It is important to be alert to the symptoms of a miscarriage so that you can seek medical evaluation. If you are having symptoms of a miscarriage, avoid sexual activity (called pelvic rest) and strenuous activity until your symptoms have been evaluated by a doctor.
- Lightheadedness or a feeling that you are about to pass out.
- Restlessness, confusion, or signs of fear.
- Shallow, rapid breathing.
- Moist, cool skin or possibly profuse sweating.
- Thirst, nausea, or vomiting.
- Abnormal increase in heart rate.
Your doctor may ask you to collect any expelled clots or tissue, if possible, in a clean container. The clots may be examined to see if you have passed fetal tissue.
After a miscarriage
The most common miscarriage complications are excessive bleeding and infection.
It is normal to have mild or moderate 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.
Call your doctor immediately if you have recently been treated for a miscarriage and you are experiencing:
- Severe vaginal bleeding without signs of shock. If your doctor does not respond immediately, or if you do not have a doctor, have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room.
- Symptoms of infection. These symptoms include:
- Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
- Moderate to severe abdominal (belly) pain or cramping.
- Vaginal discharge that smells bad.
Coping with a miscarriage
It is normal to go through a grieving process after a miscarriage, regardless of the length of your pregnancy. Guilt, anxiety, and sadness are common and normal reactions after a miscarriage. It is also normal to want to know why a miscarriage has happened. In most cases a miscarriage is a natural event that could not have been prevented.
To help you and your family cope with your loss, consider meeting with a support group, reading about the experiences of other mothers, and talking to friends or a counselor or member of the clergy. For more information, see the topic Grief and Grieving.
Your local bookstore or library may have books on coping with miscarriage. Also, your doctor will be able to address your questions and concerns about the miscarriage.
The intensity and duration of the grief varies from woman to woman. But most women find that they can return to the daily demands of life in a fairly short time. The loss and the hormonal swings that result from a miscarriage can cause symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad and hopeless and losing interest in daily activities. It is important to call your doctor if you have symptoms of depression that last for more than a couple of weeks.
A healthy, full-term pregnancy is possible for most women who have had a miscarriage. This is true even after repeated miscarriages. If you want to become pregnant again, check with your doctor or nurse-midwife. Most health professionals recommend waiting until you have had at least one normal menstrual period before trying to become pregnant after a miscarriage.