If things go wrong and you are worried…
You’re less than 12 weeks pregnant and experiencing some bleeding or pain. You worry…..
Period type pain is quite common in early pregnancy and generally isn’t anything to worry about. Your womb is expanding rapidly which can cause cramp-like pains. Experiencing slightly pink or brown coloured bleeding in early pregnancy is very common as well.
When the conception attaches to the lining of the uterus, this can cause some bleeding (implantation bleeding). Intercourse, constipation or a sneezing fit can result in slight vaginal bleeding too. This comes from the neck of the womb, or cervix, which bleeds easily in pregnancy.
When you are losing quite a lot of clear blood, there’s a 50% chance of the pregnancy ending in a miscarriage. The reason for a miscarriage in the first 12 weeks is almost always a chromosomal abnormality in the baby. Consequently, the pregnancy cannot develop correctly and stops progressing.
When a foetus stops developing at a very early stage in pregnancy, bleeding doesn’t always occur. This means that the first scan will show you that sadly you have lost your pregnancy. In some cases, certain symptoms and signs clearly indicate a miscarriage. In other cases we will need to perform a scan in order to diagnose correctly.
Blood loss and cramping during miscarriage
If you miscarry naturally, your womb will contract. These cramps will push out the pregnancy tissue. This means you will lose a considerable amount of clear blood often containing some clots as well. The pain and blood loss will gradually increase. Once the womb has emptied itself as much as possible, the cramping and blood loss will subside fairly quickly.
Cramping caused by miscarriage can be quite painful so make sure to take appropriate painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Call us when you are (likely to be) miscarrying, when:
You are losing a lot of clear vaginal blood; you’re using up more than one sanitary towel per half hour and / or feel light-headed.
Severe stomach or back pain that doesn’t improve with paracetamol
You have been losing clear blood for more than 7 days
About 10 days after a miscarriage, we can perform a scan in order to find out whether the womb is empty and has settled again. You can also take a pregnancy test which should show a negative result about 2 weeks after the bleeding has stopped.
A diagnosed miscarriage. Now what?
If you find out you have lost your pregnancy during your scan, you can decide you want to wait and see whether the miscarriage happens naturally. If you prefer not to wait, we will refer you to a gynaecologist for treatment. A hospital usually gives you two treatment options. You can use medication to provoke the process of the miscarriage or you can make an appointment for a Dilation and Curettage (D&C). A D&C is a small vaginal operation to remove the remains of your pregnancy from your uterus. This can be done under a general or a local anaesthetic. Together with your gynaecologist you will decide which procedure is the right one for you.
Many women experience one or several miscarriages in their lives: one in every ten pregnancies ends in a miscarriage at an early stage. The risk of miscarrying increases with age. A miscarriage cannot be stopped or prevented. There is nothing you can do yourself to prevent a miscarriage from happening and there is no possible treatment either. The cause is usually, after all, a baby that didn’t develop properly.
Take time to let it sink in and do whatever feels right
It is important to take enough time to deal with your miscarriage and the grief it has caused. Do whatever feels right. Some people just want to stay in bed for a week whereas others rather hold on to their daily routine. Whatever happens, make sure you can part with your pregnancy in a way that is meaningful to you.
The period after a miscarriage can still be hard too. Sadness, guilt, disbelief, anger and emptiness are very common emotions. Everyone deals with these feelings at their own pace. You can always call us if you need to. We can arrange an appointment a couple of weeks after you had the miscarriage if you have any questions or worries.
After a miscarriage
Your physical recovery after a miscarriage or D&C is usually quite quick. You can experience slight blood loss or brown discharge for about one to six weeks. Generally, you should get your first period again after four to six weeks.
In the past, women were advised to wait a couple of cycles before trying for a baby again. Recent research, however, shows that pregnancies that conceive shortly after a miscarriage are more likely to be successful. So from a medical point of view it is not necessary to wait, but it is important you have taken enough time to grieve over your miscarriage.
You might feel more insecure during a next pregnancy. If you want, we could book an early scan just to check whether we can see a heartbeat. This can be done from about 7 weeks.