Options for care after miscarriage (under 20 weeks)
A natural miscarriage is when your baby or tissue passes on its own. This can start at any time and be complete within hours or it could take several weeks.
You may have very painful cramps, bleeding, and pass clots or a recognizable baby in its sac.
You can take acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen (like Advil or Motrin) for the pain. Follow the directions on the package when taking any medicine.
There are medical options to induce (cause) contractions. These options include misoprostol, mifepristone, or a combination of these medicines.
You may feel cramping when the medicine starts to work. The intensity of cramping is different for everyone. For some, it feels like menstrual period cramps. For others, the cramps are stronger and painful, like labour pain. If you have a lot of pain, contact your healthcare provider.
There are also surgical options for care, such as a procedure called
dilation and curettage (D&C). This may be needed depending on your situation.
A D&C is a short procedure done in the operating room or procedure room. Usually it’s done by a gynecologist, a doctor who specializes in care and treatment of female reproductive concerns. You are usually given medicine to control pain and to help you relax. Your cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the lining of your uterus. After the procedure, you’ll feel a little sleepy and have some cramping and bleeding. You’ll usually go home on the same day.
Care after a medical or surgical procedure for miscarriage
If you’ve been given a medicine to start your labour (induction) or had a D&C, you can expect some light bleeding or spotting for up to 4 weeks. After your miscarriage, keep using sanitary pads. Don’t use tampons or put anything in your vagina until your doctor says it’s safe to do so.
It’s important to keep your genital area clean to help prevent infections. Use a spray bottle with warm water in it to rinse yourself. Change your pads often. If you’re still bleeding or have vaginal discharge, don’t go in a swimming pool or hot tub. Showers and short baths are fine.
Your healthcare team
Whether you’re having a miscarriage or have been told that you’ve had a miscarriage,
support and services are available. Some of these may depend on where you live.
Obstetrician, family doctor, genetics counsellor, nurse practitioner, or midwife:
- provide diagnosis and support for pregnancy losses
- help with testing, referrals, or follow-up care
Early pregnancy assessment clinics:
- provide assessment and testing
- discuss treatment options
- support for losses under 20 weeks
Pregnancy and Infant Loss programs:
- grief support through individual or couples counselling after a pregnancy or infant loss
- group support for parents
- memorial services and events of remembrance
- mementos program for parents and family members who have experienced a pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death
Emergency department or urgent care:
- provide urgent or emergency care when there is an urgent situation or medical emergency such as heavy bleeding or signs of infection (like fever over 38°C or vaginal discharge that smells bad). Learn more about when to get help right away.
Your healthcare team will help you find resources, offer support, and answer your questions. Your physical and emotional health are important. There are no right or wrong questions or decisions.