Several questions get raised regarding what symptoms you experience before a miscarriage, what to expect during a miscarriage and many others. After having suffered a miscarriage, one of the more common questions that women ask is what happens after a miscarriage?
So what happens after a miscarriage?
Most women will find that it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to recover physically. It’s important to remember that every woman is different and that what happens after a miscarriage will vary from woman to woman. You might experience some of the following symptoms for varied lengths of time, all of them, or very possibly, none of them.
Some of the physical symptoms that you might experience after a miscarriage are:
- Heavy bleeding that will taper off to light bleeding. The bleeding can last anywhere from a few hours up to a couple of weeks after the miscarriage. However, if you are experiencing excessive bleeding (which is considered heavier than your normal period) for more than seven days, you should see a healthcare provider. Excessive bleeding for that length of time could be a sign that there is still placenta in the uterus, or that you might have developed an infection.
- The passing of blood clots. For some women, clots are mostly passed during the actual miscarriage. However, other women have experienced the passing of clots for a few days to a week after the process. You should notice that the size of the clots are getting smaller as each day passes.
- Cramps that feel worse than normal period cramping. During the miscarriage, you might have experienced labor-like pains, and while not as severe, you can still experience cramps from a few hours to a week after the miscarriage.
- Diarrhea or excessive bowel movements. Although less common than bleeding and cramps, some women have experienced diarrhea after a miscarriage. Diarrhea could last anywhere from a couple of days up to about a week or so after.
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy. You lose a lot of blood during a miscarriage. Feeling dizzy or light-headed could last for a few hours or a couple of days after a miscarriage. You’ll want to make sure that you are eating (even though you might not feel like eating) and drinking plenty of water or electrolyte-replacing beverages such as coconut water, Gatorade or Pedialyte.
- Feeling worn down and tired. Again, you lost a lot of blood during the miscarriage. Not only that, but the miscarriage process could have lasted for a few hours to a few days. It is physically demanding and also mentally draining due to stress. Feeling tired and worn down could last for a day to a week until your hormones level out, and your body gets the rest it needs.
- Nausea (even if you did not experience it during pregnancy). Nausea can kick in for many reasons. Some of which might include the sudden changes in hormones, if you elected to take medications to help “move the process along”, or perhaps just the thought of eating turns your stomach.
- The gradual or sudden decrease in pregnancy-related symptoms. You might have noticed a change in pregnancy-related symptoms before your miscarriage, or you might experience a decrease in them after it. The changes could be rather sudden, or you might notice that the pregnancy-related symptoms decrease over a few days.
Usually, most women will get their period somewhere between 4 -6 weeks after the miscarriage. The first period after a miscarriage can be heavier and last longer than your normal period.
What should you do after a miscarriage?
Whether you just recently experienced a miscarriage or are currently going through it, there are several steps that you can take to help with physical recovery. (You can read about other helpful tips on caring for yourself after a miscarriage here.)
- DO get plenty of rest. Your body has just been through quite the shock. Not just physically, but psychologically as well. You’ve no doubt been through a series of up and down mixed emotions (from “*squeal*, oh my gosh I’m pregnant”… to devastating grief very suddenly).
- DO allow yourself time to grieve. The loss of a pregnancy can cause an overwhelming amount of sorrow, despair, anxiety, anger, guilt and depression. Regardless of how far along your pregnancy was, it’s important to know that the grief you’re feeling is real and warranted.
- DO schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. If you opted to have a natural miscarriage at home or the miscarriage came as a surprise to you, you should get seen by a doctor a week to two weeks after the miscarriage. You’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any more pregnancy hormones in your system and that your uterus is empty. If you experience symptoms (pain, bleeding or feeling faint/dizzy) that you would consider severe or that last longer than 7 days after the miscarriage, you should see a healthcare provider as this could be a sign of infection.
What should you not do after a miscarriage?
- DO NOT blame yourself. It’s easy to turn the blame on yourself. Thoughts like “I must have done something wrong to cause the miscarriage”, or “If I’d only been happier about the pregnancy, the baby would still be alive”, can run rampant across your mind. However, you NEED to know that miscarriages statistically happen to at least 1 in 5 women.
What happens after a miscarriage is a different experience for each woman. If you’ve experienced symptoms and feelings that are different from those listed above, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
If you have had a miscarriage, I implore you to take a few moments to fill out this questionnaire. The results will go a long way towards helping other women know what to expect and help make the process, should they be going through it, a little less frightening.