In the days and weeks following your miscarriage your body will need time to recover. The time it takes to recover will differ for each person and depend on your personal circumstances. It’s important to give your body the time it needs to recover and heal.
Once you are no longer pregnant, your body will gradually return to a non-pregnant state. Each person’s physical recovery after miscarriage will be different. It will depend on how far along with your pregnancy, the treatment you had, and your underlying general physical and mental health. It is essential you take care of yourself physically after a miscarriage and give your body the time it needs to recover and heal.
These are some of the things you can expect as you recover physically after miscarriage.
What should I have at home?
We suggest having the following at home:
- Pads (not tampons) – you may want to purchase a few packs as you may be changing your pad regularly.
- Pain relief medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Time to rest
- Someone to support you if possible – it can be a very emotionally and physically draining time for you in the days and weeks after a miscarriage. Having someone around to support you can be helpful. But we understand that this is not always possible.
Pain and Bleeding
It is normal to have pain and bleeding after a miscarriage. You can expect some cramps (like intense period pains) in your lower tummy on the day of your miscarriage. The pain should improve within 24 to 48 hours when the bleeding will begin to reduce. It could take up to 2 weeks before the bleeding or spotting stops completely.
Your doctor or specialist will advise you on how to take care of yourself after your miscarriage. Generally, you will be informed you need to:
- Avoid sex for 2 weeks until the bleeding stops – you can return to having penetrative sex again once the bleeding has stopped and you are physically and emotionally ready to do so.
- Avoid swimming or taking a bath until the bleeding stops
- Use sanitary pads instead of tampons.
You should expect your period to return to its normal cycle within 4-6 weeks.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please go to emergency or call 000 immediately
- You are soaking 1 to 2 pads in an hour
- You are passing large blood clots (golf ball size)
- You have severe abdominal pain
- You have a fever or chills
- You are feeling dizzy or fainting
- You have signs of infection e.g. a fever or a vaginal discharge that is smelly
Pain relief and anti-sickness medication can assist with the symptoms. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol (‘Panadol’) or Ibuprofen (“Nurofen” or “Rafen”) will be enough to help manage the pain.
Follow up with your doctor or specialist
Around 4-6 weeks after your miscarriage, see your doctor or specialist for a follow-up appointment. During this appointment, they will make sure you are recovering physically from your miscarriage and discuss any concerns you may have about future pregnancies.
This one-on-one can be the opportunity to discuss how you are coping emotionally. If you feel that you are having difficulty managing the intensity of your feelings or need some support, talking to a mental health professional may help. Pregnancy support counselling is available through referral from your GP for anyone who is pregnant or has been pregnant in the last 12 months (for each pregnancy). You are entitled to up to 3 x 30-minute sessions either with an eligible doctor, psychologist, social worker, or mental health nurse through Medicare.
You can use this website to find a counselling or psychology service near you. It is best to check with the providers as the rebate may cover some costs.
If you require ongoing mental health support, your doctor may assess your eligibility for a mental health care plan. This plan entitles you to up to 20 Medicare subsidised counselling sessions per annum. For more information, please check this Medicare page on Mental Health Care.