What to Expect During & After a Pregnancy Loss
The height of a miscarriage involves heavy bleeding for several hours. It may begin with light spotting and cramping, or heavy bleeding may begin suddenly. You will pass large clots of blood and may have mild to heavy cramping. You may want to begin taking an over-the-counter painkiller or one that your doctor has prescribed early in the miscarriage to prevent cramping from escalating.
Most miscarriages can happen at home, though you should stay in contact with your OB/GYN or midwife. They may want you to go to the hospital if bleeding becomes heavy. You should also go to the hospital if you experience any foul odors or fevers that could indicate an infection requiring immediate treatment.
Following the period of heavy bleeding, lighter bleeding and spotting will continue over the course of a week or two, similar to your period.
If you learn of an impending miscarriage at your appointment, it may take several weeks before a miscarriage begins naturally. If your pregnancy was in the early stages, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a medication such as Misoprostol to cause uterine contractions and expulsion.
Or, if you don't miscarry naturally after several weeks, your doctor may schedule you for a D&C procedure, or dilation and curettage, in order to complete the miscarriage.
You will have a follow up appointment several weeks after your miscarriage to make sure everything has passed. A blood test will ensure that your hormone levels have normalized. Some miscarriages are incomplete and require a surgical procedure, usually a D&C, to remove remaining tissues.
If you're Rh negative, you may need a Rh immune globulin shot within 72 hours of your miscarriage to ensure you don't have problems in your next pregnancy.
You can usually start having sex about four weeks after a miscarriage and your period will likely come back after six weeks. Though it's possible to get pregnant immediately following a miscarriage, your healthcare provider may recommend you wait a full menstrual cycle before you try to get pregnant again to allow time for physical healing.