Pregnancy after a miscarriage

If you’ve miscarried before and are pregnant again, you’re probably feeling quite emotional. It's important to be kind to yourself and find ways to manage any anxiety you're feeling. Don't forget that your maternity services are there to support you.

I’m pregnant again, but don’t feel excited. Is this normal?

Whether you planned to get pregnant again or not, you may have conflicting feelings. You may feel excited or relieved that you’re pregnant again, but also worried about how this pregnancy will progress. Some women may still be grieving for the baby they lost and feel guilty about feeling happy.

Any feelings you have are natural. Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience, and you’ve been through a very difficult time. Be kind to yourself.

“We got pregnant 3 months after my miscarriage and now have a healthy 1 year old. I got emotional on the estimated due date of the failed pregnancy, even though I was pregnant at the time. I was also emotional on the 2-year anniversary of finding out I had miscarried, even though my son was almost 1 by that point. I felt guilty about this sadness, because I wouldn't have my son had our other baby survived. But talking to others helped me realise that this was normal, that it was OK to feel upset and that it bore no reflection on the love I have for my son.”

Samantha

Will I get extra care in this pregnancy?

Many women and their partners would like to have extra care in pregnancy after a previous miscarriage. However, the care you will have during this pregnancy will depend on your medical history.

If you have had 1 or 2 early miscarriages before, it’s unlikely that you will have any extra care during this pregnancy. This can be difficult but try to remember that you don’t have a higher risk of another miscarriage if you have had 1 or 2 early miscarriages.

If you’ve had recurrent miscarriages, or a late miscarriage, you should have specialist care, which can include extra scans. This will either be arranged by the hospital that has cared for you during your miscarriages, or through your GP.

Can I have extra ultrasound scans?

Extra ultrasound scans won’t guarantee anything or predict how your pregnancy will progress, but it may give you some peace of mind. If you do want an early scan, you can talk to your GP or Early Pregnancy Unit, although it isn’t always possible to have one.

Some people pay to have scans through private healthcare, but this can be expensive. Some women and couples may find the idea of having extra scans does not help and increases their anxiety. It may help to talk to your midwife about how you feel before making a decision.

If you’ve previously had an ectopic pregnancy, you should be offered a scan at 6 to 8 weeks to check that the baby is developing in the right place.

If you have had a molar pregnancy, tell your GP straightaway so they can organise early scans for you.

Will I miscarry again?

It’s completely natural to worry about this. But if you have miscarried before it doesn’t mean that it will happen again. Try to remember that most people who miscarry are likely to have a successful pregnancy in the future.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to you can do that will guarantee that you won’t have a miscarriage again. All you can do is try to stay positive and focus on your physical and emotional health during this pregnancy, taking it one day at a time if you need to.

“I was fortunate enough to become pregnant 2 months after I miscarried our first baby at 6 weeks, and I can remember feeling extremely anxious throughout the pregnancy. I constantly worried I was bleeding and found myself making multiple trips to the toilet just to check. I found hearing or reading other people’s stories of successful pregnancies after loss reassuring. I also found that the best way to deal with my anxiety was to take the pregnancy 1 day at a time, sometimes 1 hour at a time, and to set little milestones that I could achieve and tick off, week by week, scan to scan, kick by kick. However, if I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t fully relax until I had my son in my arms and I knew that he was safe.”

Elle

I can’t guarantee I won’t miscarry again, but can I reduce the risk?

We don’t always know why miscarriages happen, which can make it very difficult to prevent them.

It’s important to go to all your antenatal appointments and any other medical appointments you are offered during pregnancy. Follow your medical professional’s advice, especially if they were able to find a cause for your previous miscarriage and you are having treatment.

However, try to remember that most miscarriages aren’t caused by anything you or your partner have or haven’t done. But there are several things you can do to limit the risk of miscarriage and increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy. This includes:

What can I do if I can’t calm my anxiety during this pregnancy?

Many women who have miscarried before develop anxiety or depression during pregnancy. Some women even experience post-traumatic stress.

If you or your partner are feeling low, don’t hide your feelings or suffer in silence. You are not alone. Tell your GP and midwife how you feel. They will help you access the help you need, which may include support from a specialist mental health maternity team.

Our midwives are also at the end of the phone if you need to talk. You can speak to them free of charge from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800.

Does stress cause a miscarriage?

Being concerned about whether anxiety or stress affects your baby is completely understandable. But stress is not linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

Stress like this can also create a vicious cycle of thoughts. If you feel anxious during your pregnancy, you may begin to worry if this is affecting your baby and become even more anxious.

Your mental wellbeing in pregnancy is just as important as your physical health. So, try to take care of your mind as well as your body. Read more about ways to relax during pregnancy.

Should I tell people about this pregnancy?

Whether you tell anyone about this pregnancy is entirely up to you (and your partner, if you have one). Some women and couples feel that sharing some happy news helps them move on from previous heartbreak. Others feel more comfortable keeping their pregnancy private for as long as they can.

Take your time and decide what’s best for you. Just remember that that you are not somehow ‘tempting fate’ if you do want to share your news. This does not affect the outcome of any pregnancy.

If you are feeling anxious about this pregnancy, it may help to tell someone you trust. This could be someone who supported you through your miscarriage. They may be able to help if you’re feeling tired or sick or just be there to listen. It can be comforting to know that someone is there to look out for you and understands how you feel.

Other support networks

There are lots of organisations, support groups and online communities that provide support with issues around wellbeing and mental health in pregnancy and afterwards.

You can also join our Parenting After Loss support group on Facebook, where you can talk to other women with similar experiences.

“When I first fell pregnant my best friend was pregnant the same time. When I lost the baby and her pregnancy went on to be successful it had a long-lasting traumatic effect on me and on my third pregnancy. I was convinced that history would repeat itself and I would be the one not bringing home a baby at the end of it. It affected me so much that I avoided seeing her for my entire pregnancy. It’s hard not to compare pregnancies and think the worst if you’re experiencing different symptoms to your friends.”

Vicky

Tips for reassurance in pregnancy after a miscarriage

  • Try not to bottle anything up. Tell your midwife, doctors or hospital know if you are worried about anyone or want to talk through any concerns. Some people worry about wasting people’s time. You’re not, and no-one will think that.
  • Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to take things in. It may be helpful to take a list of questions you want to ask to your appointments and write things down while you’re there.
  • Some women may feel that they didn’t get the care or support they needed before their miscarriage, which may affect their relationship with healthcare professionals. If this is the case, you may feel more comfortable taking someone with you to your appointments to be your advocate.
  • Contact your midwife straight away if you have any symptoms you are worried about. Everything may be fine, but it’s important to get checked out
  • Tell your midwife about any dates that may be difficult for you. For example, you may need extra support around the time you lost your baby.
  • Try writing down your thoughts and worries. Lots of people use having a diary as a way of releasing their emotions and anxieties.
  • Some women feel that they will jinx their pregnancy if they do anything to prepare for life as a mum. Try to remember that packing your hospital bag or buying baby clothes will not affect the outcome of any pregnancy. Still, don’t put yourselves under too much pressure to do things you don’t want to do. If you’re feeling unprepared, perhaps your partner, family or friend could get a few essentials together for you.
  • Look after yourself extra carefully. Grief is tiring, even more so if you are pregnant. Try to give yourself time out and doing things you enjoy or make you relax every day.

Difficulty bonding with your baby

Some women have told us that they have had difficulties bonding with their baby during pregnancy or even after the birth This may be because they are afraid to, in case anything happens.

Not every woman feels a bond with their baby straight away and for some reason these feelings change after they give birth. You can talk to your midwife if you are finding these feelings difficult to cope with.

Any difficulties bonding with your baby after their birth can be difficult to cope with, especially as these feelings are often unexpected. After all, this is the healthy baby that you’ve been waiting for. Be kind to yourself. You are not alone in feeling this way. Bonding is a gradual process, and it may take you weeks or even months to feel close to your baby.

Maybe you didn’t allow yourself to bond with your baby for fear of another loss or perhaps you had a difficult pregnancy or labour.

Whatever the reason may be, try to remember that your feelings are normal. The idea that women fall in love instantly with their babies is a myth. Some women do, but many women find that their love grows slowly over the first few weeks as they get to know and care for their baby.

Also, remember that you are a new mum. Even if you’ve waited a very long time for this baby, you will have your emotional ups and downs like any other new parent. Your body is still in recovery after the birth and you’re probably feeling sore and hormonal as your body takes its time getting used to not being pregnant anymore. You’re also probably trying to find your way feeding your baby and coping with sleepless nights. All of this can make you experience a huge range of emotions.

It’s easy to forget during this time but try to take care of yourself. Try to eat properly, sleep when you can and let someone else take care of your baby sometimes so you can take a break, even if it’s just to have a long shower. It’s much easier to look after your baby if you feel good yourself.

Your bond with your baby should come in time. In the meantime, try our ideas for bonding with your baby.

Postnatal depression

Sometimes, if you’re finding it difficult to bond with your baby, feel sad, hopeless or guilty all the time for weeks or months after you’ve had a baby, it could be a sign of postnatal depression. This can be treated with the right care and support, and most women will make a full recovery.

Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP about how you feel. They can help you get the best support for how you’re feeling.

Find out more about your mental health after birth.

Read stories about pregnancy after loss

Sources

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2016) Early miscarriage https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2010) An ectopic pregnancy https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-an-ectopic-pregnancy.pdf

Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Antenatal care – uncomplicated pregnancy https://cks.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-uncomplicated-pregnancy (Last revised in February 2019 Next planned review by February 2021)

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    Last reviewed on April 16th, 2020. Next review date April 16th, 2023.

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