Experiencing a miscarriage can be a highly traumatic event that stirs up strong emotions, and it's only natural to wonder how it might affect the intimate moments with your partner. But remember that you're not alone in this; many couples encounter similar challenges.
When it comes to the question of when it's okay to have sex again after a miscarriage, there are some important considerations we'll help you navigate.
Although the actual time frame you should wait varies by person, the general recommendation is to wait two weeks to have sex after a miscarriage, according to Mayo Clinic.
So, why wait to have sex after a miscarriage?
Miscarriages can be traumatic and leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. Is something wrong with me? Will I get pregnant again? What if I don’t feel ready yet?
The main reason for the two-week wait time is to help the cervix resume to a non-pregnant state, says certified nurse midwife Carrie E. Levine. Additionally, many people experience side effects that can be challenging both physically and mentally.
What determines the wait?
Factors such as the type of pregnancy loss, how far along the pregnancy was, and any emotional distress you may have experienced can influence the duration of the waiting period.
After that, it comes down to a personal preference, says Dr. Lyndsey Harper, M.D. Founder and CEO of Rosy, an app helping women improve their sexual health and overall well-being.
“I always advise people to return to sex only when they feel ready, to use a lubricant, and to take it slowly,” advises Harper.
Physical recovery after a miscarriage
Waiting to have sex after a miscarriage will minimize your risk of infection and ensure that the lining of the uterus is protected, explains Levine. Your body has been through a lot and needs proper time to heal. Be gentle with yourself, and don’t rush. Focus on rest, eating well, and giving your body attention and care.
Keep an eye on your bleeding, too. “Heavy bleeding can result from an incomplete miscarriage that requires medical attention,” warns Levine. Contact a doctor if you experience bleeding that requires more than a pad or tampon in one hour.
Your emotional and mental health
Going through a miscarriage can be a highly emotional event. It may fill you with a whirlwind of feelings and thoughts, and there’s no fixed timeline for the grieving process. Talk to your doctor about how you’re doing, or find a mental health professional to work through your emotions.
It's okay to grieve and heal emotionally before thinking about intimacy again, and it’s essential to go at your own pace. Communicate how you’re doing with your partner, and ask that they respect your timeline.
Do I need to wait until I get my period?
According to the Mayo Clinic, most people will get their period again about two weeks after any light bleeding stops. Generally, doctors advise waiting one to two weeks after a miscarriage before inserting anything into your vagina, including refraining from using tampons. But if you feel ready, you don’t need to wait for your period to resume sexual activity.
Are there risks of having sex too soon after a miscarriage?
Depending on why your miscarriage happened, you might have some complex medical issues.
Your endometrium, or the lining of your uterus, is vulnerable after miscarriage. For this reason, Levine says infection is a risk to be aware of. “Think of the lining like an open wound that needs time to heal,” she says.
While it might seem like an obvious positive, there is also a risk of getting pregnant again too soon after experiencing a miscarriage, says Levine. You might lack sufficient hormones to sustain a new pregnancy, or there could be inaccuracies in estimating the pregnancy date needed for proper prenatal care.
Intimacy after pregnancy loss
It’s completely normal to have difficulty getting intimate with your partner after a miscarriage. But try not to worry! You and your partner can get things back on track with some extra time and intention.
Don’t let anyone pressure you to jump back into the bedroom before you feel ready physically and emotionally. Have open discussions with your partner about what your sex life looks like post-miscarriage. Not only will this benefit you now, but it will also help strengthen your bond and move forward together.
What about pregnancy after miscarriage?
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Although having a miscarriage can feel like the world is crumbling around you, there is still hope to get pregnant. Usually, miscarriages are a one-time occurrence.
“Statistically speaking, the most likely thing to happen after a woman has a miscarriage is she will go on to have a completely normal, healthy pregnancy,” says Levine.
Only about one percent of women will have repeated miscarriages, and the risk of miscarriage in the future is about 20 percent after having one miscarriage.
Although it’s possible to get pregnant during your next fertile window, Levine suggests addressing any concerns you have with your doctor. “Some women feel they are more at risk, and at least more vulnerable, in subsequent pregnancies after miscarriage.”
And remember, although joyful, becoming pregnant again can also bring anxious or nervous feelings. Feeling this way is normal, but seek professional help if you need extra support.
When to see a doctor
As much as Dr. Google and online forums can be helpful, they can also provide unreliable or incomplete information. Check with your doctor whenever you feel like you need to. They can give personalized guidance and offer you some peace of mind.
Consider bringing your partner, friend, or family member to your doctor appointments if you need extra support.
The bottom line is: Take care of yourself. Going through a miscarriage isn’t something to take lightly, and your well-being should be your number one priority before trying to get pregnant again.
Ultimately, what’s most important is your health. As you recover from this traumatic experience, remember to take it one day at a time.
Blair Sharp is a freelance writer who lives in Minnesota with her husband and son. Her words have been published in various publications, including Parents, SheKnows, The Bump, and Insider. Find her writing daily on LinkedIn and check out her weekly newsletter, The Relatable Creator, for motivation to show up and stand out online. Head to her website www.blairsharp.com for more.