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When a woman has a miscarriage, it’s obviously a tough time for her. Surviving a pregnancy loss can be challenging, both mentally and physically. If you have recently had a miscarriage, it can take you some time to recover fully. Your physical recovery will depend on how far along you were into the pregnancy when you miscarried. It can take from a few weeks to a couple of months for you to recover physically, and perhaps more (time) to heal emotionally. You can take your time to mourn, slowly get out of it, and plan a family again. But before that, you should try to recover fully. Find out how you can recover, both physically and emotionally after a miscarriage, and when can you plan for a baby again.
What to Expect After a Miscarriage
It can take you a few weeks or a month or more to recover from a miscarriage. Some women may take longer to recover. You will be drained both physically and emotionally. Post-miscarriage, here’s what your body and mind will go through:
1. Effects on Your Physical Health
- After a miscarriage, you might experience discomfort and bleed more than usual. The bleeding will be similar to menstrual bleeding and may last for a week or more since the foetus will be detached from the uterine lining. The duration of the bleeding will also depend on the type of a miscarriage, i.e., whether it was a medical or a surgical miscarriage. In case it lasts for more than two weeks, you should consult your doctor.
- You may notice spotting or light bleeding post a miscarriage.
- Your normal period will resume 3-6 weeks after the miscarriage, depending on your menstrual cycle.
- You may have severe lower abdominal pain, which may 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 as well.
- Your breasts might feel different. 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 discomfort. This discomfort shouldn’t last for more than a week. However, if it does, you should consult a doctor.
- The hCG hormone released during pregnancy can remain in your bloodstream for one or two months after the miscarriage and will come to zero only after the placental tissue separates completely.
- If the doctor had performed a D&C surgery, you might contract an infection. Dilation and curettage (D&C) is performed to remove the foetal tissue remaining in the uterus and to prevent vaginal infection from spreading in the uterus. If the remains are not removed, pelvic pain and vaginal discharge can happen. In case of pain, cramping, bleeding and fever, you should visit a doctor.
- The uterus will return to its normal size and the cervix will close 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 can cause severe pain and bleeding.
2. Effects on Your Emotional Health
- Guilt and anger would become your constant companions after a miscarriage. You might experience these strong feelings after your miscarriage. You may blame yourself for losing your baby. And w it sounds unreasonable, but sometimes, you will even 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.
- You might be in a state of denial and ask yourself, “How could this happen to you?” You may also refuse to believe that you lost your baby. This mental blockage happens to protect your psyche against trauma.
- Depression and a sense of despair may prevail after a miscarriage. After a miscarriage, many women go into depression. This causes prolonged periods of intense sorrow, a loss of interest in everyday activities, and a loss of appetite. You might wonder whether you’ll ever be able to have a baby again or not. And this might trigger a sense of hopelessness and vulnerability in you.
- After a couple of months, you will finally be able to accept what happened and will come out of that phase. 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 come out of it. You will 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 continuous bleeding after seven days, which might result in an infection. In any case, you should seek medical attention if you have a fever, abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or foul-smelling discharge persisting after the miscarriage.
How to Take Care of Yourself After a Miscarriage
Pregnancy loss can drain you emotionally and physically. You will lose interest in everything and would want to isolate yourself from everything and everyone. But taking care of yourself after a miscarriage is necessary if you want to recover completely. Your baby could not survive, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of your health. Below are some steps for physical and emotional recovery you should follow after a miscarriage:
1. Physical Recovery
After a miscarriage, you will experience cramps, pain, and bleeding up to 2 weeks. Here are some tips that will help you recover physically.
- Take Rest: You need time to heal as you have gone through a traumatising experience. So give yourself ample time to rest as much as you can. Drink warm milk if you are unable to fall asleep at night. You can also do some light exercises. This will help you sleep better.
- Take Medication: You will experience some degree of pain after your miscarriage. You can take painkiller tablets, but consult a doctor before taking them. If the pain does not go away but only increases, then you should definitely see your doctor.
- Try Hot or Cold Compress: Many women get bad headaches post a miscarriage. You can soothe your pain by applying a hot or cold compress on your head. A hot or cold compress can provide you with relief soon.
- 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 is a sign of an infection in the body.
- Maintain Proper Hygiene: You will bleed after a miscarriage. Use sanitary napkins rather than tampons post-miscarriage. You can risk a vaginal infection if you use tampons. So, avoid them. Also, take a shower or bath twice a day.
- Adopt a Healthy Diet: Make sure you eat foods rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fibres, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals in adequate amounts. Your body needs to recover and refuel itself after a miscarriage. Include eggs, cheese, red meat, poultry, coconut oil, butter and whole fruits and vegetables in your diet. As calcium levels also decrease during pregnancy, it is also important to include calcium-rich foods like milk, dry fruits, soy, and greens in your diet.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink at least eight glasses of water per day so that you stay hydrated. You can also have fruit juices, tea, and warm broth. Avoid caffeine and other caffeinated drinks as they might dehydrate you and affect your recovery.
- Avoid Sex for a Couple of Weeks: Avoid having sex in the first two weeks after the miscarriage as your body would be in the healing phase. 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 to try for another baby.
- Go for Regular Checkups: Visit your doctor regularly after your miscarriage so that you can be sure that you don’t have any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), bacterial infections, or problems that can stop you from getting pregnant again.
- Consider Getting a Massage: A fertility massage can also help increase circulation to the uterus and cervix and promote hormonal balance.
2. Emotional Recovery
Pregnancy loss can be hard for a woman. If you have had a miscarriage, you will experience a range of emotions: sadness, anger, depression, and resentfulness. But if you want to get pregnant again, you will have to recover completely. Physical recovery alone won’t help. Find out how you can help yourself come out of that deep tunnel of darkness.
- Take Doctor’s Help: The doctor is usually the first person who can help you after your miscarriage. She will explain to you all the reasons (like ovarian cysts, smoking, stress, etc.) that could have lead to pregnancy loss. This will help you prepare better for another pregnancy.
- Don’t Blame Yourself: A miscarriage is due to a medical abnormality and it is not your fault. You must accept that it happened because of some medical problem, and move on to plan a family in the future.
- Don’t Stress: After a miscarriage, your hormones won’t be stable and will take some time to get to normal. Your fluctuating hormones will make you irritable and moody. So try to distract yourself.
- Communicate: Don’t bottle up your grief; talk to your close ones. Say what you feel to people who are close to you, like your friend, family, or a professional. Remember to talk to your partner. He, too, has lost his 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 are physically up for it, start exercising. You can start small like go for walks or do yoga. Eventually, you can graduate to exercises, but only after consulting with a doctor.
- Take Medicines: In extreme cases of depression, your doctor can suggest treatment such as anti-depressants and psychotherapy and in very rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy. However, you should make an effort to come out of depression for emotional healing after a miscarriage.
How Long Can a Body Take to Heal After a Miscarriage?
It can take from a few days to several months for your body to heal completely 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.
No doubt, pregnancy loss is hard to accept, but you should remember that it does not ruin your life. You can always try for another baby. The time to plan for another baby will primarily depend on your recovery.
Getting Pregnant After a 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. When a woman’s reproductive period is nearing its end, the doctor may suggest trying for another baby as soon as the woman has one normal menstrual cycle. If you want to conceive, you must check with the doctor regarding your specific situation. There may be uterus scarring or placental pieces left behind in your uterus, in which case your doctor will suggest you to wait a little longer.
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 the recommended waiting time. Remind yourself that you will most likely get pregnant again and give birth to a healthy baby.
Precautions to Take Post Miscarriage
There are certain precautions that you will need to take after undergoing a miscarriage, especially to prevent future miscarriages and to remain physically and mentally fit. Follow the precautions listed 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, do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Also, limit your caffeine consumption.
- 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 your miscarriage. It will help prevent the chances of contracting any infections.
- If you develop a fever and have a high temperature, do not neglect it as it is a sign of an infection and may lead to infertility.
- Visit your doctor if the bleeding does not stop or if the pain persists for long. You should also check with your doctor about when you can try for another pregnancy.
How Soon Can You Resume Normal Activities After a Miscarriage?
You can resume normal activities as soon as you feel comfortable. Whether you had a surgical procedure to treat miscarriage or not, you should consult your doctor before you start with any strenuous exercise. You might get back to your regular routine in a couple of weeks, but you should avoid anything that affects your physical health. Abstain from sex and don’t put anything inside your vagina for a couple of weeks (or even later) to avoid infections. If you have any concern, do not hesitate to ask your doctor.
A miscarriage is extremely unfortunate. Losing a child is one of the worst things a woman can experience. But by being mentally and physically strong, you will get better soon. And the sooner you get better, the sooner you can try for another baby. For a majority of women, a miscarriage is a one-time thing and an indication of future fertility. So never lose hope.
Also Read: 10 Best Ways To Have Natural Miscarriage