This is the second part of a three-part series on miscarriage. Read part 1 on how to support a friend who has gone through a miscarriage. Part 3 will discuss spiritual considerations during miscarriage.
The information contained in this post may be difficult to read.
If you are reading this because you are in the midst of losing a baby, I am so sorry. Know that you are not alone.
The following considerations are meant primarily for those experiencing a miscarriage prior to 20 weeks. Though this post does contain some medical information, these considerations were not written by a doctor and do not constitute medical advice.
- If you are pregnant and have started exhibiting the signs of miscarriage including bleeding and cramping, call your doctor immediately.
- If the doctor orders an ultrasound, ask the ultrasound technician to print out a picture of your baby for you.
- If the ultrasound determines your baby has died and the doctor recommends going home, be prepared for pain and bleeding.
- Depending on how far along you were in your pregnancy, your pain and bleeding levels may vary. Be certain to check in with your doctor to make certain you are not in too much pain or bleeding too much.
- Heating pads and hot water bottles can help ease the pain during a miscarriage.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Depending on how severe the cramping is and how far along you are it may be helpful to also use some labor techniques, as what you are experiencing is a “mini labor.” Low lighting, swaying or leaning on a birthing ball, emotional and physical support of your spouse/massage, deep breaths, offering your suffering for someone in need, having a spouse or partner read from Scripture or pray with you are all helpful ways to endure this time.
- Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.
- As you prepare for or experience bleeding, use pads—not tampons—to prevent infection.
- If you are miscarrying at home, consider placing a bowl in the toilet to ensure your baby’s remains will be treated with dignity. If you are not able to do this, know that God sees your heart and knows how much you love your child.
- These pictures are graphic, but they are extremely helpful if you would like to identify the baby. To view them, click here.
- You may see your child’s body. Be certain to treat the body with respect by placing the remains in a container. Heaven’s Gain Ministries offers beautiful baby caskets for babies miscarried in the first, second, and third trimester. A container or box that you have at home will work as well. Be aware that your child’s remains will likely begin to disintegrate very quickly.
- If you have a miscarriage at a hospital prior to 20 weeks, your child’s remains will likely be taken for testing. State laws differ on releasing the child’s remains to parents. Do not be afraid to ask if you may take the remains for burial. Do not be afraid to ask for a death certificate for your child. If you are at a Catholic/Christian hospital, the hospital itself may have a place where miscarried babies can be buried. If not, your local cemetery or church may have a place. Click here for more information on parents’ rights/dealing with the hospital.
- If you miscarried at home prior to 20 weeks and you bring your child’s remains with you to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, the doctor may ask if you would like to have testing done on your child. You have the right to refuse or consent. Know that if testing is done on your child, you may not receive your child’s remains back.
- If you do not miscarry naturally, you may need a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure or a dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure. If this is the case, be CERTAIN to have one more ultrasound before the procedure is done to ensure that your baby’s heartbeat has stopped completely.
- Following the miscarriage, rest. You have been through a traumatic experience. Your body needs time to heal and recover. You have been on an emotional rollercoaster. The loss of your child is devastating, and the hormones that are shifting in your body do not make it easier.
- Allow yourself to grieve and experience all the emotions that come with it. Seek emotional support. Take time alone if you need it. Everyone’s journey is different, but don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
- Do not be surprised if seemingly unrelated events or objects trigger a strong emotional response or if grief comes at unexpected times.
- Advocate for yourself and ask for time off work if needed. Talk with your boss (or if that doesn’t work, then HR directly). A few programs you can inquire about are: Personal Leave, Bereavement, FMLA/Short Term Disability. When speaking with your employer do not say, “Can I...” but rather “I had a miscarriage. I need (time frame) off. What are my options?”
- Know that a pregnancy test may still read positive for a period of time after a miscarriage.
- Know that you may re-experience all the emotions and feelings surrounding your miscarriage when you first get your period back. You may even find that you feel like you are going through a miscarriage all over again. Communicate with your spouse about your fertility to prepare him for this as well. Again, don’t be afraid to ask for support from those who care so much about you.
- Check in with your doctor regularly to ensure you are recovering properly.
- You will likely have questions about fertility after the loss of a child through miscarriage or about when it is safe to try to become pregnant again. FACTS has a very helpful resource.
For more information on the physical experience of miscarriage, click here.
 Research has been done on the link between low progesterone and miscarriage. Progesterone supplementation may help sustain a pregnancy/avoid miscarriage. There will be a blog forthcoming on this for those who are interested.