Miscarriage & loss
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How does your body recover from a miscarriage?

What can I expect after a miscarriage? When will periods return and when will I be back in a fit shape to conceive?


Posted: 31 January 2008
by ThinkBaby

How your body recovers from a miscarriage will depend on the circumstances and timing of the miscarriage, as well as on whether you suffer any further complications related to the miscarriage. As a general rule, the less time the pregnancy had to become established, the quicker your body will be able to physically recover.

First trimester miscarriage
Miscarriage in the first few weeks of pregnancy, before the pregnancy has a chance to become established, is very common and many women who experience it - unaware that they are pregnant - will think simply that they are having heavy period. Your body should return to normal very soon after your bleeding has stopped (which should be within a week, or possibly two) and, depending on your cycle, your periods should return within about six weeks.

If you suffer a miscarriage in the second half of the first trimester you are more likely to pass clots of blood and recognisable pregnancy tissue. Abdominal cramps are usual and may quite strong during them miscarriage itself, but they should become lighter and fade a couple of days after the miscarriage. You may have vaginal bleeding for up to a week, or possibly longer, after the miscarriage. This is usually a similar flow as your regular menstrual bleeding.

If stronger pain and bleeding continue more than a couple of days then your miscarriage may be incomplete - meaning that there may still be pregnancy tissue left in the womb. If this happens then you need to call your doctor right away as you may need a simple surgical procedure, a Dilation and Curettage, to remove any remaining tissue and stop the bleeding.

See below for more information about your physical recovery.

Second trimester, or late miscarriage
An early second trimester miscarriage may be very similar to a miscarriage in the first trimester, however, the further along in the pregnancy you are, the more likely you are to have experienced unpleasant contractions and a delivery.

  • Vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramps
    After a second trimester miscarriage you may have vaginal bleeding for a few weeks, though it shouldn't continue to be heavy after the first few days, and some abdominal cramping is also common. If pain and cramping continue to be heavy, or if they intensify, then you should contact your doctor right away in case your miscarriage is incomplete - meaning that there is still pregnancy tissue left in the womb. If this is the case then a simple surgical procedure, a Dilation and Curettage, can be used to clear out the womb.

    Depending on your cycle, your period should return within eight weeks.

  • Your shape
    The later on in the pregnancy the miscarriage occurred, the more 'pregnant' your body may have looked. Continuing to look pregnant after a miscarriage can be extremely upsetting, and how long it takes for your body to go back to it's pre-pregnancy shape varies from person to person - your appearance may go back to normal very quickly, or you may have to wait several weeks.

  • Breasts
    Your breasts may be swollen and tender and may produce some milk, which can be very distressing. Make sure you have a supportive bra (natural cotton ones are least likely to irritate the sensitive skin) and use nipple pads to keep your nipples as dry as possible to prevent discomfor and chafing.

Miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy

  • Preventing infection You are more susceptible to vaginal infection than usual following a miscarriage, but you can lower the risk by:
    • Using pads rather than tampons for any post-miscarriage bleeding. You can use tampons again when your first period arrives.
    • Not bathing in public swimming pools, jacuzzis and similar public settings where the water may carry infections
    • Not having sex until after any bleeding has stopped

    If you develop a fever, chills or strong pain then you may have an infection and you should contact your doctor without delay.

  • When will I get my period back?
    When your period returns will depend on at what stage your miscarriage occurred and how long your cycles are, but you will usually have your first period within four to eight weeks.

  • The emotional toll
    Pregnancy loss at any stage, but particularly when the pregnancy is more advanced, can be an enormous emotional strain, and this can drain you physically too. Your physical recovery is very much tied up with your emotional recovery and it's important that you look for support and give yourself time to deal with any feelings of grief and distress.

  • When will I be able to try to conceive again?
    Doctors recommendations on when you will be ready to try to conceive again may vary, depending on the timing and circumstances of your miscarriage, and the cause, if known. Your doctor may recommend that you wait two or three cycles before trying for a baby again, to let your mind and body recover. On the other hand your doctor may see no reason why you can't start trying again as soon as you feel up to it emotionally. Some women will feel that they need time to grieve the loss of a pregnancy before trying again, but many hope that a subsequent pregnancy will help them put the loss behind them. If you do want to start trying again straight away it's a good idea to wait until you have your first period, so you have a good idea of your due date.

    If the cause of the miscarriage is known, you may be able to have some treatment to prevent the same problem occurring again, or at least to reduce the possibility of a subsequent miscarriage. If so then it makes sense to take contraceptive measures until the treatment is complete, or until it's been established whether a subsequent pregnancy would require any special treatment.


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Discuss this story


Me

I have a question... I had a miscarriage about six weeks ago.  I opted out of having a D&C as I was not comfortable with the procedure.  The doctor assured me that I would pass out the remains of the pregnancy but i AM Still bleeding over a month after.  Is this normal?

Please give me your comments.  Cheers


Posted: 15/08/2008 at 19:16


ali

Hi there,

Sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage. Doctors recommend a d&c because there is a risk of infection if things are left to nature. Either way is not easy but a d&c does allow you a little relief that at least the physical pain is gone.

It may be a good idea to visit your doctors just to make sure everything is passed. They would probably do a scan to check that your uterus is clear. It is normal for a miscarriage to carry on for quite sometime.  Hope that this helps you a bit.sx


Posted: 16/08/2008 at 22:39


Me
Thanks for your respose. I will take your advice.  Cheers!!!

Posted: 17/08/2008 at 19:00

I had a miscarriage of twins at about 17wks. I had to deliver them after my water broke, and it was difficult for my doctor to remove the placenta. He said that I could have died there was so much hemoragging. There was no talk of a D&C my doctor did not even ask if I wanted one or say whether I needed one or not. It has been 11mths now and my husband and I still have not gotten pregnant again, I also have a lot of brownish almost black foul smelling sticky discharge through out the mth and heavily during my periods. My question is, it is possible that there is still unremoved tissue that should have been removed with a D&C, should I speak with my doctor about having one done even though it has been so long??? Could that be the reason we can't get pregnant again??


Posted: 30/03/2009 at 17:57

Ald & ME

Sorry for both your losses.

I do suggest both of you to go to your doctor's  to get checked out. Ald you should go and find out if everything has been cleared and why your periods are so dark and foul smelling..something just GOOD to know. This is our body and it goes through so much with carrying and miscarrying a baby! It takes time to heal but you need to be fully aware of what it's going through especially if you want to pro-create!


Posted: 30/03/2009 at 19:44

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