What can I expect while recovering from a pregnancy loss? Pregnancy Loss

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Regardless of how and when it occurs, suffering a pregnancy loss is undoubtedly devastating. In the midst of this truly difficult moment, you may very well face symptoms -- both physical and emotional -- associated with a miscarriage. Here, experts and moms open up about what you might expect while recovering from pregnancy loss.

There Are a Wide Range of Possible Symptoms

"There is a wide range in duration and intensity of symptoms after a pregnancy loss, and it is determined by a number of factors, including how far along you were in the pregnancy when the loss occurred. It may take a few days for pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or nausea and vomiting to go away. In the first few days, you can expect some bleeding and pelvic cramping. In general, I would say check in with your prenatal care provider if you experience heavy bleeding for more than...

"There is a wide range in duration and intensity of symptoms after a pregnancy loss, and it is determined by a number of factors, including how far along you were in the pregnancy when the loss occurred. It may take a few days for pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or nausea and vomiting to go away. In the first few days, you can expect some bleeding and pelvic cramping. In general, I would say check in with your prenatal care provider if you experience heavy bleeding for more than a few days, particularly if you feel lightheaded and dizzy. The cramping is usually relieved with over-the-counter pain medication, warm showers, or heat packs. You should definitely contact your doctor if you have a fever or notice foul-smelling vaginal discharge as these could be signs of an infection. 

"The range of emotions you can expect after a pregnancy loss is also highly variable from one individual to the next, and there is no clear timeline or time limit on this aspect of the healing process. Please talk to your prenatal care provider as they can point you in the direction of resources to support you through a pregnancy loss." -- Juliet Mushi, MD, FACOG, maternal fetal medicine specialist at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, Valhalla, New York 

Depends on the Clinical Cause of the Loss

"Expect feelings of sadness, possibly guilt. Fatigue. Depending on the clinical cause of the loss, you may still have symptoms of the disease process which caused the loss. For example, if the loss was due to a placental abruption from high blood pressure, you may still have to contend with high blood pressure." -- Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine, director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, Bronx,...

"Expect feelings of sadness, possibly guilt. Fatigue. Depending on the clinical cause of the loss, you may still have symptoms of the disease process which caused the loss. For example, if the loss was due to a placental abruption from high blood pressure, you may still have to contend with high blood pressure." -- Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine, director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, Bronx, New York

You'll Need Time to Heal

"Expect to feel sad and want to be alone. Allow yourself that time to mourn. You just went from sharing exciting news to then dealing with a horrific blow to your body and heart. Take the time you need to heal. Also, know that the next time you get pregnant you will likely be very nervous and anxious. Breathe deep." 

Finding a Support Network Can Help

"I was 35 weeks when I lost my son. I ended up very sick afterwards which prevented proper mourning. I think about a month and a half after my loss, I was finally able to mourn properly, but I was told by many people, 'You shouldn't still feel this way. Maybe it's time to seek help.' I finally mourned in quiet on my own with the few people who tried to understand me. It was hard and so lonely until I found a great group of people who understood each other. We were connected by a nightmare...

"I was 35 weeks when I lost my son. I ended up very sick afterwards which prevented proper mourning. I think about a month and a half after my loss, I was finally able to mourn properly, but I was told by many people, 'You shouldn't still feel this way. Maybe it's time to seek help.' I finally mourned in quiet on my own with the few people who tried to understand me. It was hard and so lonely until I found a great group of people who understood each other. We were connected by a nightmare but it was wonderful to have them. I consider one of my best friends to have come from that group. We still support each other so much and experienced our rainbow pregnancies together, with her little girl coming just days before my son."

Physical & Emotional Pain

"I described the physical pain I had afterwards as feeling like my insides were being wrapped in flaming hot barbed wire. It was absolutely awful. But that only lasted for a few days. The emotional pain never completely goes away. Just like with any other loss, you will always hurt, but you will learn to cope."

Let Yourself Grieve

"My loss was at 28 weeks. I was in shock at first. I felt nothing, didn't even cry. I'm the type of person who feels the need to hide my 'weakness.' I couldn't show weakness or grief for so long. My advice if you're the same way: Feel it, feel it all. Don't fight your pain like I did. Be present with yourself in your grief. I kept trying to pretend I wasn't there. No, this didn't happen to me. But it did."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.