We are so sorry that you need this article. Whether it’s your first loss or your fifth, it’s awful, it’s not fair — and you’re not alone. We built Pregnancy After Loss Support and the Pregnancy After Loss App for you and for the hundreds of thousands of other people who have been and will be in your shoes.
We understand that when you’re coping with something as complex as a miscarriage, it helps to know exactly what to do, so read on for the next steps to take after having a miscarriage.
A Miscarriage Is Emotional and Medical
First, it’s important to understand that a miscarriage–no matter how far along you were–is a significant psychological and medical event in your life.
Second, it’s also normal that both your emotional and physical experiences vary from one loss to another.
Third, when you’ve already had a loss, your experience of miscarriage will be different from those who’ve never had one before.
Your feelings–sadness, anger, numbness–are all normal. It’s also normal for the miscarriage you’re experiencing now to bring up memories of any previous losses. This cocktail of feelings may mean that if you’ve experienced previous loss, your emotional experience of this miscarriage is likely to be worse than someone who has not had a prior loss“Longitudinal study of emotional experiences, grief and depressive symptoms in women and men after miscarriage,” HelenaVolgstenMidwife, PhD, et al., Midwifery, Volume 64, September 2018, … Continue reading. Here’s what you can do to support yourself emotionally after a miscarriage.
Tell your family and friends what you need.
Time and again, research confirms that social support is immensely helpful for emotional healing after a pregnancy loss. But your family and friends may not know exactly how to support you after your miscarriage, so it can help to tell people exactly how you would like to be supported. Sending a group or email or text can give you a little emotional space and help you gather your thoughts. Some ideas on what you can ask for from your family and friends:
- I’d appreciate a check-in texts over the next month or two.
- Send funny memes.
- I’d love to plan on a phone call or meet-up
- I don’t feel like talking right now but would love to get something in the mail.
- Cooking feels difficult right now, so if you feel up to it, I’d appreciate a home-cooked meal or restaurant delivery.
Connect with the loss community.
While family and friends are often able to provide needed support, you may find that they have trouble relating to what you’re going through. Those who’ve experienced loss before and have “been there” really get it and it can be helpful to connect with them after your miscarriage“‘It’s just one of those things people don’t seem to talk about…” women’s experiences of social support following miscarriage: a qualitative study,” Clare Bellhouse, … Continue reading.
- Find a facilitated support group. There are in-person and online miscarriage support groups all over the world. A google search for “miscarriage support groups” will often be the best way to find one meeting at a time and place that works for you.
- Join support groups on social media. Possibilities include PALS — Newly Beverved and Brave Mamas on Facebook, Reddit’s miscarriage community, or the Grief & Loss forum in the Pregnancy After Loss App.
- Read stories. Sometimes the best kind of social support comes from reading other people’s stories and finding bits of your own story reflected back to you. One source for such stories is Pregnancy After Loss Support’s online magazine’s section for recurrent pregnancy loss.
Consider a therapist.
Therapists can offer specialized support after your miscarriage on either a short-term or on-going basis. It can be overwhelming to find a provider if you don’t have one already, but one simple option is to search on Psychology Today for therapists specializing in perinatal issues. Their catalog features licensed therapists and you can easily search for what’s important to you — location, gender, insurance, price, and more.
By the time you learn you have had a miscarriage, the physical process may be over or it may only be beginning. Wherever your body is in the process, there are things you can do to support yourself physically.
Give your body time to heal.
Healing from a miscarriage takes time. How much time is difficult to predict, but you can support yourself at home with rest, heating pads, ibuprofen for pain management, sanitary pads to collect blood and tissue, and nourishing foods and water.
Ask for information on medical support.
You may need to make a decision about whether to help your body pass the tissue from your pregnancy. In general, medical support can come in the form of medication (such as misopropostol, also known as Cytotec) or surgery (generally either a D&C or a D&E). You can ask your care team for information on scheduling (some providers can schedule D&C quickly, some cannot), risks and benefits to you, recovery time, and costs.
Ask for your HCG level to be followed.
Your miscarriage will be complete when your HCG returns to non pregnant levels of <5 mIU/mL “HCG blood test – quantitative,” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Last Reviewed by LaQuita Martinez, MD on 12/3/2020.. Monitoring your HCG to this level gives you information about when the physical process is over and ensures that the pregnancy is not ectopic or molar, both of which require specialized medical intervention.
Monitor your body.
Even though this pregnancy has ended, you still deserve medical care if you need it. You can and should call your provider if you notice the following:
- Temperature over 100.
- Bleeding more than you do on the heaviest day of your period.
- Severe pain“Miscarriage: Care Instructions,” Kaiser Permanente, Reviewed by Adam Husney MD, Kathleen Romito MD, and William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP, Last reviewed on June 16, 2021.
At the intersection of physical and emotional healing is deciding to try to conceive again. Your healthcare provider can help advise you on what timeframe is appropriate for you, but waiting until your first period is commonly advised. This helps with dating a future pregnancy and, therefore, can be helpful in ensuring your next pregnancy is progressing appropriately.
When you’ve been on the wrong side of statistics, it’s normal to feel frustrated, but there is reason to maintain hope that if you choose to try again, you will bring a live baby home. Most women who have experienced pregnancy loss will become pregnant again in 12-18 months“Facts about Pregnancy After Loss,” Lindsey M. Henke, 2019.. Even more importantly, the vast majority of women who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss later have a live birth“Etiology of recurrent pregnancy losses and outcome of subsequent pregnancies,” Harger JH, et al., Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 62, November 1983, Pages 574-81..
- 8 Ways to Find Emotional Support After Experiencing Pregnancy or Infant Loss
- When Pregnancy Loss Happens Again
- How to cope with the death of your baby
- When you Miscarry your Rainbow Baby
- Trying to conceive after loss: Your top 10 list of what you must know