After a miscarriage

Recovering from a miscarriage can be tough, so look for support from those close to you, and from your doctor.

The unit that you are seen at will probably give you some leaflets about the experience of having a miscarriage and they may have information about local support groups.Some women prefer to take time to recover, others want to get back to normal life as soon as possible, but follow advice about rest to give your body the chance to recover. Before you leave the hospital ask your doctors how long you should take off work, and ask for a certificate if you need one for your employer.

Emotional recovery after miscarriage

Getting over a miscarriage can be very difficult. From the moment you found out you were pregnant you were likely to be making plans for the future and imagining how you would be as a mother or father. You may have thought about the sex of the baby and possible names, you may have thought about moving home or planning nurseries and even childcare.

It can be a huge shock to lose the baby and you may feel very alone, and even disappointed by your body. Women often experience the same cycle of emotions as anyone who has lost a close relative or friend; denial, anger, guilt, feelings of emptiness and longing.

Talk to the people who support you best. Be prepared to give each other space and time to grieve and don’t expect each other to 'move on' or 'get over it' at the same time. If, after some time, you feel you are not coping with your feelings then do seek help. You may need more support such as professional counselling. See your GP if you need more help.

Some families choose to have a memorial service or write in a book of remembrance at the hospital. You can ask to see the hospital chaplain for more information about this. If you suffered a late miscarriage you may be able to see and hold your tiny baby – ask the hospital staff if this is possible. Some women have found it helpful to write letters to the baby, or to themselves, really writing out how they feel.

Find out more about the grieving process, and ways to remember your baby, in our Grieving for your baby section.

Looking for causes of miscarriage

You may want to know more about why the miscarriage happened and the likelihood of it happening again. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of early miscarriages a cause is never found. Tests may be carried out on the tissues that are removed during a surgical operation to determine whether the miscarriage was due to an ectopic pregnancy or a molar pregnancy.

If you suffered a late miscarriage, it is more likely that a cause was known. For example, if your waters broke early, you experienced a blood clotting disorder, problems with your placenta, or infection. Or it may be that your cervix opened early causing you to have a premature birth.

Give yourselves time to grieve

Miscarriage can be physically painful but for many couples the emotional fallout is far more overwhelming. You may both 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 each other or a close friend. Sometimes, talking to your GP or a bereavement counsellor can help you to understand and accept your loss. A study has shown that this can have a significantly beneficial effect on your feelings. You may simply want someone to acknowledge what you’re going through and that your dreams have been shattered. A few kind words can go a long way.

You may need time off work to recover; or extra help at home if you have other children. During the grieving process, many couples experience a host 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 heal. If you feel well enough, you can return to work within a week.

What happens to my baby? Breaking the taboo

No one ever talks about what happens to the remains of a baby after miscarriage, but many bereaved parents need to know. According to the Royal College of Nursing, no matter how early in pregnancy a miscarriage occurs, parents should be told of the options available for disposing of their baby’s remains and 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.

Pregnant again after a miscarriage

While you may wish to conceive again as soon as possible, you may also be worried about having another miscarriage. After a miscarriage, you should be given a follow-up appointment with the GP or hospital; use this to discuss the best way to proceed.

Some couples need time to prepare themselves emotionally and physically before trying again.

When you are ready, try not to worry too much: most women will go on to have a normal pregnancy.

The best time to try again is a very individual decision; and should be when you and your partner feel emotionally and physically ready. (However, if you’re being investigated for recurrent miscarriage, it’s wise to wait until you have all the facts to hand. 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 fall pregnant straight away, you should use contraception.

A personal experience of miscarriage

After seven years of trying to have a baby, Emma finally received the joyous news that she was pregnant. However, her bliss was short-lived when at five weeks pregnant she miscarried. Tragically, history repeated itself three months later, when she miscarried again at seven weeks.

Emma was already on her hospital's waiting list for medical help in conceiving. In a routine procedure, a nurse ran a blood test, revealing unusual antibodies which could have caused her miscarriages. Under the guidance of her doctors she began taking simple drugs such as aspirin to combat this.

When Emma got the long-awaited call from her hospital to say she was top of the waiting list for medical help in conceiving, she was over the moon. She could start the treatment after her next period.

However when that period never came Emma took a pregnancy test. It came back positive! They were thrilled. Although Emma didn’t have a straightforward pregnancy, and had to change her plans of a home birth after developing pre-eclampsia, after over seven years of trying for a baby, Emma's wish was finally granted in August 2006, when Ilana Mai was born at 38 weeks.

Emma has since given birth a second time, to a beautiful baby boy, Lucas.

For more personal stories of miscarriage please visit our Tommy's stories page.

You can download our infographic about recovery after a miscarriage here (pdf), we hope it helps you or someone you love.

For more information, see our Questions about miscarriage page

Read more on after a miscarriage

Sources

  1. NICE [accessed 14 April 2014] Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage: clinical guideline 154, London NICE, 2012 http://publications.nice.org.uk/ectopic-pregnancy-and-miscarriage-cg154/key-priorities-for-implementation 
  2. RCOG (2011) The Investigation and treatment of couples with Recurrent First-Trimester and Second Trimester Miscarriage. Green Top Guideline No 17, London Royal College of Obstetricians and GynaecologistS, 2011
  3. RCN (2007) Sensitive disposal of human remains: Guidance for nurses and midwives, London Royal College of Nursing, 2007
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Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

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Comments

  • By Jennifer (not verified) on 18 Apr 2018 - 22:59

    Hi,
    I need some advice as I am worried sick, I found out my baby had no heartbeat on 4th February after I had started to bleed on what should have been a few days before my 2e week scan, we were devastated.
    I decided to let it go naturally but this failed after waiting 2 weeks, I then went down medical management but this also failed and I was rushed in for an emergency d&c. It was very traumatic and I suffered panic attacks. It's been over 7 weeks and apart from 2-3 days of spotting about 5 days ago there's been no period. I thought it was coming but it tailed off. Lots of negative pregnancy tests too I just don't know ow what is wrong with me! Terrified there is and I'll never be able to get pregnant.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2018 - 16:20

    Hi Jennifer,

    We are so sorry to hear about your loss and can't begin to imagine what you and your family have been going through over these past weeks. It can be normal to bleed for a few weeks after a D and C, then you have this agonising time of waiting for that first period. Everyone if different and some women wait longer then others, but this doesn't mean that there is a problem, your body needs to heal both physical and mentally and this can take some time. If your period has not return within the next week then you can always go and see your GP who will be able to give you further advice. Keep positive and feel reassured that this can be normal after what you have been through. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Amy Beavis (not verified) on 13 Mar 2018 - 17:12

    Hello
    I had a miscarriage at 9 weeks. The baby was measured at 5-6 weeks with no heartbeat. Me and my husband desperately want our bundle of joy. How long do you suggest to wait until we can start trying again? There’s so much contradicting information: some say you don’t have to wait, others say 2 periods, others say 6 months.
    Thank you Amy

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2018 - 15:39

    Hi Amy,
    I am so sorry to hear that you experienced a miscarriage. As long as the bleeding has stopped and you are physically well and emotionally ready then you can try again. The most common advice is to wait until you have had a full normal period before trying again, however this is to make it easier to date the next pregnancy. The 6 months is if you had a molar pregnancy however this does not sound like it was the case for you. If we can support you further then please do email us, [email protected] Best wishes x

  • By Vikki (not verified) on 2 Jan 2018 - 21:02

    I lost my little baby over Christmas. I had a scan at 9.1/2 weeks and all was well, the baby measured perfectly and it's little heart was beating. By the time I had my 12 week scan, I was almost 13 weeks pregnant and the scan showed no heart beat and only around 1 week's extra growth since the 9.1/2 week scan!! I was booked in to have the baby removed surgically but in the end it came away by itself at home, last Thursday 28th Dec, at just short of 14 weeks. My question is how long should I expect the bleeding to continue and how long would you normally expect to pass large clots? The hospital told me that the bleeding might last for 3 weeks but said nothing about the clots continuing? it is 5 days now since the baby came away and I am still passing some quite large clots, I would love some advice as to what I should expect over the next week or two please.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jan 2018 - 15:47

    Hi Vikki,
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby and what you are going through at the moment, I hope you are looking after yourself.
    The bleeding can last for several weeks, the large clots should stop after about 7-10 days. As long as you do not feel faint, dizzy, unwell or in a lot of pain or have temperature then stay at home, rest and drink plenty of water. If we can support you further then please do call us on 0800 0147 800 or you can email [email protected], we are here Monday to Friday 9-5pm. Take care x

  • By Sara (not verified) on 27 Nov 2017 - 07:40

    Hi,
    I'm currently trying to recover from an interstitial ectopic pregnancy for which I had emergency surgery as it could have been life threatening. This is now my 5th pregnancy loss in a row and each one seems to be unusual or rare. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to recover emotionally as I am slowly loosing all hope and I grieve my chance to be a natural mother. I feel overwhelming feelings of being useless as my body is a failure and I feel guilty for taking time off work as physically I am almost better. This is the first time I've contacted any support groups but I feel I have reached rock bottom now and didn't know where else to turn.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2017 - 11:35

    Hi Sara
    Thank you for your comment and reaching out to us. I'm so sorry to hear that you have now had 5 miscarriages. I would advise that you see your GP for referral to your local recurrent miscarriage unit so that you can have further investigations as to why this keeps happening. Please also discuss how you are feeling emotionally as they can also refer you for counselling and emotional support to help with the way you are feeling. Whilst it is very natural to feel that you are losing all hope or are a failure, it is important to get some support to help you with these and other feelings to help your emotional recovery. You also need to allow yourself time and space to grieve for these losses. Hopefully you have support of your partner and other family.
    Try not to feel guilty about not being able to go back to work-wait until you feel emotionally as well as physically ready-again your GP can help here by providing sickness certificates etc
    Please do not hesitate to contact Tommy's PregnancyLine 0800 0147 800 if you would like to talk to a Tommy's midwife.

    Another organisation that provides support is the Miscarriage Association-I have attached links that you may find helpful:

    https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/
    https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/your-feelings/
    They also have a help line-01914 200799

    Take care
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Victoria (not verified) on 17 Nov 2017 - 22:54

    Miscarrying at 12 weeks was awful :/ after 9 previous losses I thought I'd been through the toughest thing already til this happened.. each day it haunts me & im petrified I'll never have a baby; although adoption is an option further down the line :) I don't know how we deal with it; we just do !! There's always people who just disregard what you've been through; those who act ignorantly to your needs and the way you're feeling.. it helped me and my partner to bury our baby in a remembrance rose plant we bought for her & to make up a box of our memories of bump & scans & items we'd bought early on... I'm very sceptical about 'whether I'm destined to have my own baby' or not... but I know I'll always have hope in my heart... this miscarriage has given me that along with the support of my partner through everything.. we lost our baby in march this year and it still hurts every day; everyday we get stronger & we know our baby is watching over us with the rest of our angels.. march 2017 baby hope <3 xx

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Nov 2017 - 09:28

    Hi Victoria.
    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your baby in March. Experiencing a miscarriage at any gestation is terribly difficult, and we as midwives here at Tommy's know this only too well. We receive many messages, emails and calls every day from women, and men, who have experienced loss. If you feel that a friendly chat with us would be useful to you, please do call. We are not trained counselors, but we can talk you through your thoughts and feelings and we can make suggestions where you might benefit from counselling/self help etc.
    Please take good care of yourself! :)

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 24 Jun 2017 - 18:07

    hi, I had a miscarriage at around 6 weeks. what made it hard was that I went in for a scan and saw the baby and its heart going strong, then that night I ended up loosing it, and then being shown the empty space on a scan the next morning and being told id lost it - but not to worry you can try again in a few weeks. not very comforting words. that was about 7 months ago, and I still find myself thinking about it all the time, especially as I am approaching my predicted due date. I find it hard to talk about it, as everyones response is "it was just one of those things", "everything happens for a reason" etc. am I just being silly? should I not be feeling like this?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Jun 2017 - 11:28

    Hi, Very glad that you have found our site as I hope it will help you to understand that there is no 'right or wrong' way to grieve. You are certainly not being silly and if you need to talk to someone you can call us on 0800 0147 800. Best wishes x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 May 2017 - 09:01

    I found out I had miscarried when I was about 6 weeks. I was devastated, but to make it even harder I had an Unknown location pregnancy and my body is till miscarrying the pregnancy tissue even 8 weeks down the line. I am having repeat blood tests once a week to see how the hormone level is declining. It has been such an emotional roller coaster especially as myself and husband want to try again as soon as possible.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 May 2017 - 16:28

    So sorry to hear this. It can take several weeks for the hormone levels to decrease to normal pre-pregnancy levels and for the bleeding to stop. I hope that this is nearly at an end for you. Best wishes from Tommy's midwives and thanks for posting. x

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