Miscarriage pain involves physical and, invisible, but more deeply injuring, emotional pain. We will help you understand what you or a loved one might be experiencing or will experience as miscarriage progresses.
Physical - Miscarriage Pain
The physical pain experienced can vary from woman to woman. Also, this can differ depending on how far along the pregnancy is.
When I miscarried at 2 1/2 weeks I had no real cramping - just what I would call a deep ache. As I suddenly hemorrhaged and everything came out - I was very weak. Miscarriage pain at 2 1/2 months was very different.
With my miscarriage at 11 weeks, I started spotting "real blood". This went on for 2 days and my midwife very specifically asked me "are you experiencing any cramping"? At this point I wasn't.
Slowly, on the third day cramping started. As the hours passed they increased in length and intensity, until they climaxed into horrible contractions that felt like labor pains. It felt to me like I was giving birth and it lasted a couple of hours.
I was told by the doctor that D&C is not always necessary. In fact it's better to wait a week, and in most cases your body will expel all tissue on its own. This is better for your body because D&C can leave scar tissue which can make getting pregnant again difficult.
Heavy bleeding continued for me 5 days - the miscarriage was incomplete at this time. I was amazed that, on that 5th day when I passed two very large clots - my miscarriage was complete, and I experienced no more bleeding. A follow up ultrasound on that 5th day confirmed the completion.
Experts say vaginal bleeding may last up to one week, and your period should return within 1 month. My period returned 2 weeks, to the day, after my miscarriage had completed.
If fever, bleeding or pain continues after your miscarriage is complete it is recommended you report it, as these symptoms could indicate infection.
Depending on how far along you are, you may experience breast discomfort, to varying degrees. This is because your body starts preparing to breastfeed your baby long before she comes out to you.
You can check the box to the right for "miscarriage gifts" that might bring you some comfort.
To help control miscarriage pain associated with the risk of infection some health care providers give the following suggestions:
Until the bleeding has stopped,
Within the first few days, my greatest physical solace came from soothing, warm baths. When I was released from the hospital I was given no instruction - I asked. Upon doing some research for myself after a couple of days, I came across the above suggestions. I was confused and concerned.
My midwife shed light on the reason for the above recommendations. Miscarriage prompts your body into birth mode - the vagina dilates and opens making it more vulnerable to infection from outside sources. It's true! I felt that odd feeling of dilation, and I stayed "open" for 5 days until my miscarriage had completed - then I felt it close.
Never had my midwife, in all her years in the midwifery field, heard of a lady developing an infection from having a bath after miscarriage. I also read the experiences of many women who did have baths in those first few days after miscarriage and had no problem. I made the personal choice to continue having baths but wouldn't presume to make a recommendation for you.
Emotional - Miscarriage Pain
The darker side of miscarriage pain is emotional. Perhaps you feel grief, as I, the range of emotions that comes with the death of the unborn baby that you had already started bonding with - hoped and dreamed of holding.
Your initial reaction may be shock, disbelief, denial, numbness, guilt, anger or a combination of these emotions. Even as I was at the climax of my miscarriage and lay in the hospital with the doctor pulling out tissue that was already almost out, I really believed we were going to somehow cheat death - I was in denial.
When I got over the disbelief I had feelings of guilt and anger. I made myself crazy carefully reviewing, over and over again, what I had done within the week prior to the start of the bleeding. I felt I must have done something to make this happen.
I also had anger issues. There must have been something that could have been done to stop my miscarriage, I felt. I was angry that I didn't know what to do and angry that my midwife didn't tell me what to do.
Talking to my midwife about this really helped. She explained that miscarriage in early pregnancy cannot be stopped mid-stream - once it has started there is nothing anyone can do.
She also assured me that the tiring walk we took a few day prior as a family was not to blame - the fetus is well protected in the womb. Upon reflection, I recalled being pregnant with my first child. Because I didn't know I was pregnant until I was almost 3 months, I did crazy pregnancy things like jumping 10 feet off a large rock into a cold lake, and tubing starting at the top of a 20 foot waterfall. I had no pregnancy issues then.
Yes, I can say from experience that miscarriage is torment. Like myself, you might be experiencing miscarriage pain - both physical but more especially emotional pain that tears you apart - please know, you are not alone.
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