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Precautions to Take After a Miscarriage

Complications from a miscarriage are rare, but they do occur. Although your physical recovery should only last a few days, it may take weeks for your menstrual cycles to return to normal—and months until you feel better emotionally. Whether you want to conceive again right away or are planning to wait awhile, you'll need to take precautions to protect yourself against potential complications.

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What To Watch For

After a miscarriage, irregular bleeding or spotting is likely, says Dr. Jason James, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Baptist Hospital of Miami. "However, excessive or prolonged bleeding can occasionally be associated with conditions that are cause for concern," he explains. As you recover, watch for signs of infection, including fever, persistent foul-smelling discharge or significant pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately. Most physicians, James points out, will evaluate patients within a few weeks of a miscarriage. "Significant symptoms that persist beyond this period should prompt a call so that health care providers can ensure that nothing unusual has occurred," he says. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, may need further exams, cultures to test for infection or blood tests to ensure that your recovery is progressing normally.

Potential Complications

Hemorrhaging and infection can occur if all the fetal tissue has not been expelled from your body. Nearly half of all women who miscarry before the 10th week of pregnancy will not have any complications or need further medical intervention, notes the American Pregnancy Association. If you were farther along in your pregnancy, a minor surgical procedure known as D&C, or dilation and curettage, may be necessary to prevent complications. In this procedure, a physician dilates your cervix and removes the contents of the uterus. Whether you require a D&C or miscarry naturally, you'll want to avoid sexual intercourse and inserting anything into your vaginal area, including tampons, for at least two weeks.

Trying to Conceive Again

After a miscarriage, you may have questions about when you can safely try to conceive again. In the past, doctors would tell patients to wait two to three months before conceiving again; however, research has shown that this is unnecessary, James says. "Studies have shown that women who conceived in the first cycle after a miscarriage have no greater risk of miscarriage than patients who waited," he says. "I usually recommend patients wait until they have physically and emotionally recovered from the miscarriage and feel that they are prepared to start trying again." Your menstrual cycle should return to normal within four to six weeks after a miscarriage. Until then, it will be difficult to determine if and when you're ovulating.

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What to Keep in Mind

For most women, a miscarriage is a one-time occurrence. In fact, fewer than5 percent of women have two miscarriages in a row, notes the Mayo Clinic staff. Waiting until your body heals and your menstrual cycle returns to normal will help to increase your chances of a healthy, subsequent pregnancy. If you experience multiple miscarriages, however, your doctor may want to plan additional tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Photograph by: Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

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