What to Expect After an Early Miscarriage

7 common questions about cramping, bleeding, trying again, and more

A miscarriage is likely one of the most difficult experiences a woman can go through. There's no way to predict how it will affect her emotionally, nor are there tips for making the loss of a pregnancy less heartbreaking. Grieving is a very personal thing.

The physical experience of miscarriage, on the other hand, is fairly predictable, depending on in which stage of the pregnancy it took place. If you've recently lost a pregnancy, you may get some small comfort from having an understanding of what is happening in your body. From cramping after a miscarriage to trying to conceive again, here are some of the questions you may have during this difficult time.

Unhappy Hispanic woman
DreamPictures / Getty Images

If you have a  miscarriage very early in your pregnancy—within the first several weeks—it will feel as if you're having a heavy period with cramps that are more intense and painful than usual. Afterwards, you're likely to have mild cramps for a day or two as your uterus returns to normal size. If after a miscarriage at any stage you have severe cramping that doesn't let up, call your doctor. He will want to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants somewhere other than in the walls of the womb. 

 

More

For most women, bleeding subsides within two weeks and can be managed with sanitary pads until it stops completely. Heavy and prolonged bleeding—soaking more than two maxi pads per hour for more than 2 hours in a row, according to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—may be a sign of infection or an incomplete miscarriage. This means that some of the tissue from the pregnancy hasn't been expelled and may need to removed surgically in a procedure called dilation and curettage, or D&C, or with medication.

More

Until the hormones that are generated during pregnancy completely clear from your body, you may still "feel" pregnant after having a miscarriage. For example, your breasts may be sore and swollen, you may continue to have morning sickness and nausea, and you may feel more fatigued than usual. You should be back to normal within a few weeks. 

More

A small percentage of women develop an infection after a miscarriage, so it's important to know the signs. If you begin to run a high fever; have bleeding and cramping that continues for longer than a couple of weeks; you develop chills, or have a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, contact your doctor right away.

More

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it's possible to ovulate as soon as two weeks after an early miscarriage. This means that it's also possible to become pregnant again that soon after a loss. If you don't want to conceive again right away, it's important to use contraception when you begin having sex. ACOG says that any method of birth control is safe after a miscarriage, even an intrauterine device (IUD). 

More

For most women, human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, a hormone that the placenta produces during pregnancy, will return to pre-pregnancy levels within two to four weeks after an early miscarriage. Essentially this means there will be no detectable hCG in a woman's body during testing. This is important to know if you plan to try for another pregnancy: When hCG is at zero, the lining of your uterus has returned to normal and will be able to receive a newly fertilized egg. 

More

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that there's no reason to put off trying to become pregnant again after an early miscarriage. There's no evidence, for example, that getting pregnant again right away increases the risk of another miscarriage. However, ACOG advises waiting until after you've had a period before trying to conceive. This will make it easier to calculate the due date of your next pregnancy. 

More

Continue Reading