If you have any concerns or questions about Miscarriages speak to your GP or midwife - this information is a general overview and not intended as professional medical advice.

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is when a pregnancy is lost before 24 weeks. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy, are the most common time for a miscarriage to occur.

What causes a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is usually caused by either a chromosomal abnormality, or when a baby fails to implant correctly in the womb. Age, lifestyle, medical conditions or multiple pregnancies are factors which can increase the risk of miscarriage. A miscarriage is not your fault. It is a chance happening, over which you have no control. If you have recurrent miscarriages it may be advisable to see your GP.

Symptoms of miscarriage

The symptoms of a miscarriage are vaginal bleeding, stomach cramps and back pain, and fluid loss. You may also find that pregnancy feelings and ailments cease. Please remember that although vaginal bleeding can signal a miscarriage, that is not always the case and your baby could be fine. See your GP as soon as possible.

How long will it last?

The bleeding normally lasts for 7-10 days. If the blood loss is heavier than a period or has a strong odour, then it would be wise to contact your GP. Your period will come after about 6 weeks.

Treatment after miscarriage

A D&C (dilation and curettage) or evacuation, is sometimes carried out after a miscarriage. This is to remove any remaining pregnancy tissue, to reduce the risk of infection. It is done under general anaesthetic. Any infection can be treated with antibiotics.

An alternative to a D&C, are tablets given in hospital, which aid the body in removing the remainder of the pregnancy.

In some cases you may be left to let your body pass the pregnancy tissue naturally.

You will also have a scan to check that no traces of your pregnancy have been retained.

Trying to conceive

It is advisable to wait until after your next period, before trying to conceive again. You may not feel ready so soon after your loss, so it is up to you as a couple, to decide when the time is right for you. You will be fertile before your period, so you will need to use contraception, if you don’t wish to become pregnant so early on.

Your feelings

Grief is a very personal thing and no two people will feel the same way. However there is no right or wrong way to feel following a misscarriage. You may find it helpful to go to see a counsellor.

You can also contact the miscarriage association helpline on 01924 200799, or the Scottish helpline on 0131 3348883, or see their website www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk . Other useful websites are www.babyloss.com and www.womenshealth.co.uk/miscarr.asp

A personal Diary of a Miscarriage

Zoe, the Baby Chaos Editor, suffered a miscarriage herself and has written a moving diary of this difficult time. Read the Diary of a Miscarriage >