What is an incomplete miscarriage?
Sometimes not all of the pregnancy comes away after a miscarriage. An incomplete miscarriage is when a miscarriage begins, but some pregnancy tissue stays in the womb.
Signs of an incomplete miscarriage
All women have some bleeding or pain during and after a miscarriage. But if you have an incomplete miscarriage, you may have these symptoms:
- heavy bleeding – get medical help if you’re soaking through a pad in an hour
- bleeding that carries on and doesn’t settle down
- passing blood clots
- increasing tummy pain, which may feel like cramps or contractions
- a raised temperature (fever) and flu-like symptoms.
Get medical help straightaway if you experience any of these warning signs.
Treatment for an incomplete miscarriage
If you have an incomplete miscarriage, you’ll need to have treatment. There are 3 options available:
- waiting for the miscarriage to happen by itself naturally (expectant management)
- taking medicine to help things along (medical management)
- having surgery to remove the pregnancy (surgical management).
Your doctor should talk with you about what may be the best option for you. You should be given some time for the diagnosis to sink in and to think about what you want to do.
“It's OK to take your time over making a decision. You may have a gut feeling about how to manage the miscarriage, you may not. Talk through your options with the medical professionals. I know they are incredibly busy, but we needed and wanted answers. I phoned the number we were given after our second missed miscarriage and asked all the questions I had. This helped us make a decision.”
Find out more about how your miscarriage will be managed.
Your emotional health
Miscarriage can be devastating. You may be struggling with grief, anxiety and shock, but you do not need to go through this alone. There are lots of organisations that can provide advice and support.
If you’re worried that you or your partner are struggling to cope after losing a baby, please talk to your GP. They will be able to help you get the support you need.
You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife for free. You can call them Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm on 0800 0147 800 or you can email them at [email protected]. Our midwives are trained in bereavement support so will be able to talk to you about what you’re going through.
Find out more about support after a miscarriage.
The nurses gave us the privacy that we needed. It was an exhausting day.
I know the feeling of going home empty and having to tell your kid they won't be a big sister anymore.
We can talk about cancer and finally people are being more open about mental illness; now it's miscarriages turn.
It is sometimes possible to have tests to find out why you had a miscarriage and what this might mean for any future pregnancies.
Expectant management is one of 3 treatment options you can have if you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage.
Surgical management is one of 3 treatment options you can have if you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage.
If you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage, you may be offered medicine to help the miscarriage move along.
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (2016) Early miscarriage https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-early-miscarriage.pdf
Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Miscarriage https://cks.nice.org.uk/miscarriage#!topicSummary (Page last reviewed May 2018 Next update due: December 2023)Hide details
ℹLast reviewed on February 10th, 2020. Next review date February 10th, 2023.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 30 Mar 2020 - 15:12
How long can you wait for your doctor could see you. I had a miscarriage on Saturday. My appointment is april 7. Could something happen to me if i wait long or what should i do.. I didnt go to the hospital since the coronavirus is there at the moment.
By komali (not verified) on 28 Feb 2020 - 16:34
i had my miscarriage in feb 1 2019 its almost 1 year now but i dint go for d&c process.can i go now to clean my uterus..