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.
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
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.
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.