October is National Miscarriage Awareness Month. If your life has been impacted by miscarriage, we are so sorry. Please know, you’re not alone! There is hope and healing after miscarriage. Essential Pregnancy Services (EPS) is here for you during such a time as this.


Free Ultrasounds in Omaha, NE

If you think you might be experiencing a miscarriage, don’t wait to reach out for help! Although we offer free ultrasounds, we cannot complete an ultrasound scan on anyone we believe may be miscarrying. We refer all clients to the ER or to their medical provider and recommend same-day appointments. So, if you are bleeding, cramping, or have a history of ectopic pregnancy, please call your health provider for immediate attention. For all other inquiries, CALL or TEXT our helpline to speak with an EPS nurse now.

 

What is Miscarriage? How Common is Miscarriage?

Many women want to understand signs to look for when experiencing a miscarriage, and what to do next.

Miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy[1]. An estimated 23 million miscarriages happen each year globally–that’s about 44 miscarriages per minute[2]. Up to 10 percent of confirmed pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage[3], though the amount of all pregnancies that end in miscarriage is likely higher because many women miscarry very early, before they even realize they’re pregnant.


What are the Symptoms of a Miscarriage?

In some cases, women don’t realize they’ve miscarried because they didn’t experience any obvious symptoms. Others may show more obvious signs[4]:

– A sudden drop in pregnancy symptoms
– Painful abdominal or lower back cramps
– Vaginal bleeding
– Fluid or tissue passing from the vagina

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately to receive treatment!


How are Miscarriages Diagnosed and Treated?

Miscarriage Testing

There are a variety of tests that can be done to diagnose a miscarriage. To begin, your doctor may do a pelvic exam to see if your cervix has started to dilate. They may also perform a(n)[5]:

Ultrasound. Ultrasounds determine if the embryo is developing properly and detect the fetal heartbeat. If a heartbeat can’t be found, it’s possible that a miscarriage has occurred.
Tissue test. If you’ve passed tissue, your doctor can have it tested to confirm that a miscarriage occurred.
Blood test. A blood test can measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (also known as the pregnancy hormone) in your system and compare it to your previous levels. Low HCG levels indicate a miscarriage has occurred.


Miscarriage Diagnosis

Based on your results, your doctor may diagnose you with a(n):

Threatened miscarriage. A threatened miscarriage indicates the potential for a miscarriage. In this condition, your cervix hasn’t started to dilate, but you are experiencing bleeding and abdominal cramps. These pregnancies usually continue without further problems[5], but your doctor may closely monitor your condition for the rest of your pregnancy.
Missed miscarriage. A missed miscarriage (also known as a silent miscarriage) happens when the embryo stops developing in the uterus. If you’ve had a missed miscarriage, you won’t experience any symptoms. However, an ultrasound confirms that there is no fetal heartbeat.
Inevitable miscarriage. When your miscarriage symptoms can’t be stopped, it’s considered an inevitable miscarriage.
Complete miscarriage. If all the pregnancy tissue has been expelled from your uterus, the miscarriage is complete.
Incomplete miscarriage. If you’ve passed most of the fetal tissue but some remains in your uterus, the miscarriage is incomplete.
Septic miscarriage. If you develop an infection in your uterus, it’s known as a septic miscarriage. This condition can be severe and requires immediate medical attention.


Miscarriage Treatment

Your miscarriage treatment options depend on the kind of miscarriage you’re having. Your doctor may recommend[5]:

Bed rest. Bed rest is normally recommended for women experiencing threatened miscarriages. You may also need to avoid traveling, sex, and exercise. While not proven to prevent miscarriage, bed rest can keep you from overworking yourself and help you relax.
Medical treatment. Those experiencing an inevitable miscarriage have the option to speed the process up. Your doctor may administer misoprostol to help you expel the pregnancy tissue, which usually happens within 24 hours of taking the medication.
Expectant management. If you aren’t experiencing any signs of infection, you can let the miscarriage progress naturally. This can last up to a month and can be an exhausting process, so be in touch with your doctor and lean on loved ones for support. If your body can’t pass all the pregnancy tissue, you may need surgery to prevent an infection.
Surgical treatment. A dilation and curettage (D&C) may be used to treat a septic miscarriage. In this procedure, your doctor dilates your cervix and removes the remaining tissue from your uterus.


Miscarriage Pain and Bleeding

Frequently Asked Questions

How Painful are Miscarriages?
Every woman’s situation is different. Some compare their miscarriage to a heavy period, while others experience very intense cramps[4]. It largely depends on the type of miscarriage you’re having. For example, a woman who has a missed miscarriage won’t experience any pain, while a woman who’s having an inevitable miscarriage will have noticeable symptoms.

How Long Does Bleeding Last After a Miscarriage?
The amount of time the bleeding lasts depends on how far along you were in your pregnancy. The bleeding of a later miscarriage can last up to two weeks, while the bleeding of an early miscarriage may only last for a few hours.

Regardless of how long the bleeding lasts, it can feel terrifying and devastating. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor and your loved ones to get the care and support you need!


Coping with Miscarriage

Though physical pain fades, the emotional pain of miscarriage often has the largest impact. Studies have found that many women blame themselves for their miscarriages, leading to depression and anxiety[6].

Please know that your miscarriage was not your fault. You don’t have to hold your pain or work through your feelings by yourself! There are many ways to find healing and hope after pregnancy loss. For example:

Take care of your physical health. Drink plenty of water, eat nutritious food, and maintain a healthy sleep schedule to help your body physically recover. Once you feel up to it, participate in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and provide an emotional release.
Protect your mental health. It’s important to protect yourself from emotional triggers during this fragile time. Try to avoid heavy media (such as TV shows, movies, or podcasts). You also can take a break from social media if posts about pregnancy and motherhood are too difficult for you to see.
Allow yourself to grieve. Don’t push yourself to move on before you’re ready to. Take all the time you need to acknowledge and process your emotions. Be aware that you may experience a lot of emotional ups and downs on your path to healing–and that’s okay!
Consider memorializing your baby. Many women feel like they’ve lost a baby after a miscarriage. Recognizing the loss in a meaningful way may bring you some closure. For example, you could host a memorial service or make a donation to charity in honor of your baby.

We recommend seeking out a therapist or support group as you cope with your loss. Speaking with someone about your experience can provide healing and help you to remember that you are not alone. EPS has counseling and grief support available to you. CALL or TEXT our helpline to connect with an EPS nurse.

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SOURCES

1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020, December 2). Miscarriage. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001488.htm

2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, April 27). Miscarriage matters: The epidemiological, physical, psychological, and economic costs of early pregnancy loss. Pubmed.gov. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33915094/

3. Dugas, C., & Slane, V. H. (2022, June 27). Miscarriage. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532992/

4. Miscarriage: Causes, symptoms, risks, treatment & prevention. Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9688-miscarriage

5. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 16). Miscarriage. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354304

6. Emotional Healing After a Miscarriage: A Guide for Women, Partners, Family, and Friends. Georgetown University School of Nursing. (2020, October 5). Retrieved from https://online.nursing.georgetown.edu/blog/emotional-healing-after-miscarriage-guide-women-partners-family-friends/