After a miscarriage, how long does it take your body to return to normal? - Jacqueline in Weatherford, Texas
The expert answers
The recommended length of time following a miscarriage before attempting to again conceive is a subject for debate. Many physicians recommend three months, however, there is real no scientific basis for this. There have been no studies that have conclusively shown an untoward outcome is subsequent pregnancies following miscarriage that have occurred with less than a three month latency period.
Following a miscarriage, hormonal levels eventually revert to baseline levels. The most important hormone in this instance is beta-HCG(pregnancy hormone). Beta-HCG has a half-life (the time required for one half of a substance to be metabolized and cleared from the circulation) of about 12 hours in the circulation. When levels become undetectable, the normal hormonal release (LH and FSH; leutenizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, respectively) associated with the menstrual cycle begins again. So, depending on the beta-HCG levels prior to miscarriage, a menstrual period could occur as early as 4 to 6 weeks following a miscarriage.
I typically counsel my patients that the body will quickly heal and again be ready for another pregnancy. I do usually recommend waiting at least until after the first menstrual period, which would indicate a return to a pre-pregnancy hormonal baseline. It does, however, take considerably longer to emotionally heal following a miscarriage. When a couple feels emotionally ready to try again, the body is usually already prepared.