Treatment of late miscarriage

If you lose your baby after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but before 24 weeks, this is known as a late miscarriage.

If you lose your baby after the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, but before 24 weeks, it may be necessary for you to undergo labour in order to resolve the miscarriage and therefore your care may be slightly different than if you experience an early miscarriage.

The next steps will be fully explained to you and you will have lots of opportunities to ask questions.  You might be given the option to go home and come back into hospital later on. You should have someone with you to keep an eye on you during this time.

Once you return, you will be admitted to hospital and be given a private room or a quiet area.

You will be offered a medicine to help soften the cervix (the entrance to the womb), to allow the pregnancy to pass.

The medicine might be given as an oral tablet, or a vaginal pessary.

Oxytocin may also be given in late miscarriage if the women’s waters have gone and they need to encourage contractions if this hasn’t happened naturally. It can also be used to make contractions regular and stronger.

It may take several hours for the medicine to be effective, and, depending on your stage of pregnancy, the labour can be very painful so a range of pain relief will be offered to you. Sometimes the birth comes quickly. Sometimes it can take several more hours.

There will be a nurse or midwife by your side whenever you need, to talk you through what is happening.  He or she will also prepare you for what to expect when your baby is born and you can talk about what arrangements you would like to make.

The midwife can help you create hand and footprints and to dress the baby in clothes you have chosen.  You can talk about whether you would like to see and hold your baby when it is born.

All hospitals are different, but you should be given lots of quiet time with your baby if you would like, and it may be that your baby can stay in the room with you for a while.. 

The funeral can be arranged through the hospital, or privately, and your midwife will help you to sort out those details too.

It’s likely you will be able to go home a few hours after the birth if all seems well, but it is normal to bleed for up to six weeks afterwards.

Counselling and support is available during and after this difficult time, and the hospital should provide you with all the details of how to access help.


  1. NICE (2012) Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage: diagnosis and initial management in early pregnancy of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, clinical guideline CG154,National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  2. Stillbirth (Definition) Act 1992, Definition of stillborn child, Section 1(1), London The Stationery Office, 1992
  3. RCOG (2008) Early miscarriage: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, , 2008
  4. RCOG (2008) Bleeding and Pain in early pregnancy: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2008
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    Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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    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 Claire Etherington (not verified) on 3 Jun 2019 - 11:23

      I wanted to enquire if it is standard practice after a late miscarriage, in my case nearly 18 weeks to be sent home with medication ( mifepristone) and then given a slot 48 hours after this to deliver the baby back in the hospital. In my case I delivered my baby before I was scheduled to return to hospital very traumatically & unexpectedly at home before this time period. I wasn’t advised by the maternity unit that this could happen so wasn’t prepared, and had no signs that this was going to happen. I was advised prior to this by a hospital doctor that they thought my baby was approximately 13 weeks when she had died, so the hospital would of been aware that I could deliver my baby at any point. I just wanted some advice of this please. Many Thanks.

    • By Amanda (not verified) on 6 Jun 2019 - 10:39

      Hello, so sorry to hear your story. I went through a stillbirth son at 28 weeks in 2017, lost another son in October 2018 at 18 weeks and in April this year lost another son at 16 weeks. I had the same experience in the sense that I was given an oral tablet to take and given an appointment date to come back to deliver. In 2017&2018 they were both 24 hours later in April it was an appointment 48 hours later. I am unsure how they could tell that I wouldn’t deliver within the 24 hour mark but thankfully for me all deliveries were in the hospital .. one of them just..! I am sorry you had to experience even more trauma as to. Go though this at home, must’ve been harrowing for you x

    • By Stephanie Hernandez (not verified) on 15 Nov 2019 - 01:05

      Hi, my name is Stephanie and I too have suffered a miscarriage at 18 weeks 5 days. I had to deliver my baby boy at hole. I had no idea what was happening or why. It has been very difficult for me but I can’t even phantom what you have been through. I haven’t been able to get answers from doctors as to what happened. I’m sorry but why did this happen to you? Did you get explanations? I’m sorry for the loss of your babies.

    • By kristina Miller (not verified) on 20 Jul 2019 - 10:19

      I am shocked by the fact that women are sent home I had a still birth at 24 weeks I gave birth in hospital I could not have done it at home I was so ill and the pain was immense I am still traumatized but I think it would have been worse if I had not been surrounded my midwives and have had pain relief. I am saddened to here people are sent home. Love to everyone xxx

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jul 2019 - 16:13

      Hi Kristina, I am so sorry to hear what you went through but please be reassured that no woman is sent home to deliver a 24 week baby on her own.

    • By mary (not verified) on 27 May 2019 - 09:23

      i goj a miscourage at around my 6th week of pregnancy bt i was not treated can this led to any dangerous in my lyf

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Apr 2017 - 14:27

      Our support team at Tommy's agree this is such a kind thing to do and are asking if you can contact Harry- [email protected] for more information
      Once again, thank you so much

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Apr 2017 - 14:13

      Hi thank you for your comment and also for agreeing to make mini quilts for late miscarried babies for your local hospital. I have referred your query to our support team at Tommy's who may be able help you with your request.
      I have also added a link to another organisation who are also involved with supporting parents after later pregnancy loss
      I hope you find this information useful and once again, thank you for your kind offer
      Tommy's Midwife

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Apr 2017 - 07:46

      Ourlocal hospital has asked my quilting group to make some mini quilts to cover late miscarried babies for any funeral etc, and for the parents to keep. It would help if we knew from anyone who has gone through it if our work is any use to them.

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