Expectant management

Letting your miscarriage happen naturally is also called ‘expectant management.’

Letting your miscarriage happen naturally simply means you choose not to interfere with the natural process of miscarriage and go home to wait for your body to miscarry in its own time.

This is most successful in early pregnancies and can also be used in cases of missed miscarriage, where it is effective about 50 percent of the time.

It can take some time, however, for the process to start naturally.

Most women experience bleeding like a heavy period which may last for three weeks or longer.  It’s also normal to have tummy cramps, and painkillers may help you to bear these.

If you have severe pain or very heavy bleeding you must seek medical help straight away in case these symptoms are indications that not all the pregnancy tissues are coming away by themselves, which can lead to infection. You may be admitted to hospital for monitoring or further treatment, which could be medical or surgical.

You should have been offered information on where to find emotional support for your miscarriage during your consultation, and if you feel you are not coping, do seek help, or speak to your GP.



Read more about miscarriage management

  • Woman being comforted by healthcare professional.

    Surgical management

    If the medical option hasn’t been completely successful, or if you are bleeding heavily or have an infection, you may be advised to have surgery.

  • Woman's hand holding two pills.

    Medical management

    If you have a missed or incomplete miscarriage, you will be offered the option to take some medicine to help the miscarriage to get underway.


  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
Hide details

Last reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.

Was this information useful?

Yes No


Your comment

Add new comment