After a miscarriage
The hospital or unit that you are seen at will probably provide some information about miscarriage, including details about local support groups.
Everyone reacts differently after a miscarriage. You are entitled to any feelings you have, no matter when you lost your baby. Some people prefer to take time to recover, while others want to get back to normal life as soon as possible. It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and listen to your body.
At Tommy's we often hear from women and men who are bombarded with ads promoting maternity and baby products after loss, which can be really distressing. We've put together some information about how to stop pregnancy ads.
Going back to work
Before you leave the hospital, it may be helpful to ask your doctor about how long you should take off work to recover. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to take some time off.
Miscarriage can be a traumatic experience, so remember that you may need time to recover emotionally as well as physically. Your partner may also need to take some compassionate leave. This may be to recover emotionally or to care for you.
If you need time off work after your miscarriage, this should be treated as pregnancy-related sickness. Your doctor or GP can give you a sick note (also known as a fit note) that you can give to your employer. Find out more about going back to work after a miscarriage.
Emotional recovery after miscarriage
Emotional recovery after a miscarriage can be very difficult. Many women start imagining their baby’s future from the moment they knew they were pregnant. You may need some time to mourn your baby and all the hopes and dreams you had for them.
Some women and couples don’t feel comfortable with this grief. They may feel it’s unjustified because they never met their baby. It doesn’t matter how far along you were, nothing should stop you from grieving for the baby you made. Find out more about your feelings after a miscarriage.
For some people, having a miscarriage is not something you necessarily ‘get over’. Many women and couples feel that they learn to cope with the loss, rather than get over it.
Talk to the people who can best support you. This may be your partner, a family member or friend.
“For me, it would have been helpful to know that it is ok and normal to want to talk about it. People think because they may not have told anyone about the pregnancy they can’t talk about their miscarriage. But they may find that other people have been through similar experiences.”
If you feel you are not coping, no matter how long after the miscarriage, ask for help. You may need more support such as professional counselling. Find out how to get support after a miscarriage.
If you have a partner, be prepared to give each other space and time to grieve. You and your partner may react to a miscarriage very differently. Everyone has their own way of grieving and it may help to accept and respect those differences. Find out more about your relationship with your partner after a miscarriage.
Looking for causes of miscarriage
Unfortunately, we still don’t know why every miscarriage happens. That’s why Tommy’s has opened the UK’s only research centre dedicated to understanding miscarriage and preventing it.
Not knowing why it happened can be very difficult to come to terms with and can lead to some women and couples blaming themselves. But most miscarriages are not caused by anything you have or have not done.
However, there are some reasons why a miscarriage may happen that we do know about. Find out more about the cause of miscarriage.
Give yourselves time to grieve
Miscarriage can be physically painful, but for many couples the emotional fallout can be far more overwhelming. You may feel low for some time and may find it difficult to come to terms with the loss of your baby. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Try to express how you feel to your partner or a close friend. Sometimes, talking to your GP or a bereavement counsellor can also help. Find out more about grieving for your baby.
You may need time off work to recover or extra help at home if you have other children. While you are grieving, many couples experience a range of emotions including anger (especially if they don’t know why they miscarried), envy of other women’s pregnancies and crippling sadness. All these feelings are normal. You may feel numb for a long time, and many women feel utterly desolate on their due date and subsequent anniversaries. Everyone copes differently, but time does help you to heal.
What happens to my baby? Breaking the taboo
It is difficult for people to talk about the remains of a baby after miscarriage. But many bereaved parents need to know. The Royal College of Nursing has guidelines for finding out this information. No matter how early in pregnancy a miscarriage occurs, parents should be told the options available for disposing of their baby’s remains. Parents should be asked to give written consent for this. Some hospitals will arrange a cremation or burial, or you can organise a private memorial service or blessing. For more advice, talk to your hospital midwife or PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) officer, chaplain or bereavement counsellor.
Find out more about what happens to your baby after miscarriage.
Pregnant again after a miscarriage
You may wish to conceive again as soon as possible but are worried about having another miscarriage. After a miscarriage, you should have a follow-up appointment with the GP or hospital. This will allow you to discuss the best way to move forward. Some couples need time to prepare themselves emotionally and physically before trying again. When you are ready, try not to worry too much about your next pregnancy. Try to remember that most women will go on to have a normal pregnancy.
The best time to try again is a very individual decision. It should be when you and your partner feel emotionally and physically ready. If investigations are happening into the possibility of recurrent miscarriage, it’s good to wait until you have all the facts. Women with certain health problems may be prescribed medication to increase their chance of a healthy pregnancy.
Be aware that you are fertile in the first month after a miscarriage. So if you don’t want to become pregnant straight away, you should use contraception.
Find out more about trying again after a miscarriage.
Reading personal stories
If you want to hear from other people who have been through a similar experience to you, you can find personal stories of miscarriage on our Tommy's stories page.
The Tommy's Miscarriage Support Tool
If you have miscarried before, it's understandable to feel anxious about trying again.
The Tommy's Miscarriage Support Tool can give you a percentage chance of your next pregnancy being successful and gives personalised support and information.
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2011) The Investigation and treatment of couples with Recurrent First-Trimester and Second Trimester Miscarriage. Green Top Guideline No 17