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.
- 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
- Stillbirth (Definition) Act 1992, Definition of stillborn child, Section 1(1), London The Stationery Office, 1992
- RCOG (2008) Early miscarriage: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, , 2008
- RCOG (2008) Bleeding and Pain in early pregnancy: information for you, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2008
Knowing what and what not to say to people after the loss of a baby can be difficult. We have come up with a list to help you better comfort a bereaved loved one.
A chemical pregnancy is the term given to a pregnancy which ends in miscarriage before the fifth week of gestation.
This type of miscarriage can be really shocking for a mother.
It’s generally thought that most miscarriages can’t be prevented, but with research, we hope to change this.
If you start to miscarrying naturally, and experience some bleeding, this indicates that the pregnancy is over and the process of losing your baby is underway.
Miscarriage is, sadly, fairly common. A quarter of women have experienced a miscarriage in their lifetime.
ℹLast reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.