I Had a Miscarriage. Why Do I Still Have Pregnancy Symptoms?

woman after a miscarriage
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After a miscarriage, it can take awhile to fully recover physically, and sometimes even longer when it comes to the emotions that result from a miscarriage. Depending on how far along the pregnancy was when a miscarriage happened, it can take ​a few weeks to a month, or even longer, to make a full recovery.

Physical Symptoms of Miscarriage

Many women are prepared for some of the physical symptoms of miscarriage, including:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Absent menstrual periods
  • Lower abdominal pain and cramping
  • Back pain
  • Passing tissue or clots

However, what many women do not expect are the physical symptoms of pregnancy that can linger after a miscarriage. This can be confusing and upsetting. Lingering pregnancy symptoms after a miscarriage can feel like adding insult to injury for obvious reasons. It's easier to put up with nausea and tiredness if there's going to be a happy ending to it all.

Causes of Pregnancy Symptoms After Miscarriage

Doctors believe that pregnancy hormones play a role in causing morning sickness, breast soreness, tiredness, and other standard symptoms of early pregnancy. After a miscarriage, your hormones will not return to pre-pregnant levels right away, so there can be a period of time that you will still feel pregnant, even if you have just had a D&C.

Because some pregnancy hormones remain in the blood for one to two months after a miscarriage, even after a conclusive miscarriage diagnosis, it's possible that you will continue to have nausea and other pregnancy symptoms for some time, especially if your miscarriage happened later in the first trimester.

Duration of Pregnancy Symptoms After Miscarriage

The main hormone in early pregnancy thought to be responsible for the symptoms of early pregnancy is hCG, and the level of this hormone in the blood of pregnant women varies from woman to woman, as well as on the number of weeks of gestation of the miscarried fetus.

Therefore, the exact length of time that it takes for hCG to disappear from a woman's body after a miscarriage will also vary.

In general, hCG will return to zero in women who miscarried very early in a pregnancy much sooner than someone who miscarried later in a pregnancy. The average time that it can take for hCG to disappear completely is between nine and 35 days, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

For most women, hCG levels will probably fall to zero within about two weeks. If you are still having trouble with persistent nausea or vomiting longer than that, check in with your doctor. Also note that if you feel you have symptoms of an infection after a miscarriage at any point, you should call your doctor right away.

Sources:

American Pregnancy Association. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): The Pregnancy Hormone. Updated August 22, 2017.

American Association for Clinical Chemistry. hCG Pregnancy. Lab Tests Online. Updated October 29, 2015.

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