After a Miscarriage

Your physical health

Bleeding - This should decrease in seven to ten days. If it does not, or becomes heavier or smells offensive, contact your GP or midwife. Keep using sanitary towels, no tampons, until it stops.

Breasts - Your breasts may be tender for a while and depending on how many weeks pregnant you were, they may leak milk. Wear a supportive bra until your breasts are comfortable.

Menstruation / Periods - Generally, if you have a regular cycle this will usually return in four to six weeks.

Sexual Intercourse - You need two to three weeks for your body to recover, then it depends how you and your partner feel – it can take time to be interested again. Be loving and understanding about how you both feel.

Fatigue - You may feel tired for a couple of weeks and if so you must rest. If you work, take a week or so off. Your GP can give you a sick leave certificate.

Your Emotional Health

Miscarriage can shake you and your partner, and you will probably experience ups and downs. Some people adjust quickly, others take a long time; you will find the number of ‘good’ days slowly increases, but a memory or an anniversary can bring it all back to you. Everyone experiences different feelings, but they can include anger, frustration, despair and bitterness. Some women cry a lot, which may release some of the pain and tension, while some men find it hard to talk about their feelings. You may both have different ways of coping, so be understanding and make sure you have plenty of time together.

Your Baby

You may want to know the sex of your baby – before three months gestation this is not usually possible to find out, but after three months babies are more developed. If you have a query, talk to your midwife or GP about it.

Your Family

If you have other children, they may be bewildered at what is happening. If they knew you were pregnant, explain simply what has happened to your baby. Children can get frightened when their parents are distressed and unhappy, so it is important to give them time and attention and stick to familiar routines. Your parents may also be very upset for you. It can help to talk to them.

Your Friends

Many people find one of the hardest things after a miscarriage is meeting people again. You may find you can talk easily to some friends, and that they understand or share your feelings. Others may seem not to care and even avoid you – it may be because they are uncomfortable with death and frightened to ask how you feel or say how sorry they are.

©Extract taken from The Professional Nurse July 1992.