Pregnancy loss

Miscarriage self-help

Many things can go wrong in early pregnancy. About 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. In a lot of cases the baby wasn’t developing normally and very often it is nature’s way of ending a pregnancy which wouldn’t have carried on.

Most of the time we don’t know what causes a miscarriage and there is nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening.  This may have been a complete shock to you especially if you did not have any signs that anything was wrong.

It can be an extremely difficult and emotional time for you and your family and can result in a wide range of feelings that usually come in stages. Common feelings are:

  • Shock and denial Feelings of numbness and disbelief are common.
  • Anger You may be angry with yourself, your partner or the doctors. You may find yourself angry with friends, relatives, or co-workers for little things that usually don’t upset you.
  • Guilt You may feel you did something to cause the miscarriage.  If you took medicine, alcohol, smoke or over exerted yourself- perhaps before you knew you were pregnant. You might blame yourself for the miscarriage.  If you had mixed feelings about being pregnant you may feel ashamed of the relief you feel along with your sadness.
  • Lack of control You might feel powerless or out of control.  You may keep thinking What if?  Or Why?
  • Acceptance Coming to terms with the loss you feel is a painful but very important step. This will allow you to heal and build hope for the future.

Self-care after a miscarriage

  • Give yourself a chance to heal both physically and emotionally. Get lots of rest especially in the first 24-48 hours.
  • You may have bleeding for the first few days. Always use sanitary pads (not tampons) and change them regularly. The bleeding may be heavy initially but should settle down.  If you start to lose blood clots or soaking through pads (3 in an hour) and start to feel faint or dizzy please seek medical assistance.  If at any time the blood-loss is smelly and you feel hot, like you have a temperature, please contact your GP.
  • Take simple analgesia for pain relief/cramps. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are effective. You may find a hot water bottle or microwaveable heat pack can help. If the pain is severe and not settled by analgesia please contact your GP.
  • Avoid sex for at least 2 weeks or until bleeding has settled. This is to prevent infection. It’s a good idea to use condoms then, until your next period has come, even though you may want to try for another baby soon.
  • Give yourself permission to grieve.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Eat well balanced meals.
  • Ask for what you need. Talk to your partner, friends and relatives.
  • Rituals may comfort you in your loss.  The Miscarriage Association suggests special ways of remembering your baby.
  • Talk to your health care professional.  There are lots of support groups and help available.

Support available

The Lily Mae Foundation supports Parents and Families who have tragically and traumatically lost a baby to Stillbirth, Neonatal Death or Medical Termination.

Edwards Trust are supporting children and families facing loss and surviving bereavement across the West Midlands.

Miscarriage Association Support people affected by miscarriage, molar pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy.

Tommy’s support people who have experienced a miscarriage.