What happens to my body during and after a miscarriage?

This page is about what may happen to your body during and after a miscarriage in the first trimester (early miscarriage). 

To find out more about the physical effects of a second trimester loss (late miscarriage), our page on late miscarriage has more information. 

If you think you are having a miscarriage right now, you might find it more helpful to look at these pages:

Am I having a miscarriage?

Signs and symptoms of miscarriage

On this page:

Vaginal bleeding


Other things you might experience

Your pregnancy hormones

Your period

When to ask for help

Support for you

Vaginal bleeding

Most women and birthing people have some vaginal bleeding during a miscarriage. 

The amount of bleeding you have will usually depend on how many weeks pregnant you are.

It may be very heavy at first and you will pass large clots and pregnancy tissue. It will go on for 1-4 weeks after you have passed your baby’s body, depending on how many weeks pregnant you were. It should get lighter and may become brown.

"I’ve had 3 miscarriages, all between 6 and 8 weeks. The intense period of bleeding and pain was around 48 hours each time. You’d think I would learn but each time I was taken aback all over again by the amount of blood. Don’t wear clothes you like." 


It’s best to use sanitary towels or period pants rather than tampons or menstrual cups. Putting anything inside your vagina when you are bleeding after a miscarriage can increase the risk of infection. 

Go to your Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) or A&E if:

  • the amount of bleeding makes you feel unwell, dizzy, faint or frightened 
  • you are having to change a heavy sanitary pad more than every hour for more than a few hours. 

If you need to go to the EPU it is a good idea to ask someone to take you.  


Your womb will contract to help your baby and pregnancy tissue move out of your body. Some people describe these as strong period pains, other people who have given birth to a baby previously say they feel more like contractions in labour.  

You may have milder cramps or aches for a day or so afterwards. Paracetamol or ibuprofen should help with these.

If you are struggling with the pain, contact your GP, Early Pregnancy Unit, the hospital where you had your care or NHS 111.

Other things you might experience

How you feel may depend on how your miscarriage was managed. For example, if you had medical management, you may have temporary side effects such as:

  • chills
  • feeling sick or vomiting
  • diarrhoea 
  • skin rash.

Your doctors will talk to you about possible side effects.

If you have surgical management (D&C) or manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), you will have either a local or general anaesthetic. 

Side effects of local anaesthetic should not last long and may include:

  • feeling sick and vomiting 
  • shivering and feeling cold 
  • confusion and memory loss 
  • bladder problems 
  • dizziness 
  • bruising and soreness.

Side effects of general anaesthetic may include:

If you have a general anaesthetic and were asleep during the surgery, the after-effects shouldn’t last for more than a day after your operation. Contact the hospital where you had your operation if they continue. You should be given information with a number to call.

Your pregnancy hormones

Pregnancy hormones will begin to fall after your miscarriage. This happens at different rates for different people. Once the bleeding stops, your hormones should gradually return to normal.  

You may be asked to do a pregnancy test after 3 weeks to make sure this is happening. If it is still positive you may have an incomplete miscarriage.

Your other pregnancy symptoms, such as feeling sick or tender breasts, will also fade away. 

As well as the sadness you may feel about what’s happening, this change in hormone levels can also affect your emotions. You may feel very tired, get upset very easily or experience mood swings.

Some women also experience breathlessness, anxiety and sleep problems, including difficulties going to sleep or sleeping a lot. 

You might find it helpful to have a look at our information on support after a miscarriage.

Your period

If you normally have regular periods, your next period will usually happen around 4–8 weeks after a miscarriage. It may take several months to settle into a regular cycle. 

You will ovulate before then, so you may be fertile in the first month after a miscarriage. Sometimes doctors suggest that you wait until you have had at least 1 period before you try to get pregnant again. 

This is to make it easier to date a new pregnancy and to avoid any uncertainty in early scans. But this is a personal decision and there is no health reason for waiting. You may find it helpful to look at our information on getting pregnant after a miscarriage.

You should avoid having sex until all your miscarriage symptoms have gone. This is to reduce the risk of infection.

When to ask for help

Contact your GP, Early Pregnancy Unit, the hospital where you had your care or NHS 111 if you have:

  • heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding that lasts a long time
  • smelly vaginal discharge
  • tummy pain.

If you also have a raised temperature (fever) and flu-like symptoms, you may have an infection of the lining of the womb (uterus). This can be treated with antibiotics. These symptoms can also mean there is still some tissue from the pregnancy in your womb, which is called an incomplete miscarriage. 

If you also have a temperature (fever), have lost your appetite and are vomiting, this may be due to damage to your uterus. You may need to be admitted to hospital.

Support for you

There is no right or wrong way to feel about pregnancy loss. Everyone is different. Some people come to terms with what happened within a few weeks, for others it takes much longer. Difficult feelings can come and go. 

There is support available if you and/ or your partner need help

RCOG (2016) Early miscarriage. Available at https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf (Accessed 23 January 2024) (Page last reviewed 09/2016)

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (2019) Outpatient medical management of miscarriage. Available at: https://mft.nhs.uk/app/uploads/sites/4/2018/04/17-22-OP-Medical-Management-of-Miscarriage-Apr-2019-2.pdf (Accessed 24 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 04/2019. Next review due: 04/2021)  

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (2022) Medical management of miscarriage. Available at: https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/CMS-Documents/Patient-leaflets/Gynaecology/6284-1-Miscarriage-Medical-Management.pdf (Accessed 24 January 2024) Page last reviewed: 11/07/2022. Next review due: 11/07/2025)

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (2024). Medical Management of miscarriage. Available at: https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/gynaecology/medical-management-of-miscarriage.pdf (Accessed 25 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 01/2024)

NHS (2022). Local anaesthesia. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/local-anaesthesia/ (Accessed 23 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 23/01/2022. Next review due: 23/01/2025)

NHS (2021). General anaesthesia. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/general-anaesthesia/ (Accessed 24 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 21/06/2021. Next review due: 21/06/2024)

Quenby, S. et al. (2021). ’Miscarriage matters: the epidemiological, physical, psychological, and economic costs of early pregnancy loss’. Lancet (London, England), 397(10285), 1658–1667. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00682-6

NHS (2022) Miscarriage. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/ (Accessed 23 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 09/03/2022 Next review due: 09/03/2025)

Review dates
Reviewed: 15 February 2024
Next review: 15 February 2027