What happens to my body during a miscarriage?

If you miscarry, your body will go through some changes. You may experience some bleeding and tummy cramps.

Vaginal bleeding

Most women have some vaginal bleeding during a miscarriage (although some women don’t have any symptoms).

The amount of bleeding you have will usually depend on how many weeks pregnant you are and what was recently seen on your scan. If it is an early miscarriage, it may be like a heavy period for the first day or so, and go on for a week or two afterwards. It should lessen and may become brown.

It’s best to use sanitary towels rather than tampons, which can increase the risk of infection.

If you feel faint, go to A&E. It is a good idea to ask someone to take you.  

Your pregnancy hormones

These will begin to fall, although the rate varies from woman to woman. Once your bleeding stops, your hormones should gradually return to normal. You may be monitored by your local Early Pregnancy Unit to make sure this is happening, so you may be asked to do a pregnancy test after 3 weeks.

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.

Cramping

When a pregnancy is lost, the womb contracts to expel the pregnancy tissue. You’ll probably have some cramps (like strong period pains) in your lower stomach on the day of your miscarriage and then milder cramps or aches for a day or so afterwards. Paracetamol should help with these cramps.

Other side effects

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

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

Your doctors will talk to you about side effects you may have.

If you have surgical management, 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:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • twitching muscles
  • continuing numbness, weakness or pins and needles.

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. You should be told who to contact if they don't. 

Your period

If you normally have regular periods, your next period will usually happen around 4–8 weeks after a miscarriage. However 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. We recommend using contraception if you’re having sex and don’t want to get pregnant again.

You should avoid having sex until all your miscarriage symptoms have gone.

When to ask for help

Contact your GP, Early Pregnancy Unit or 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 is not very common and can be treated with antibiotics. These symptoms can also mean that there is still some tissue from the pregnancy in your womb.

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.

Your emotional health after a miscarriage

Losing a baby can be heartbreaking. Your feelings and emotions are your own and no-one can tell you how you should or shouldn’t be feeling. There is no right or wrong way to feel about pregnancy loss. 

Everyone is different. Some women and couples come to terms with what happened within a few weeks, for others it takes longer.

Taking the time you need to grieve may help you move on and think about the possibility of trying again, if that’s what you want to do. There is support available if you need help.

 
 

Sources

North Bristol NHS Trust. Miscarriage. https://www.nbt.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/attachments/Miscarriage_NBT002479.pdf (Last published June 2017. Review due June 2019)

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2016) Early miscarriage https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Medical Management of miscarriage https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/gynaecology/medical-management-of-miscarriage.pdf (Last published October 2019 Next review due: October 2022)

NHS Choices. Local anaesthesia. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/local-anaesthesia/ (Page last reviewed: 23/07/2018. Next review due: 2/07/2021)

NHS Choices. General anaesthesia https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/general-anaesthesia/ (Page last reviewed: 23/04/2018. Next review due: 23/04/2021)

NHS Choices. Miscarriage. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Miscarriage/ (Page last reviewed: 01/06/2018. Next review due: 01/06/2021)

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    Last reviewed on April 8th, 2020. Next review date April 8th, 2023.

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    Comments

    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Madison Mills (not verified) on 10 Feb 2020 - 00:06

      So I was pregnant but it never got confirmed I miscarried the first 5 weeks I didn’t even get to see it develop and it’s been almost 3 weeks since it happened and my partner has met his peace with it. Or at least acts like it doesn’t bother him and I just kinda feel like I’m fighting it alone :(

    • By Missy (not verified) on 12 Feb 2020 - 12:06

      Yesterday mine started. I didn’t know how to tell him and when I did, he seemed like he was ok. I got so upset...mad, sad, hurt so I told him how he was hurting me and I cried. Men are like this...1)they are trying to act tough for us 2)they are hurt but not as much as we are especially if SO was absent (military man mine is) he didn’t bond with the baby, WE as mothers will feel so much more and for longer. I think just say how you feel. Text it, write it, speak it; however, just get it off your chest. And if he is over it use it as strength to help yourself. We will have those times of grief and sadness that the guys will never understand. Just vent it all to him...you are not alone.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Mar 2020 - 04:25

      Its been 2 weeks since I had my miscarriage, once I told my husband I felt as he was not as hurt as I was; as if he was trying to be tough. It did bothered me at first but as I was grieveing and tried to communicate with him, he explained to me that it hurts him more right now that I'm very emotional and hurting. As a mother you instantly have a connection with your baby and for men its a little different I would say. Yes they are very excited (my husband was) but they don't feel that connection just yet like a mother does. My advice is to tell him exactly how you feel maybe he's being strong for you so he can be your support and the person who tells you everything will be ok. I hope this helps.

    • By Mimie (not verified) on 4 Feb 2020 - 15:52

      I used to sore breast few days to my period but since I got pregnant and had miscarriage,I don't feel anything in my breast before my period arrives anymore and I have been trying to conceive for the past 6 months to no avail...am confused

    • By Leah (not verified) on 29 Jan 2020 - 13:30

      I was 9 weeks along and I had a miscarriage, it’s been about 6 to 7 months since then and my feet and hands are still swollen. Anyone know what this is or what I should do?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2020 - 14:07

      Dear Leah
      Please visit your GP for a review :)
      Take good care of yourself
      Tommy's Midwife

    • By Nobody (not verified) on 16 Dec 2019 - 21:20

      Has anybody else had leg swelling during a miscarriage

    • By Patricia (not verified) on 20 Nov 2019 - 04:03

      Hello everyone. We have been trying for 2years to get pregnant and when I finally do I lose the baby. We have been to 3 different hospitals and each one told us a different story. I’m not having any heavy bleeding any pain any cramps just spotting and today I actually seen a blood clot in the toilet. Iam loosing my mind and slowly drifting away from my husband. Can somebody please talk to me my thoughts are bringing me down and I just cannot cope alone.

    • By Mariah (not verified) on 4 Dec 2019 - 03:37

      Hello, I am currently going through the same thing. Constant flow no major cramping but today I have had clots. We tried 3 years and finally got our daughter and two years for this one. I am in nursing school and trying to juggle it all. My husband is keeping his guard up and acting like it isn’t affecting him or even wanting to talk about it. I feel like we are drifting apart and I’m going through it alone. I will be more than happy to listen and even talk if you like.

    • By Missy (not verified) on 12 Feb 2020 - 12:18

      I’m sorry...I know how you feel, this is my 6th miscarriage. Just don’t push him away! Until yesterday I thought men didn’t feel anything at all when we got through pregnancy and miscarriage. You can’t expect your husband to always read you like a book. You have to be needy in such times and cling to close friends. My secret is writing the baby’s name and the date miscarriage started. I keep it in my locket, and when I feel lonely I take it out, unfold it and read and kiss the paper and cry. And then I tell this to my SO. He doesn’t have words but he tried his best to comfort me. Just saying “We got this, it’s ok, I’m here with you, I love you” is enough.
      Girl, you’ll be ok. Don’t give up hope. I was so depressed yesterday I told him I wanted to have my uterus removed. Try to find a specialist and remember it’s not your fault...I’m struggling with thatt concept too. But blaming ourselves doesn’t help. Rest, distract ur mind with a movie, reading, try to drink and eat. It’s ok. It will pass.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Feb 2020 - 12:16

      I can’t say much. I am just in the same situation right now. I am having pains and I don’t know if it is spotting of miscarriage. But I have no hopes. I will not tell him yet.

    • By Ellie Roberts (not verified) on 29 Feb 2020 - 01:54

      Me and my partner was trying for 2 years I finally caught pregnant in September 2019 then I found out I was losing it beginning of October. 4 months later I caught again and I’m currently in the middle of a miscarriage. Had a scan at 8 weeks and they couldn’t find a heartbeat, just know that it’s nothing you are doing, it will happen one day

    • By Joy (not verified) on 29 May 2019 - 16:15

      I have miscarriage last 3weeks ago and I'm having some stomach noise what is the cos or is it baby in side my stomach pls answer no insult

    • By Vandana (not verified) on 2 Dec 2019 - 16:12

      Joy, I can understand your pain, as I have also lost my baby after 6 week pregnancy. I feel that baby is still in me n breathing. But doc says that there is no cardiac activity in it... M in deep pain.

    • By Nkosana gwegwana (not verified) on 19 May 2019 - 07:27

      we recently experienced a miscarriage in less than seven weeks, this is the second miscarriage. Is this normal or a cause for concern.

    • By ARIVERA (not verified) on 26 Aug 2019 - 05:21

      I've experience the same case with you, i mc on june 7 and had a dc and found out im pregnant again with faint positive result at 7 dpo on july 31, i miscarried again this aug 24 at 6w and 4days, no early signs that i would miscarry from the past days, now my ob advised to take a test for Apas.

    • By maria bryce (not verified) on 14 May 2019 - 16:34

      What happens to the body weight after a miscarriage. Does your body return back to normal size? Is it also true depending on the shape of the uterus after a miscarriage it then pushes the uterus forward. The pregnancy after having a miscarriage the uterus or baby bump sticks out giving the illusion that the mother is further along then preceived?

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