With(out) Child

What To Expect…After a Miscarriage.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this post is not intended to replace the care of a medical professional. If you are concerned about your health for any reason, please contact your care provider. 

Whether it took you two cycles or two years to get pregnant, when that pregnancy ends unexpectedly it can take its toll both physically and emotionally.

Sadly, 1 in 4 pregnant women will learn first hand how devastating such a loss can be.

While most women recover physically from a miscarriage more quickly than they do emotionally, the experience can be filled with uncertainty, doubt, and fear.

Below are answers to some of the more common questions around the physical recovery that come up following a miscarriage.

How long does the bleeding last after a miscarriage?

Bleeding post-miscarriage can last anywhere from 4-5 days to 2-3 weeks, depending on how far along you were in the pregnancy and if you had a “natural miscarriage” or a D&C or D&E.

It can be filled with intense cramping, along with the passing of tissue and large clots.

Is it normal to still feel pregnant and experience symptoms?

The pregnancy symptoms you had experienced during the pregnancy — sore or tingling breasts, morning sickness, and peeing all night long — may continue as your hCG levels begin to return to normal.

Also common is extreme fatigue, bloating, brain fog, and hormone induced mood swings.

When will I get my period again?

Your first cycle post-miscarriage can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks from the date of your miscarriage to show up.

Generally anything earlier (ie – 2 weeks post-miscarriage) is considered to be additional spotting or the passing of more fetal material.

What can I expect my first period to be like?

Your first cycle can be super heavy, crampy and miserable; full of clots and tissue. Almost like the actual miscarriage itself, or worse.

Or, your first cycle could be lighter than normal, painless and clot-free.

While most women tend to fall into the heavier camp, both are considered to be normal.

When will I start ovulating again?

You may or may not ovulate your first cycle post miscarriage.

And using an Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK) may not be able to accurately tell if you are ovulating, as one of the hormones they test for is hCG.

If your hCG levels haven’t returned to >5 (or zero) the OPKs can return a false positive.

I’ve heard that you are more fertile right after a miscarriage. Is this true?

There is some research that suggests this is true. For a few months post-miscarriage, at least.

Though most doctors believe that this is not a long-term change and your fertility levels will go back to what they were pre-pregnancy.

When can we start trying again?

Some doctors advise waiting until your first period to try again.

Others will tell you to wait 2-3 cycles for the body to regulate again and to build up enough blood and lining to support a healthy pregnancy.

Others, still, will encourage you to start trying right away.

The point is, there is no definitive answer. And for good reason. A miscarriage takes a toll both physically and emotionally. And if you aren’t emotionally ready for another pregnancy, it doesn’t matter what your body is capable of doing or not.

Talk with your doctor. Talk with your partner. And do what feels right for you.

How long will it take to get pregnant again?

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule for how long it takes.

Some women report getting pregnant the first cycle after a miscarriage and never get their period. Others say that it took 3-4 cycles or longer (1-2 years).

Once I do get pregnant again, will I be at higher risk for another miscarriage?

No!

In any given pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is somewhere between 15 and 30% depending on which source you are using.

If you are concerned or want to know more about your personal risks, speak with your doctor.

I used the fertility awareness method prior to getting pregnant. Will I be able to use it again post-miscarriage?

Charting post-miscarriage is definitely possible, though can be hard to understand.

Your temperatures can be wonky (up, down, and all around) and you may not notice a real temperature spike indicating ovulation.

Also, you may not know how to actually track your cycle. Cycle Day 1 (CD1) is generally considered to be the day of the miscarriage.

The Taking Charge of Your Fertility forums are a great resource and can help you make sense of what’s going on.

(Image Source: The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Emily Levenson, MSW, CHHC

Emily Levenson, MSW, CHHC, AADP

Emily is the founder and creator of Without Child. She has a knack for cooking up conversation, finding meaning in mayhem, and adding sparkle to the spectrum of life.

Emily’s personal journey towards becoming pregnant has been filled with bumps and bruises, hysterics and hope, frustration and inspiration. She believes that it’s time to bring fertility discussion out of the bedroom and into the forefront.

Website: emilylevenson.com
Twitter: @emilylevenson
Facebook: Emily Levenson

Categories: Fertility

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31 Comments

  1. I have recently miscarried at 5 weeks. Prior to this I miscarried at 12 weeks in December 2012 (no d&c) and at 7 weeks in September 2012. Prior to these 3 recurring miscarriages I miscarried at 4 weeks in may 2012 and at 7 weeks in August 2011. My doctor has yet to do any testing or even give me a close answer as to what might be wrong with me. 5 miscarriages over the course of a little over a year is extremely worrisome to me. Any suggestions as to what I should be tested for to start with? I have a history of high anxiety and frequent anxiety attacks. I am also a smoker but was always told to gradually cut back as I found I was pregnant to reduce anxiety. I have a 3 year old daughter that was born at 35 weeks.

    • Brittany: So sorry to hear about what’s been going on. Have you thought about getting a second opinion or perhaps trying to find a specialist (Reproductive Endocrinologist) in your area? Sounds to me like your doctor isn’t really taking your concerns seriously, or spending the time to figure out what is happening.

      With regard to the smoking and anxiety, you may benefit from other complementary treatment approaches like acupuncture, chiropractic, holistic health coaching, reiki, or naturopathic medicine, as well as trying things like yoga, meditation, and dietary changes.

      Let us know how we can support you in finding resources in your area.

  2. i had a miscarriage 2 months ago an im am haveing pain in the same spot as when i had the miscarriage..me an my husband have had intercourse several times since we lost the baby with out any kind of birthcontrol or condoms is this normal to hve this pain or should i go to doctor

    • Casey — It is always advisable to go to the doctor if you are concerned with how your body is feeling.
      That being said, is the pain constant or is it only happening around your cycle?

  3. After trying for 6 months I finally fell pregnant but at 10 weeks, 2 days before my 11th week, I lost my baby (August 2013). I got told on the wednesday I had a threatened m/c after brown spotting for 2 days and got booked for a scan on the friday which was then I got told they could not see the baby then took me to have an internal scan and said the same. That same night I had the worst pain in my lower stomach and lower back, which meant I was stuck on the loo clotting like mad and after waiting too hours for a ambulance, I got rushed to hospital and got told I had defiantly lost the baby down the loo (which confused me as in the scan room they said they couldn’t see the baby). The saturday they scanned me again and said I had too much inside me and had the option of having the tablets that help to move the process along quickly but after having the internal ones and the ones you swallow no results just heavy bleeding and clotting. That same night I collapsed on the komode and got rushed to have an emergency d&c and I had to have 4 pints of blood pumped back into me. I went home and was spotting for about a week where I was able to wear panty-liners as it was that light then 4-5 weeks later I have my 1st period after m/c which was heavy (I expected it as I am usually heavy) and lasted 8 days which is normal for me as I am 6-8 days normally. My 2nd and 3rd period were between 3 and 5 days late with my 2nd being like my 1st and my 3rd being really light and lasted 3 days to then after 2 weeks come on again for 6 days and not be medium. We have been trying again but it is hard to calculate when I am ovulating and it is becoming more painful for us both when I come on my period so I just need to know when I would be back to normal so we can have a baby. I honestly can say the past two months have been my better months where I’m more myself again but I would still never wish this on anyone not even my worst enemy!

    • Heather—I don’t know how your comment fell through the cracks. Am just seeing this now.

      So sorry that you had to go through this. Hope that you have been successful with getting pregnant since the time of this comment. And if not, that you are in a better place emotionally, physically and spiritually. Sending you love.

  4. I had a miscarriage a wk ago at 12wks. Since I have been extremely tired with daily headaches. Is this normal or should I be concerned? Thanks

    • Naomi – it’s likely that what you’re experiencing is the result of your hormone levels going down, but would encourage you to check in with your doctor.

      Take care of yourself. ♥

  5. I hAd a miscarrage also in august.bled for about a week or so.then 3 weeks ago I got my period….so I thought.im still spotting lightly.is that normal or should I get a doc?it started off bright reddish orangish & now its dark brownish.

  6. Hi I had a miscarriage in September I was about 6 weeks I didn’t have a d&c. I had my first period in October same month I started birth control I haven’t had my period since and my stomach is always cramping. Ever since my miscarriage I dont feel the same my stomach hurts so bad what do u think is wrong? I went to doctor and schedule a pelvic exam for December 30 I feel like something is wrong I know my body

    • Regina: I am so sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. Is it possible that there is still some tissue left over from your pregnancy that didn’t get expelled?

      If you are concerned, I would encourage you to try and be seen sooner. Even a trip to the ER can help to allay fears and/or concerns if something is truly wrong.

  7. Hi, I have a 9 month old daughter and found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago. I live with my parents and couldn’t keep it. There’s so much more to it, I won’t go into. I went to have an abortion, 2 weeks ago. My Dr said the bleeding should stop this previous Monday, but it hasn’t. I’m very scared

    • Kyley: Have you spoken with your doctor since your last visit? If you’re concerned, I would encourage you to get back in touch. If you aren’t able to do that, or there is too long of a wait, you can always go to the ER and get checked out. Take care of yourself.

  8. Had a miscarriage back in June 2014 it h has now been 5 months and still no period , is something wrong , can this cause me to be able to ever get pregnant again , should I be worried, I’m getting scared now.

    • Laura—Have you spoken to your doctor or midwife about your concerns? It’s very possible that your body is just needing to reset following the miscarriage, and that given time things will return to normal. But it is also possible that there is something more going on.

      Things like massage, chiropractic adjustment, reiki, and acupuncture can help to reset the body and hormones. Best of luck.

  9. I had a miscarriage back in early August 2014. It’s going to be 21 weeks tomorrow and I still haven’t gotten my period. I finally went to the doctors December 23rd 2014 and they assumed I was 4 months . . Well because I did a pregnancy test a day before going doctors and it was positive. . Now I’m taking iodine pills and I have a scan 7th January 2015. I have these feelings thinking I’m pregnant and days where I think I’m not. . The other night I was lying in bed with my partner of two years and he had his head on my tummy. . Then we felt what was like three kicks, we were so happy! But I’m just not sure still, just gonna wait it out until I get my scan done next week. . I have that side of me thinking I’m not pregnant just so that the pain of I find out I’m not won’t take me back to rock bottom again, but there also is this white slime that leaks out of my nipples sometimes, or even if I apply pressure on my breast. . What is it?

    19 and confused

    • Noal — Congrats on being pregnant! Can totally understand your caution and not wanting to get too attached yet. Take care of yourself and reach out for support (other mom’s, your partner, friends) when you need it.

      From what you’ve described re: the white “slime”, it sounds like normal discharge. It’s likely the beginnings of colostrum (what the baby eats right after birth before your breastmilk comes in). If you are concerned, make sure to bring it up to your doctor at your next appointment.

      Best of luck!

  10. Hi I has a D&C in December I was 12 weeks 6 days and now a month later I thought I had gotten my period but it only lasted 2 days and was very light. My husband and I haven’t been using protection but I am worried something isn’t right from the procedure. Waiting to see my doc on Friday but any info would help

    • Jennifer: It is quite normal to have a period that is different from what it was prior to pregnancy — either lighter or heavier. It is also possible that you haven’t ovulated yet, as it can take the body a few cycles to get regulated again.

      Hang in there and be gentle with yourself.

  11. I misscarried at 6 weeks and had a d an c done october 31st 2014 and I just got my period january 16th 2015. I have been so emotional and ill. I never felt like this during my periods and I dont know if this is normal or not. Someone please let me know if this ir normal or if this has happend to you. Thanks.

    • Sorry for your loss. Yes it is very devastating this was my 3rd miscarriage and my 5th pregnancy. I am lucky to have a beautiful healthy 3 year old little girl but my son wasn’t so lucky. He was a still born at 40 weeks I wish no one would have to go through this horrible loss. The pain isn’t something nomatter what trimester it was is easy to move on from or easy to talk about. I still can’t talk to my husband about any of the losses and don’t think I will ever be able to. The pain of knowing there is nolonger a growing baby inside you really hits hard during the first period I know I did with me each time

  12. Hi,
    I was 2 weeks pregnant in dec . i had a miscarriage , I bleed for a week and then had brown spotting. My doc did a ultrasound and saw everything was out and didn’t need a d&c. But the brown spotting continued. So after 3 weeks she did an ultrasound again and saw everything normal, she gave me some hormone tablets for 21 days to stop the spotting. It is 6 days since , but there is bleeding occassionally and spotting. Is this normal??

    • Jane: It’s hard to say what’s normal or not. I would encourage you to continue checking in with your doctor and giving yourself the space to heal (both physically and emotionally).

      It may also be helpful to see an acupuncturist or other holistic practitioner to help support you as your body and hormones are regulating themselves back to their pre-pregnancy state.

      Take care.

  13. Ok so December 16 th I had to have a dnc done I did not bleed at all after because they only uses the suction method due to me only being 5 weeks we’ll 22 days later I had a period that lasted 7 days well now it’s been 31 days since my last period and before the dnc I had regular periods every 29 days I take pregnancy test they all say negative could I be pregnant or is my body just still messed up from the dnc? I have been having lower back pain sore breast an loss of appetite at times an sometimes I’m starving an having mild headaches. Any feed back would be helpful

    • Jennie—If you are concerned, I would suggest calling your Doctor’s office. Getting a check-up is always a good idea.

      Having said that, it sounds to me like your body is trying to regulate itself again. All of the hormone changes can definitely make things wonky and you feel like you’re still having pregnancy symptoms. Take care of yourself and make sure to reach out if you are still feeling like something is off.

  14. I am looking for some guidance. This article was helpful in some areas, but I have a few questions still.
    I miscarried in December, ovulated (tracked it with a predictor kit) normally in January and we tried again during this time, before and after the days the test was positive for Ovulation. Then I got my period way early in reference to my ovulation. It was, as you described, WAY heavier and I even had symptoms of anemia, cold and almost passed out one day. Now after my period I am extremely fatigued and have random headaches. I feel depressed and in a fog and my midsection twitches sometimes in my uterus area. I have really happy wholesome days then really lack-luster days where I want to sleep all day.
    My questions are: could I have become pregnant when I ovulated and still have that awful period?
    Are these signs indicative of leftover tissue that needs removing?
    and when will all of this stop and return to normal?
    I should add that I got a negative pregnancy test a week before i ovulated. and its been over 1.5 months since D&C

    • Kara—So sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling 100%.

      Have you taken another pregnancy test since that heavy period? Also, have you contact your doctor about your concerns (the feeling of almost passing out, the symptoms of anemia, fatigue, headaches, and twitching feeling)? Those seem a bit more than simply recovering post-miscarriage.

      I know you are looking for answers, but it’s really hard to say how long it takes to feel like yourself again, as every body is different in how it heals. Some people bounce right back, while others take close to a year to feel like themselves again.

      Take good care of yourself and reach out to your doctor or midwife. Best of luck!

  15. I had a miscarriage on the 21st Jan 2015 and then an evacuation followed immediately. My bleeding only lasted for 1day and then after two weeks 4th Feb I bled for 2days. It was brown blood for the first day and then normal period blood for the 2nd day. Am confused if the second bleeding can be referred to as my period if so when would I ovulate and if not how soon can I see my next period. Am so anxious to have a real baby since d miscarriage was an empty sac as said

    • Jane—what were your periods like before getting pregnant? How heavy was your bleeding, how long did they last, etc.? Hard to give you any feedback without knowing more…

      • …Thank you for your response. My period just before I inserted a coil used to last for 4days and its just a normal flow but after the coil it became heavier with cramps. I went back to normal period after I removed the coil which was only one month before I took in. Right now my stomach is beginning to feel hard am afraid to go to the Doctor cos I don’t want anything contrary. Thanks

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