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Surviving a miscarriage can be extremely difficult and taxing, both mentally and physically. You feel devoid of all emotion, an urge to isolate yourself from everyone else and more that all this, you experience a deep sense of grief and mourning for your lost child.
In the midst of all this, your body is also recovering from the experience. Your recovery will depend on how far along you were when you miscarried. But don’t worry, there is hope. You can take your time to mourn, slowly get out of it and plan a family again. Nothing is impossible.
In this article, we will discuss on how to emotionally and physically heal yourself after a miscarriage, precautions to take after it and getting pregnant again after the miscarriage, once you are ready.
After-Effects Of Miscarriage
It usually takes a few weeks or a month to recover from a miscarriage. During that time, you may experience the following after-effects:
1. Effects On Physical Health
- Bleeding from the vagina, similar to period bleeding, may last for a week after the miscarriage since the foetus has detached from the uterine lining. The duration of the bleeding depends on whether it was a medical or a surgical miscarriage. In case it lasts for more than two weeks, you should consult your doctor.
- Spotting or light bleeding may happen post that.
- Your normal period will resume 3-6 weeks after the miscarriage, depending on your menstrual cycle.
- Pain in your lower abdomen can last up to 2 days after your miscarriage. This pain is similar to the one you experience during period cramps and can extend to your lower back.
- There may be an uncomfortable feeling in your breasts. They may get engorged or leak milk (if your pregnancy had lasted longer than 12 weeks). When that happens, a supportive bra or ice packs may help relieve some of the discomfort.
- The hCG hormone released during pregnancy can remain in your bloodstream for one or two months after miscarriage and will come to zero only after the placental tissue has been completely separated.
- Infections may happen after a miscarriage if it was a D&C surgery. The surgery is done to remove the foetal tissue remaining in the uterus so as to prevent vaginal infection traveling to the uterus. If the remains are not removed, pelvic pain and vaginal discharge can happen. In case of bad pain, cramping, bleeding and fever, you should see a doctor immediately.
- The uterus returns to its normal size and the cervix closes two weeks after a miscarriage. Massaging the uterine area will help the uterus go back to its normal size. In some cases, if the contents of the uterus are not emptied, incomplete miscarriage will happen which causes severe pain and bleeding to occur.
2. Effects On Emotional Health
- Guilt and anger: You might experience these strong feelings after your miscarriage. You may blame yourself for losing your baby or unreasonable as it might be, you may be tempted to blame others – your parents, God, or even your doctor. You might also feel resentful or envious of other pregnant women around you.
- Shock and denial: There may be a sense of denial within you, a ‘this couldn’t have happened to me’ feeling. You will experience disbelief and refuse to believe that you lost your baby. This mental blockage happens to protect your psyche against trauma.
- Depression and despair: After a miscarriage, many women go into depression. This will cause long periods of intense sorrow, a loss of interest in everyday activities and a loss of appetite. You may doubt whether you’ll ever be able to have a baby again and feel a sense of hopelessness and vulnerability.
- Acceptance: After experiencing all the above emotions in various degrees, there will come a day when you will be able to accept your loss. You will never forget it but you will be able to be calm, get back to your life and move on.
There are also certain complications which may arise after a miscarriage. It may be an incomplete miscarriage or post-D&C surgery complications or continued bleeding after seven days which may develop into an infection. In any case, you should seek medical attention if you have the symptoms of fever, abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or foul smelling discharge persisting after the miscarriage.
How To Take Care Of Yourself After Miscarriage
How to take care of yourself after a miscarriage should be the first thing you should focus on after you lose your baby. Unfortunately, your baby went to heaven but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of your health too. Cramping pains and bleeding up to 2 weeks are usually the after effects. Below are some steps for physical and emotional recovery you should follow, after miscarriage:
1. Physical Recovery
- Rest: You need time to heal as you have gone through a tough and traumatizing experience. So give yourself time to rest as much as you can. Drink warm milk if you find yourself unable to sleep at night. You can also do light exercises.
- Medication: You will experience some degree of pain after your miscarriage. You can take painkiller tablets but you must consult your doctor before using them. If your pain does not go away but increases, then you should definitely see your doctor.
- Hot and cold compresses: Many women get bad headaches post-miscarriage. You can soothe your pain by applying hot and cold compresses to your head.
- Monitor your temperature: For the first five days after your miscarriage, check your body temperature. If it rises beyond 99.7°F, then go to your doctor as a fever may indicate an infection in your body.
- Maintain proper hygiene: Use sanitary napkins rather than tampons for your bleeding post miscarriage. You can risk a vaginal infection if you use tampons. You also must shower or bathe once or twice a day.
- Adopt a healthy diet: Make sure your meals contain proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fibres, fats and essential vitamins and minerals. Your body needs to rebuild and refuel itself after miscarriage. Eggs, cheese, red meat, poultry, coconut oil, butter and whole fruits and vegetables are a healthy diet. Calcium levels go down during pregnancy so it is important to have calcium rich foods like milk, dry fruits, soya and greens.
- Stay hydrated: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day so that your body replenishes its water. You can also have fruit juices, tea and warm broths. Avoid caffeine as it will not work on healing your body.
- Sex after miscarriage: Avoid sex in the first two weeks after miscarriage as your body is still healing. Wait for the bleeding to stop and the cervix to close. It is imperative that you consult your doctor on when to have sexual intercourse again or try for another baby again.
- Do regular check-ups: Make sure to go for regular check-ups to your doctor after your miscarriage so that you can be sure you won’t have any STD’s, bacterial infections or problems that stop you from getting pregnant again.
- A fertility massage can also help to increase circulation to the uterus and cervix and promote hormonal balance.
2. Emotional Recovery
- Doctor’s help: The doctor is usually the first person who can help you after your miscarriage. He can explain to you all the reasons (ovary cysts, too much smoking, stress etc.) of why it happened, so that you can avoid it in your next pregnancy.
- Never blame yourself: Miscarriage is due to a medical abnormality and not the mother’s fault. You must accept that and move on to plan a family in the future.
- Keep away from stress: After a miscarriage, your hormones are still not stable and will take some time to get to normal. Try not to focus too much on the physical and mental pain as it will make you moody and irritable.
- Talk to others: Don’t bottle up all the grief after miscarriage. Vent your feelings out to people who are close to you, like your friend, family or a professional. Remember to talk to your partner. He, too, has lost a child. Talking about it will help both of you heal and move on.
- Exercise: Moving your body releases endorphins and can help you overcome stress. So once you feel physically up for it, start small walks and runs. You can graduate to vigorous exercises after a word with your doctor.
- Identify the reason for your emotion: Be honest with why you are you are grieved. Was it because you desperately wanted a baby? Or you are above 35 years? Or have you had an earlier miscarriage? Identifying the root cause is the first step to acceptance.
- Medication: In extreme cases of depression, your doctor can suggest treatment such as anti-depressants, psychotherapy or in very rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy. That said, you should make every effort to come out of depression for emotional healing after miscarriage.
How Long Can A Body Take To Heal After Miscarriage
It takes from a few days to several months for your body to heal after a miscarriage. Vaginal bleeding can last a week and lower abdominal pain for up to two days. Mental healing will depend on the emotional bond shared by the mother with the foetus. It is important to give yourself time. Mourning is normal. Gradually you will start to accept your loss and feel better with time.
A miscarriage does not ruin life. You can always try again for another baby. The timing will depend on how long you take to move away from the pain.
Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
Doctors usually advise women to wait for a few months before trying to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. But the uterus is quite resilient. So now doctors also say that you can try again for a baby as soon as you’ve had one normal menstrual cycle. But it is best to check with the doctor regarding your specific situation. There may be uterus scarring or placental pieces left behind in your uterus, in which case the doctor will advise a longer wait.
Not only does your body need to be fully healthy before trying to get pregnant again after a miscarriage, but your emotions also need to be stable again. If you are deeply wounded, then six months to a year would be a recommended waiting time. Remind yourself that you will most likely get pregnant again and give birth to a healthy baby. Even among women who have had four pregnancy losses, about 65% have a successful following pregnancy.
Precautions To Take Post Miscarriage
There are certain precautions to follow after undergoing a miscarriage, especially to prevent future miscarriages and to remain physically and mentally fit. We have listed some below –
- Do not try to conceive until you have completed at least one menstrual cycle.
- Regularly exercise and keep your weight consistent
- If you get pregnant again, absolutely avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine consumption. Since you have already had a miscarriage, make all efforts to prevent another one.
- Consult your doctor and take prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements every day.
- Watch out for vaginal discharge which is not normal.
- Avoid physical intimacy until you overcome the effects of miscarriage. This also helps prevent infections.
- If you develop a fever and have high fever, do not neglect it as it can be an infection and may lead to infertility.
- See your doctor if you have bleeding or pain that persists or is more than normal after 7 days. You should also have a thorough session with your doctor on when to start trying to get pregnant again.
A miscarriage is extremely unfortunate. Losing a child is always one of the worst things a mother can experience. But always remember, though, to keep faith. Being mentally and physically strong will help you get better soon. And the sooner you get better, the sooner you can try for another baby. For a vast majority of women, a miscarriage is a one-time thing and actually an indication of future fertility. So never lose hope.
Also Read: 10 Best Ways To Have Natural Miscarriage