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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  • 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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