When should I try for a baby after a stillbirth?
Making the decision to try again for another baby after a stillbirth is a very personal one.
What is right for one couple might not be for another. You may not feel ready to even read this, while another couple may want try for another baby as soon as possible.
Talk together as a couple, but don't be surprised if one of you feels ready before the other. It can be normal for sexual relations to be affected following stillbirth Talk to each other and seek advice from your GP or practice nurse if this persists.
It’s a good idea to allow your body time to recover physically from the pregnancy and birth. Understanding the best timing to start trying again can be confusing and you may receive conflicting advice from professionals.
The standard advice given to parents who have not suffered a stillbirth is to wait for six months to a year before trying again but this does not take your emotional well-being into consideration. We’d recommend talking to an obstetrician, who is a specialist in woman's health and is likely to have more experience with stillbirth.
‘The single biggest thing that helped with my grief was my second son. He was born less than a year after Tristan as we tried for him, successfully, as soon as we had the post mortem results come back to say that Tristan was perfect. The results told us that the placenta was the problem.’ Sarah, who lost her son Tristan at 38 weeks
You may also wish to wait for results from any tests done after your baby died, or a post-mortem. These results might reveal a specific problem and you’ll want to know if this could affect a future pregnancy, or if it can be treated.
Other factors such as your age or general health might affect the timing of when you try again too.
You will have a follow up postnatal appointment with your GP to check your physical health six weeks following the birth. You can also ask questions about future pregnancies if you feel ready to discuss this. Many couples wait until the six-week GP appointment before having sex again.
If you do decide to try again start taking folic acid and make any necessary lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and alcohol to ensure you’re in the best possible health before starting to try.
When will I be fertile again after a stillbirth?
Your next period usually comes around five to six weeks after the birth of your baby. However it is normal to bleed for a few weeks following the birth of a baby. This is called lochia. Lochia starts after the birth, is heavy and red for 3-5 days and then is brown or pink and lighter for up to around 10 days. It can sometimes be hard to know whether the blood is your period or lochia.
You will probably ovulate and be fertile two weeks before your first period so you could become pregnant very shortly after the stillbirth. However, it is advisable to wait until any scars have healed (for example from an episiotomy or tear) and your cervix has re-closed, to avoid the risk of infection (for the mother). You may find it helpful to discuss contraception with your GP, midwife or health visitor until you feel ready to try again.
If you are taking anti-depressants
You may have been offered anti-depressants to support you if the shock and trauma of losing your child has caused you to become clinically depressed. If you are taking medication, it is very important to talk to your GP before conceiving again as certain medications can affect your pregnancy and may need careful management.
If you conceived your baby through fertility treatment, you may be feeling very daunted about trying again. Perhaps you’re not certain you’ll qualify for further NHS treatment. You may decide you don’t want to experience fertility treatment again. All of these factors make the pregnancy journey more complex.
Ways to help, support and understand your partner after a stillbirth
Information and advice on supporting children when their sibling has been stillborn
Seeing your son or daughter coping with their baby’s death is very difficult and painful. This page is support for grandparents coping after with the stillbirth of their grandchild.
Find out the maternity rights and benefits that you’re entitled to if your baby is stillborn.
Going back to work after losing a baby can be a welcome return to routine for some, and a terrifying prospect for others. Take time to work out what’s best for you.
Pregnancy after a loss often brings mixed emotions and can be a very anxious time.
Spending time now with your stillborn baby could help you cope with the grief later.
Information about postnatal care and appointments for mothers following a stillbirth
Information and support for mums on giving birth to a stillborn baby
How to support parents at work whose baby was stillborn
How to support parents who have suffered a stillbirth, advice for family, friends and colleagues
Information on how to cope with the physical effects of having a stillborn baby
ℹLast reviewed on September 8th, 2017. Next review date September 8th, 2020.
By Martha lenah (not verified) on 29 Apr 2018 - 10:38
I had a stillbirth at 22weeks, doctors say my cervix was week, but I want to conceive immediately, it's the only way that will take away the stress and pain of my boy, is it healthy for me?
By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Apr 2018 - 14:13
Hi Martha, So sorry to hear this and really hope that you are taking good care of yourself. There is no hard and fast rule about when to conceive again. Some doctors recommend that you wait until after your first period. This would help to date a future pregnancy and would also give you time to recover physically. However, there is no evidence to say that you shouldn't conceive straight away if you feel strong enough and if you and your partner feel that you are ready to do so. Best wishes to you. From Amanda - Tommy's midwife
By Monica coronado (not verified) on 16 Apr 2018 - 18:03
I want to know if anyone that has lost their angel if they had any blood like discharge throughout the pregnancy?? I had blood like discharge since week 7 and the doctor and nurses kept telling me it was normal as long as it was not fresh blood. I am still waiting for the pathology and genetic testing results but, can't seem to rest thinking that the discharge affected my pregnancy.
By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2018 - 13:47
Hi, Thank you for your comment, having increased discharge can be common in pregnancy due to the change in hormones, as is spotting in early pregnancy. It is very difficult to say if there was any reason for the sad loss of your little one but once you have the pathology and genetic testing results back then hopefully you will have your questions answer's and then you can slowly start to move forward in your own time. If you feel like you need any support or guidance during this time then please contact the Tommy's Midwives by email on [email protected] Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Jd (not verified) on 31 Mar 2018 - 04:43
I lost my daughter a few weeks ago and as hard as it was losing her, there seems to be a big piece of me missing that I want to have so badly.
By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Apr 2018 - 10:47
I am so incredibly sorry to hear about the passing of your daughter. I know that must be incredibly hard for you and partner to process and deal with. If you need a friendly chat, please do call us on 0800 0147800- we are here Mon to Fri 9 am to 5pm. Unfortunately we take a lot of calls from women like yourself so we are used to giving advice and support and ways to cope at such a tough time. Sending our love and thinking of you.
All the best
Sophie, Tommy's Midwife :)
By Monica Coronado (not verified) on 16 Apr 2018 - 17:55
Hi jd. I am terribly sorry for your loss. Last week we lost our little boy and the pain is unbearable. I was hoping to ask you a question. Did they tell you why this happened?
By Lerato (not verified) on 22 Mar 2018 - 10:42
I was pregnant for 9 months and then my baby died a few hour before birth
By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Mar 2018 - 15:50
We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby and cannot begin to imagine what you or your family must be going through. If you would like to contact the Tommy's Midwives directly on email [email protected] or call on 0800 0147 800 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday then we are here to offer you further support and advice as and when you need it. Take one day at a time, be kind to yourself and please do contact us at any time when you feel ready. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x
By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Mar 2018 - 09:39
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby. If we can support you at all, we have a team here Monday to Friday 9-5pm who you can contact either via the phone on 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]
Best wishes, Tommy's midwife x
By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Mar 2018 - 22:30
I was pregnant for six mouths and the baby die in the womb