Women who get pregnant soon after a miscarriage are more likely to have a successful pregnancy than those who wait to conceive again.

Contrary to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines that recommend waiting at least 6 months, the comprehensive review by the University of Aberdeen found that pregnancies were most successful if conceived within 6 months of a miscarriage.

The meta-analysis, published today in Human Reproduction Update, confirms an earlier study by Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya and colleagues that found that conceptions within 6 months of a miscarriage were less likely to result in another miscarriage or a subsequent preterm birth.

Pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), low birth weight babies and stillbirths were no different in conceptions within 6 months and those after 6 months.

Dr Bhattacharya who led the meta-analysis said: “This review of all the published research to date shows categorically that conceiving within 6 months after a miscarriage is best.

“In 2010 we were the first to report that conceiving straight after miscarriage was more successful than waiting. Subsequently, more papers came out finding the same thing, which is why we did a comprehensive review of all available research.

“Contrary to WHO guidelines, recommending at least 6 months’ wait after a miscarriage, our meta-analysis of all published studies on this subject to date - shows definitively that less than 6 months is best.

“It is not clear why this is the case – one explanation might be that if somebody has had a miscarriage they might take particularly good care of themselves, be more motivated and may even be more fertile –but that is just speculation at this point.“

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association said: “This review is very important. It encourages couples who want to try to conceive soon after miscarriage, and also reassures those who worry that they may have miscarried because they conceived too soon after a previous loss.

“Above all, it confirms that that couples can choose to try again whenever they feel ready to do so.”

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