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Frequently asked questions

about miscarriage 

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is defined as a pregnancy that ends within the first 20 weeks with a baby that is less than 400g. Sometimes a pregnancy can end (miscarriage) but the physical process of the miscarriage, when the baby and all of the pregnancy tissues are released through the cervix, may not take place until weeks later. Read more about the different types/stages of miscarriage here. Read more about what may be happening in your body during the physical process of a miscarriage here.

 

How common is miscarriage?

It is estimated that around 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, read more...

 

What are the symptoms of a miscarriage?

Sometimes women will experience cramping and heavy bleeding, but for some women there are no symptoms at all, read more...

 

What caused my miscarriage?

The vast majority of miscarriages are unexplained, but a random genetic abnormality is the most common cause of miscarriage, read more...

 

When can we start trying for another baby? (1)(2)

When thinking about when to try again, there are multiple factors at play that are unique to you. For example, whether you are emotionally ready to try again, whether your body has recovered, your general health status, how your relationship is going, how old you are, whether you have a history of miscarriage... The best time to try again is when you feel ready and have considered the recommendations below:

 

  • It is recommended that you wait until the bleeding from your miscarriage has stopped before trying to get pregnant again (to avoid infection).

  • If you wait until after you’ve had at least one period you may find it easier to calculate your dates (3). This may be important to you if you want to avoid the stress of being uncertain about whether the baby is the right size for your gestation when you go for your first scan.

  • Consult your doctor before trying again if you experienced medical complications.

 

How long will it take to get pregnant again?

Some women get pregnant on their very next cycle after a miscarriage. For others it may take a year or more. Everyone is different. If you are concerned or if you haven't conceived after a year of trying (6 months of trying if you are over 35), please seek medical advice

 

When should I go back to work? 

You should go back to work when you are ready. It is ok to have time off. You may need time to physically recover. You may also need time to come to terms with your loss. Read more about taking leave from work here.

 

What will happen at a two week checkup with my GP?

If you make a checkup appointment with your GP two weeks after your miscarriage there will be a charge (you are covered for free maternity care up until two weeks after a miscarriage). When you are booking an appointment it may be beneficial to ask for a GP who specialises in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. You may also want to write down any questions that you have before you go in. Your GP will make sure that you are not showing any signs of having an infection. If you are interested in counselling your GP can give you a referral. If you are planning another pregnancy they may discuss any points that are relevant to you as a couple, which may cover; folic acid supplements, quitting smoking, limiting or avoiding alcohol and eating healthy foods and exercising. 

How long does it take for a missed miscarriage to complete? 

It could take days or weeks for a miscarriage to naturally occur after your baby has stopped growing. Read more about what is happening in your body here.

 

What options do I have for miscarriage management?

If you know that you have lost your baby but you have not had a miscarriage yet, there are three options available to you; expectant management, medical management and surgical management, read more… 

 

When will I get my period again?

In most cases your period will return 4-6 weeks after a miscarriage. It may be different from your usual periods. If you do not get your period within 6-8 weeks of your miscarriage, please seek medical advice

 

Why do I have to have three consecutive miscarriages before I get a referral? 

First trimester miscarriages are very common and often happen just by chance. This means that, after one or two miscarriages - there is only a slightly increased risk of another consecutive miscarriage compared to someone who has never had a miscarriage before. Because they often happen just by chance, tests to try to find a cause of miscarriage will often find none (or may find a genetic problem in the pregnancy tissue/fetus/baby that happened by chance and is not going to affect a future pregnancy). Once there have been three consecutive miscarriages, there is a significantly higher chance of another miscarriage and at this point it is more likely that doing tests will find a cause of the miscarriage which may have treatment options to decrease the risk of another miscarriage. Studies show that after three miscarriages, being supported in a dedicated clinic can help with healthy pregnancy outcomes, whereas after one or two miscarriages, healthy future pregnancies are common, without needing a specialist clinic. Read more about recurrent miscarriage here. (4)

 

Will my midwife be with me for my miscarriage?

Your midwife is not employed to be with you for your miscarriage. If your midwife comes to see you at home or joins you in hospital, she will be unpaid and doing it out of the kindness of her own heart.  If your midwife doesn't see you again she may still be feeling very compassionate towards you and your lost baby. Read more about what to expect from your midwife at different stages of miscarriage here.  

What tests can be directly requested by a GP?

GPs can order ultrasound scans, blood tests, urine tests and vaginal swab tests. GPs will generally order an antenatal screen which screens for the pregnancy hormone level (B-hcg), infections like HIV, syphilis and hepatitis and immunity to rubella, blood type and diabetes. They may add a thyroid test and test for iron levels as these can sometimes affect a pregnancy. Urine tests are important in early pregnancy to check for urine infections. Vaginal swabs test for other infection such as chlamydia, trichomonas, gonorrhoea as well as for thrush (candida/yeast infection) and BV (bacterial overgrowth that can increase the risk of miscarriage though treating this may not help). In the case of three consecutive miscarriages, a GP will also order many of the tests that the specialist needs when they refer to the recurrent pregnancy loss clinic. (4)

 

Photo credit: Taylor's Mistake by @nicholascameron_art

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