A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. Miscarriages are very common. Most happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop as it should. Stress, exercise, or sex does not cause a miscarriage.
While many miscarriages pass on their own, some do not. These are called incomplete and missed miscarriages.
- Incomplete miscarriage. Some of the pregnancy tissue stays in the uterus after the miscarriage.
- Missed miscarriage. All of the tissue stays in the uterus afterward.
Both types often require treatment. Medicine or a surgical procedure is used to clear the tissue from the uterus.
If your blood type is Rh negative, talk to your doctor. You may need a shot of Rh immune globulin (RhoGAM). It can prevent problems in future pregnancies.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- You will probably have vaginal bleeding for 1 to 2 weeks after treatment. It may be similar to or slightly heavier than a normal period. Use sanitary pads until you stop bleeding. Using pads makes it easier to monitor your bleeding.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), for cramps. You may have cramps for several days after the miscarriage. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
- Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.
- You may return to your normal activities if you feel well enough to do so.
- If you would like to try to get pregnant again, it is usually safe whenever you feel ready. Talk with your doctor about any future pregnancy plans.
- If you do not want to get pregnant, ask your doctor about birth control. You can get pregnant again before your next period starts.
- You may be low in iron because of blood loss. Eat a balanced diet that is high in iron and vitamin C. Foods rich in iron include red meat, shellfish, eggs, beans, and leafy green vegetables. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to take iron pills or a multivitamin.
- For some, the loss of a pregnancy can be very hard. You may have a range of emotions. Even if your miscarriage occurred very early, you may still have feelings of loss.
- If you need help coping, talking to family members, friends, or a counselor may help.
- If you have feelings of sadness that last longer than 2 weeks, tell your doctor or a counselor.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
- You feel you cannot stop from hurting yourself or someone else.
Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:
- Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
- Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- Text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.
Consider saving these numbers in your phone.
Go to 988lifeline.org for more information or to chat online.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have severe vaginal bleeding.
- You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
- You have a fever.
- You have new or worse pain in your belly or pelvis.
- You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.
The type of treatment you have will affect what you should watch closely for. Be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You were given medicine to help the pregnancy tissue pass, and you don't bleed or pass tissue within 24 hours after taking the medicine.
- You had a surgical procedure to help remove pregnancy tissue, and you still feel pregnant 1 week after the procedure.
Where can you learn more?
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