and a mind that you will love for the rest of your life. Not matter what you've been through in your past, the promise of the future that this pregnancy holds is worth holding on to.
Accept this pregnancy. Accept your body. Know that this time is different. Understand that you can have a beautiful, happy and healthy baby. Keep your faith, mama. Never stop praying for what your heart wants.
You have no idea what is in store for you and I am excited to find out with you!
Leave a comment below to tell your pregnancy after loss story! I'm here for you and would love to hear about your experience.
What To Read Next:
- How To Care For Your Heart After Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- First Trimester Bleeding – Why It Happens and What It Means
- 26 Early Signs Of Pregnancy Before Your Missed Period
- What To Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant
- Your Second Trimester To-Do List: What To Get Done Between 14 and 27 Weeks