Miscarriage: Care Instructions

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Picture of the female reproductive system

Overview

For some, the loss of a pregnancy can be very hard. You may wonder why it happened. Miscarriages are common and are not caused by exercise, stress, or sex. Most happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop normally.

There is no treatment that can stop a miscarriage. If you are having a miscarriage, you have several options. As long as you do not have heavy blood loss, fever, weakness, or other signs of infection, you can let a miscarriage follow its own course. This can take several days. If you don't want to wait, you can take medicine to help the pregnancy tissue pass. Or you can have a surgical procedure to remove the tissue.

Your body will recover over the next several weeks. Having a miscarriage does not mean you cannot have a normal pregnancy in the future.

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 some vaginal bleeding for 1 to 2 weeks. It may be similar to or slightly heavier than a normal period. The bleeding should get lighter after a week. 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. Read and follow all instructions on the label. You may have cramps for several days after the miscarriage.
  • 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 if you are not using birth control.
  • 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. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli. 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. If you need help coping, talking to family members, friends, a counselor, or your doctor may help.

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 have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain in your belly or pelvis.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.