NCT response: BMJ study on miscarriage

Released on: 20 July 2011

A new study published today by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that women don’t need to delay getting pregnant after miscarriage and that women who conceive within six months of an initial miscarriage have the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy with the lowest complication rates.

Lead author, Sohinee Bhattacharya from University of Aberdeen, says that current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommending that women who experience a miscarriage should wait at least six months before getting pregnant again may need to be reviewed. The researchers reviewed the data of over 30,000 women who attended Scottish hospitals between 1981 and 2000.

The results found that women who conceived again within six months were less likely to have another miscarriage, termination of pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy compared to women who got pregnant between six and 12 months after their initial miscarriage. The women who conceived within six months were also less likely to experience a caesarean section, deliver prematurely or have low birth weight babies.

Mary Newburn, Head of Research & Information, NCT, said:
 
“The findings of this new study are interesting and important. As the authors say, in developed countries like the UK, the age at which women have children has been increasing year on year. As a result, the balance of risks and benefits in relation to the timing of a pregnancy after a miscarriage is very likely to be different from the balance for women in developing countries, who are generally younger, have larger families and are less well nourished.

Sub-fertility and infertility increases with age, so it will be very reassuring to many women planning a pregnancy in their thirties or forties to know that if they miscarry they do not need to wait before conceiving again.”