Trying for another baby after neonatal loss

Information and advice for parents about trying to get pregnant again after your baby died, and how you might feel during pregnancy.

When should I start trying for a baby again?

There isn’t an easy answer to this question. The decision about when to start trying again is a really personal one for you and your partner. Some parents never feel ready.

What is right for one couple might not be for another. Talk to your partner about when the time might be right for you both and be prepared that you may think differently.

Just being intimate with each other can be hard after the loss of a baby. If you’re finding it difficult, your GP or practice nurse may be able to offer some advice.

Being physically ready

Make sure your body has had time to recover physically from your previous pregnancy and birth. Whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section, your body will be adjusting for at least 6 weeks.

Parents who have not lost a baby are advised to wait for at least 6 months to a year before trying again.

We recommend speaking to an obstetric doctor, who specialises in women's health and will be the best person to advise you.

Waiting for answers about why your baby died

Results from any tests or a post-mortem may reveal a specific problem that could affect future pregnancies. Waiting for these results will give you a clearer picture and you may be able to have treatment before/after you get pregnant again.

At around 6 weeks after the birth of your baby you should have a follow-up appointment with your GP to check your physical and mental health. At this appointment, you can ask questions about any plans you might have to try again, is you feel comfortable doing so.

There may be some other factors that might affect when you start trying again, for example your age or general health. If you do decide to start trying again, there are lots of things you can do to get in the best possible health.

Try our Planning for Pregnancy tool to find out what changes you could make.

Fertility

Your first period after your baby was born will come at around 5 to 6 weeks. However, it is normal to bleed after the birth of a baby. It is referred to as “lochia”.

Lochia starts after birth, is heavy and red for 3-5 days and is brown or pink and less heavy for up to 10 days. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re bleeding is your period or lochia.

Ovulation will happen around 2 weeks before your period, so it is possible to get pregnant very soon after the birth of your baby. However, aside from any emotional trauma you may be going through, we advise you wait until any physical injuries have healed and your cervix has closed again before having sex with your partner. If you have sex before you have fully healed, you may be at a greater risk of infection.

Infertility

If you’ve been trying again for a year and haven’t got pregnant, make an appointment to see your GP. You should see them sooner if:

  • you are 36 or over
  • you have a known condition which affects fertility, like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • your partner has a known fertility issue
  • your periods are irregular, or you aren’t having periods.

Find out more about fertility.

Fertility treatment

If you conceived your baby previously through IVF or other fertility treatment, you may be worried about trying again, or that you won’t qualify for further NHS treatment. Visit the NHS website for more information about fertility treatment.

Medication for mental health

If you’re taking medication for depression, it is very important to speak to your doctor before trying to get pregnant again. Some medications can be harmful during pregnancy, so you may need to look at other treatment options.

Alternatively, if you’re not receiving treatment for your mental health but think you might need extra support, your doctor can suggest what might be best for you now and during any future pregnancies.

Read about pregnancy after a neonatal death here

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Sources

  1. NHS. When will my periods start again after pregnancy? http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/943.aspx?CategoryID=60&SubCategoryID=181 Page last reviewed: 28/03/2018 Next review due: 28/03/2021
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Last reviewed on October 4th, 2018. Next review date October 4th, 2021.

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