With(out) Child

What To Expect…After a Miscarriage.

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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7 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!

  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. ♥

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