Study Faults WHO’s Six-Months Pregnancy Delay After Miscarriage

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Pregnant mother – Photo credit: The Letter Man

A new study has indicated that there is no benefit in waiting six months before trying to conceive again after a miscarriage.

The study published on Tuesday challenged the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of waiting six months after suffering a miscarriage to avoid developing complications in the next pregnancy.

While the WHO had based its recommendation on research carried out in Latin America, the new study instead suggested a six-week wait period. 

A six-week wait period, the study noted, is enough for a woman’s body to recover before trying to get pregnant again.

The study conducted in Norway had set off to investigate the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes like preterm birth, spontaneous preterm birth, small for gestational age birth, large for gestational age birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes mellitus — by interpregnancy interval for births following a previous miscarriage or induced abortion in Norway.

Published in PLOS Medicine, a medical journal, the study which went on for eight years (2008 to 2016), found no major differences in outcomes when a new pregnancy happened sooner than the recommended six-month wait period.

The research led by Gizachew Tessema of the Curtin School of Population Health in Perth, Australia with five other colleagues analysed data from 49,058 births after miscarriage and 23,707 births following an abortion in Norway between 2008-2016.

They searched for any association with preterm birth, having a baby that was small or large for its gestational age, or the mother developing gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.

The researchers found that “conceiving within three months after a miscarriage or an induced abortion is not associated with increased risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

“In combination with previous research, these results suggest that women could attempt pregnancy soon after a previous miscarriage or induced abortion without increasing perinatal health risks.”

Speaking to the Guardian UK, Tessema said the researchers believe that their findings are reassuring for women or families who attempt pregnancy soon after a miscarriage or induced abortion without increasing the risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.

“The upshot is that you can have your children when you like, but there are caveats. Firstly, at least some time is needed to recover from the previous pregnancy. This will vary from person to person, but if I had to pick a number, it’s at least six weeks,” Tessema said.

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