By: Breannia Stillwell
When you learned you were pregnant, you may have been filled with joy and excitement. You may have begun to make plans for your baby and even build a bond or attachment to your unborn child. Then, the excitement, joy, and planning abruptly came to a stop.
It is understandable if you feel a range of emotions over the loss of your unborn child. You may have trouble eating, sleeping, and even accepting the loss. Some may cry, some may not cry at all; this is all normal, for we all deal with grief differently. Here is what to expect from both your body and your mind after a miscarriage.
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is when an embryo or fetus is expelled from the uterus before 20 weeks’ gestation. The first sign to indicate a miscarriage is often heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal or back pain and cramping. These symptoms mirror a normal period and can last a few days, depending on how far along your pregnancy was.
By the time you discover that you had a miscarriage or see a doctor, the physical process might be mostly over or haven’t begun at all. If you suspect a miscarriage, see your doctor right away. Your doctor will be able to confirm the miscarriage using an ultrasound to check the baby’s heartbeat; the doctor might even perform a pelvic exam to see if your cervix is dilated. A blood test may also be performed to check your hCG levels, blood count, and Rh factor.
Emptying the uterus.
Once the miscarriage has been detected, your uterus will need to be empty so that your normal menstrual cycle can resume. If you experienced heavy bleeding within a few weeks of pregnancy, then the miscarriage may have finished. But sometimes, a miscarriage isn’t complete, and parts of the pregnancy may remain in the uterus and need to be removed. Once your uterus is empty, you can try to get pregnant again if you so choose.
Back to normal.
Your doctor will inform you when it is okay to resume normal activities, like exercise and sex. Even though you can resume your normal routine, doctors recommend that you abstain from sex and using tampons for two weeks to avoid infection. Be sure to see your healthcare provider for a follow-up appointment a few weeks after your miscarriage.
When experiencing a pregnancy loss, you are likely to experience a range of emotions. Understanding your feelings will help you come to terms with your loss. It is okay to be in shock, denial, or anger. Some women may even feel guilty and depressed after their miscarriage. It is important to remember that you have the right to grieve as much or as little as you need to. You should turn to your partner for support, for they are mourning the loss too. Sharing your feelings can help you both heal. Also, it may be helpful to ask your pastor for spiritual guidance and prayer. Sharing your feelings through a support group or others who may have experienced a miscarriage can be a comfort. You are not alone, and you should not go through this alone. There are plenty of sources out there willing to help you.